Today I read another story about 3/11 Tohoku disaster. This one was written by Regis Arnaud, a correspondent in Japan for “Le Figaro” and “Challenges”, editor in chief of “France Japon Eco”, and also contributor for “Newsweek Japan”. Full version report can be found in the latest edition of Japan Spotlight, a magazine published by JEF, which will present in online version (web) for the next edition onwards. I was touched, at once smiled, because the way of Regis tell us was very interesting. Some ‘quotes’ are too dear to be discarded, so I want to share it with you. It may seem long, but I bet you will keep staying.
Regis has been living in Japan since 1995. He thought “it’s just another earthquake as he experienced for thousands”, but he realized that he was wrong. He made a dramatic analogy such this:
It had become the back of a fantastic, trembling monster, on which we poor Lilliputians were riding without choice. To think is a luzury, to breathe is a luxury.
Then, the situation after biggest shake, when situation became a little better, this part described enough as workaholic as what of Japanese people. I say, it’s sooo Japan😀..
I went outside with my colleagues. While Japanese people went back to their desks after a few seconds as if nothing bad happened, French people stayed for a while in the street, in disarray.
Got my point, didn’t?😛
Regis continued. The bold parts you will see in Regis writing ahead are my work. Nothing but I am impressed with the spirit of this nation. We should take much lesson learned from it. Also, please note that the “…” (3 dots) I typed indicated the cut pieces.
From Kanto to Tohoku, northern Japan became a boat of 50 million passengers in the middle of a cyclone. Paul Theroux says that Tokyo is “a machine”. On March 11, this machine stopped functioning…that Tokyo people were still cool. They were waiting for the green light to go across the street.
Calm Amidst Crisis, Regis wrote. He went to Fukushima and Natori..
…there was no sign of disaster until we reached Fukushima, which by now everybody in the world knows this name..yet life seemed very calm even in Fukushima, as stable as the eye of a cyclone. Young mothers were chatting in the streets. Gas station employee was pouring gasoline into my car, trembling while smiling.
As people were waiting in front of free phone lines to call their relatives, they offered me, a rich, unaffected foreign journalist who had suffering nothing, the chance to make phone calls if I wanted to. These marks of fraternity are unbelievable.
Regis was in Shiogama, on the coast, when he heard tsunami alert. He was called by his mother from France when he was on high place to shelter, but he could not take that call. After that…
Like all my foreign friends, my family at home was panicking. French, English, American, German expatriates had started packing their luggage to go back to Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore..when I left a few days later for France, all the French passengers in the plane confessed that they loved Japan, and that they were only coming back to reassure their mothers.
Japanese Solidarity and Fraternity, Regis continued writing. He visited other areas.
Unlike French people, Japanese people show total solidarity… They share in strict equality the little food they still had… There was no heating and the temperature was around zero at night.
A teacher called Noriko Sato had become the head of the community. “I could persuade people to share everything, but it has been hard. Anyway we have no choice. The government will not help us, we must help ourselves!”, she said… Her son, Daigo, eight years old, gave me a piece of chewing gum… Daigo gave me hope in Japan.
Ryoichi Hashiguchi, with a small team of nurses, was taking care of 113 patients. He had to carry the patients on his back to higher floor, fished up the pills that had been flooded out by tsunami and cleaned them… His nurses called him “Doctor Samurai”.
I met Takahashi Takanori. This young man had come to pick up some food he had left in car, which had been half-destroyed by the tsunami… His old grandmother had been swept away. He managed to save a woman and her child, but most women and children had been taken away by the wave. “They could not climb. They were not enough to reach highway,” he said. “The only thing I have left is hope.” He had a ramen restaurant. Every day he prepared 500 bowls of ramen for free, for people in need.
Regis closed his writing with his memory of keeping job, in the middle of that very hard situation. He was supported by friend and girlfriend, also the spirit of “just doing my job as journalist”. The last place he told is Minami Sanriku.
Minami Sanriku, a city of 17,000 souls that now exists only on GPS maps, as it was eaten up by a wave higher than 17 meters… On the one of the walls of the port, there was a beautiful painting by children that said, “Let’s protect the blue sea, that is so beautiful!”. I felt irony of evil. This region was living off the sea and the sea destroyed it.
That’s all, special points of Regis writing. Merci beaucoup for sharing, Regis. Thank you very much for the inspiration, Japan.