I wrote my translator-friend Akemi Tanagaki in Tokyo a brief email note. She answered,
“Thank you for your concern.
I’m all right and my family is all right.
Only we feel so sad, helpless and worried.”
And she asked if I would put a brief and simple message on my site for my readers in Japan — “but I know that it is very difficult to find words with which to talk to those suffering very much.”
Yes, dear Akemi, it is difficult, it is impossible. But I am honored by your asking me to try.
To My Japanese Readers:
There is an ocean between us, yet that ocean joins us.
The great tsunami that struck Japan travelled on, growing weaker, until it came to the west coast of America. Here it did little harm. But with that wave came to us the great wave of your grief and suffering.
I hope you know that there are many, many people here who are thinking of you now, and crying for you, and praying that the worst will soon be past.
I admire, more than I can say, the quiet courage the ordinary people of Japan have shown amidst so much loss, suffering, and fear. Your strong and patient faces are beautiful to see. I look at them and cry. I wish you strength and the hope of better days.
Update 16 March 2011: Japanese translation of this post at http://r2fish.cocolog-nifty.com/1day1book/2011/03/post-d47e.html