Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Today the Mule and the Moose's teachers came around the neighborhood to see where the kids in their classes live after school. It is a Japanese custom. The ever social Mule had asked her teacher to stop by the house. I can't speak Japanese so I told the Mule to be sure to get home from school before the sensei got here- sometimes she dawdles. She happily reported she passed her sensei on the way home. The Moose was not so sure he wanted his teacher to come over, but when his sensei came by, he showed him some of his Lego creations. The Mule told me later that her sensei liked our house- "she said it is very calming." They did not come in but said hello and took a moment to chat and look about the garden. I had one of my "I love Japan" moments seeing the Mule's teacher in her gold sneakers, tight jeans, blazer, and Louis Voutton bag- she may be older but she has style and she "got" the garden. It is a peaceful garden with a buddha, a large Japanese maple tree, a small stream, and a big Japanese lantern on the side. The Moose's sensei reported that the Moose doesn't remember anyone's name at school, but he does make origami with a group of friends and seems to be doing just fine. He has also already figured out that the Moose is one of those kids you don't rush, but it is no problem. His sensei has a great smile and happily acknowledged the Legos the Moose brought out to the front stoop. That was the best part of my day. After the senseis left, I decided to clean the garden- it kept my mind off of my husband's suffering. I filled three bags with yard waste.

I visited my husband in the hospital while the kids were in school. It is rough going- some improvements, some minor complications, and still a lot of pain. There is not so much for me to do, but watching his suffering is tough- it is visual, audible, and ongoing. He seemed a hair better and bit more comfortable than yesterday, but that isn't saying much. The doctor thinks it will be five to seven more days in the hospital and that he will have a full recovery. It takes time. The kids were shocked on their first visit by how he looked and sounded so I am holding off on taking them again until he has either less pain or more ability to stay awake. He has intravenous narcotics on a pump so he is either sleeping or groaning in pain- not how you want to see your dada.

ittai kan
More than just a sense of comraderie, ittai kan describes a commitment to unified action.
As the gravity of the crisis at Fukushima's nuclear plant became clear, residents of Futaba-Machi, a township within the 20 kilometer evacuation zone, needed to find refuge elsewhere. The town's mayor arranged for temporary communal shelter for everyone in a large sports arena in Saitama Prefecture. In April the townspeople moved again -- together, as a community -- to more permanent living quarters in Kazo City, where they have begun the process of re-building their lives and livelihoods.

This is from Elizabeth Andoh's Taste of Culture newsletter found at http://www.tasteofculture.com/. I was musing about this today because I wondered if the Japanese way of doing things together at the same time was easier or more difficult. I have moved many times, but never with a group, so I wondered, "How does this feel?" Sharing the difficulty might be good- spreads the burden. It seems so Japanese to me because it is only in Japan that I have heard of this kind of decision. In America, it comes piecemeal- when one house is ready, one family moves. I'd like to try the Japanese way for comparison.

A blessing from John O'Donohue's To Bless the Space Between Us:

Before Sleep
As I lay down to sleep,
May the guardian angel
Watch over me,
Coaxing all my cares
To unravel into peace.

As darkness within
Is wed to darkness without,
Freed from the weight of light,
Let my eyes sleep,
Relieved of all intensities.

Let my imagination
Trawl the compressed seas
To bless the dawn
With a generous catch
Of luminous dream.

May this new night of rest
Repair the wear of time
And restore youth of heart
For the adventure
That awaits tomorrow.

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