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March 19, 2011

I have been immensely lucky–my family and friends, are at this moment, all accounted for and safe. But this is feint cause for celebration in light of the tragedy that has occurred in my second home.

I have been back from Japan just 2 months. I am scheduled to return in 6 weeks. I have no idea if I will be able to or not, but again, this is nothing in light of what so many others are facing. I have been missing Maru deeply as spring hits Toronto but now I miss my friends and family so much more.

Japan has been wonderful to me over the years. It has been my second home, my place for adventure, my escape, my destination, my friend. I cannot do anything in a day without seeing things that were given to me by friends in Japan–my pens, my cups, my notebooks–, and I can’t escape it even for a minute when it is my daily work. I cry at inopportune moments, and I have no sense of what comes next.

I ask only that you are critical of the news you watch and read: Do not let these ideas of a “uniform and stoic” Japanese race seep into your heads as reality. It is dangerous to think of any peoples this way. Ignore Diane Sawyer calling Japanese an “evolved race” and realize too what she infers about those affected by Hurricane Katrina. I ask that you keep first and foremost in your minds the human experience of loss, because it is fairly universal. I don’t understand why the Western media has been seeking to paint difference onto tragedy.

I have been watching Japanese media on the web. I can’t stand the essentialist notions from the English media. Mind you, I can’t stand some of the tripe coming out in Japanese either.

I don’t ask that you send money, Japan can afford to feed and clothe those affected. I don’t ask that you send stuff (in fact, read this about how stuff can be a problem¬† ). I just ask that you keep people at the front of your mind. Maybe we can learn a little more about compassion through this and that would at least be something good to come of it.

I miss my second home. A second home that is a complicated and special place, just like any other home. And I hurt to think about all those who have lost not their homes, nor their property, but their loved ones who they can never rebuild or recover.

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