Extract from #Quakebook – Encouragement
It’s been a nightmare of a week. I pray that everyone afflicted in this terrible disaster will soon wake up from this bad dream, but I don’t have any words of comfort. As an old man with an old wife, I’ve put up with a lot this week. But it’s nothing compared with the lives of those staying in shelters. Now things have settled down a little, I will attempt to convey the thoughts of the many other elderly people I have spoken with.
For us old folk confused by the scarcity of information, the radio has been our most reliable source of news. Many of us oldies are familiar with the radio and listen to late night broadcasts, with batteries that last a surprisingly long time. While we can use ordinary mobile phone functions, we’ve barely been able to operate emergency functions. Batteries run out as we fumble with our phones and the vast majority of us have given up trying to use them.
Very few people of my generation use the Internet in the first place, and as power is needed to get online, we haven’t been able to use it during power cuts. Even if we connect to the net, we’re poor at finding the information we want. Naturally, we can’t watch television during blackouts.
While we have inadequate access to information, we can ask net-savvy people living near us to get this information for us. For this reason, we are grateful that mobile phones and the Internet provide information. We rely on one company to provide our home with television, Internet and telephone services. While we feared that the infrastructure might have collapsed, the services were quickly recovered. We are thankful for this.
The strength of our generation is our experience. While this disaster is unprecedented, similar experiences such as postwar chaos, oil shocks and the 2005 Miyagi earthquake have kept us prepared. Many people also had stocks of emergency supplies. I pray that old people who are sick or weak can quickly receive medical attention. But rather then telling healthy old folk that you will support them, it would cheer them more to say that you’ll strive to get through this together.
To be honest, it has not been comfortable for people aged over 80. Lining up for hours to get water or do some shopping chills us from the tips of our toes up and gives us back pains. But seeing young mothers of small children patiently waiting for their turn and the impressive qualities of young women who use just a calculator to total up the bills for many customers’ shopping, gives me the strong conviction that this country will not break under these circumstances.
It’s been a while since my wife and I shared activities and fulfilled our respective roles. Our children have encouraged us and this has led to a reconfirmation of our family bonds. We’ve also received much encouragement from unexpected people. I’ve lived for many years. Night has always turned to day and rain has never failed to cease. Conditions have greatly improved during this week, and will get even better next week. This is a manifestation of the fighting spirit of someone born in the first decade of the Showa period. We need to stay strong.
GRANDFATHER HIBIKI Sendai