When it comes right down to it, I think first in terms of individual human lives rather than in big pictures. I am a micro thinker, not a macro conceptualist. Is that a word? That is why I ended up with a degree in literature rather than political science. I can comprehend the pain of a single human being better than I can the force of numbers so reading about the Joad family as it struggled through the Depression had much more impact than reading textbook descriptions of thousands and thousands of North Americans who were out of work.
That is likely the reason that, while I was stunned by the magnitude of this earthquake, and frightened by the thought of a nuclear disaster, it was Yoshiko I imagined, not the countless strangers who died under heaps of rubble.
Dear Barbara, thanks for your mail ask me about earthquake, Yes,yesterday when I was having tea at my home, suddenly terrible earthquake struck.... I hid under the table,I was so scared.... I couldn't sleep,tired ,so sad ,but I am OK now ,can't help ... mighty forces of Nature, terrible tragedy all over the Japan..... By the way, Did you get better? How are you? I have been thinking of you... please take care and keep in touch , Yoshiko
Yoshiko is the only person I know in Japan. She is in her mid-eighties and appears to be about 60 ... a diminutive woman who always looks stylish, even while traveling with a backpack.
In the winter of 2009-10 she skied (downhill) 78 days in Japan and British Columbia. She wanted to make it up to the ski hill a day for every year of her life but the weather was less willing than she was.
She is an artist whose water colours and other work hang in galleries in Japan and Europe.
I met her two years ago when she came to River Echo to study English. I was her driver, her guide and occasionally her dinner partner at local restaurants.
Last summer she spent a week with me painting a tray. Her snorkeling background gave her her colours and her subject matter.
I hope she will be back at River Echo this summer or fall ... and I am very glad she is safe.