Sunday, March 11, 2012

In the shadow of the 大震災

For anyone who doesn't already know, today is the one year anniversary of the 東日本大震災, aka 3/11, aka the Tohoku earthquake.  For the past week, pretty much everything on TV has been about the incident: recaps of what happened, shows about recovery efforts, even this really weird show where a woman wearing a hard hat showed what to do if there was an earthquake in various different places (the subway, a bedroom, a kitchen, an open field, etc.).*  Even in Nagoya, which wasn't particularly affected by the earthquake or tsunami, a lot of people use the word 災後 (saigo; after the disaster).  It's kind of like the use of 戦後 (sengo; after the war), actually.  When you talk to people at shrines (or people who know a lot about Shinto), they tend to divide the modern era into 戦前 (before the war) and 戦後 (after the war), and the same sort of thing is happening with 災後.  It'll be interesting to see if the word sticks around and is used the same way in the future.
It was pretty quiet today, at least in terms of commemorating the earthquake.  I had lunch with Tuesday sensei and his wife and daughter (long story, but basically I'm going to be Tuesday sensei's wife's English speaking partner?), which was exciting, and 3/11 came up briefly, but that was about it.  Nobody was running around with banners or anything.  I didn't actually watch TV today, so I don't know what the coverage was like there, but pretty much everywhere else it was a pretty normal day.
...weirdly enough, a lot of people have asked me what my parents thought of 3/11 and if they tried to stop me from going to Japan because of it.  I don't know how they think my parents would have stopped me...?  Either that or they don't know me that well.  Mostly I say that I'm from California so earthquakes aren't that scary.

I haven't really been writing a lot here because I haven't been up to a whole lot worth writing about.  I interviewed a priest at Shiroyama Hachimangu on Thursday, which went really well.  I went to see Hugo with Kim and Louki yesterday, which was really good, but I cried through the last chunk of it because I am a sap.  I've been busy planning my crazy intense 2 1/2 week trip at the end of March/beginning of April, mostly.  For anyone not already in the know, it goes kind of like this:

March 17: Leave for Tokyo, spend the night in a hostel.
March 18-20: Nikko tour.
March 21: Do something in Tokyo, probably either the Ghibli Museum or Washinomiya Shrine.
March 22: Fulbright conference.
March 23: Do whichever something I didn't do in Tokyo before.
March 24: Fly to San Francisco, crash at my parents' place.
March 25: Fly to Boston, crash at place to be determined.
March 26-28: Tour schools.  Which schools will be determined WHEN CERTAIN SCHOOLS GET BACK TO ME OH GOSH HOW LONG CAN IT TAKE?  Crash at a variety of places????
March 28-31: Crash at Tech House.  Be jet-lagged and a generally pathetic mess.  Possibly steal the oven for a while because OVENS.
March 31: Fly back to San Francisco, crash with my family again.
April 1: Chill with my family, drive to Santa Barbara.
April 2: Tour UCSB, drive back to San Francisco.
April 3: Fly back to Tokyo.
April 4: Arrive in Tokyo wondering where a day went, take Shinkansen back to Nagoya.

Basically, I will be exhausted and jet-lagged, but HOPEFULLY I will know where I am going for graduate school.  I have no idea what my internet/time will be like during that chunk, so expect very sporadic updates if any at all.

The only real plans I have for this week are penmanship class on Wednesday, Hounensai at Tagata Shrine on Thursday,** and tsukinamisai at Susanoo Shrine on Saturday.  There will probably be other things to be determined (like filing a bazillion piles of paperwork).
...also, it is 10 p.m. and I am really tired.  I am turning into an old lady.  OH WELL.  G'NIGHT.

*I don't know about you, but I always wear my safety helmet.

**Read: penis palooza.  Are you offended that I used the word "penis"?  Because if so, you should not read the post for Thursday.  Seriously.

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