Our Message to the People of Japan

One week ago Japan was shaken by a terrifying earthquake that rocked the islands. In Tokyo the earth trembled endlessly, shaking houses and buildings and trees. In Fukushima, Miyagi and Sendai, the quake followed by a crippling tsunami, was far worse and nuclear power stations, homes, cars, power lines were destroyed. Thousands of people were lost. More than 20,000 people were missing or killed, or presumed lost in the greatest earthquake Japan has ever experienced.

Blue & White suffered minimal disruption, but our hearts go out to the victims of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear catastrophe. Our irrepressible manager, Sayoko Hayasawa, immediately started to brush a series of calligraphy messages in the Blue & White window to encourage passersby in the neighborhood. They saw her words of reassurance and nodded or smiled or shed a tear. Some came in to add their own message to give courage and a fighting spirit to people on the way to the next door market where supplies were depleted and milk and bread had run out. All languages were welcome. People were helping people in times of crisis. Blue & White conveyed the message.

The gentle spirit of cooperation and togetherness in the neighborhood were remarkable. Strangers were speaking to strangers, people were helping each other in an hour of mutual anguish. We were none of us alone. Neighborhoods stood together, bread was shared, lights were dimmed to save energy, people banded together, helping each other, giving courage.

去る3月11日、日本は大地震に見舞われました。東京でも、家やビル、木々を大きく揺らし、永遠にこの揺れが続くのではないかと思うほどでした。福島、 宮城、 仙台では大地震のあとに大津波に襲われ、さらに原子力発電所、家々、車、ライフラインは壊滅的な被害を受けました。何千という命が奪われ、2万人を超える人々が行方不明とされていますが、日本がこれまで経験したことのない大地震の中、ほぼ絶望的と考えられています。

Blue & White の被害は最小限ですみましたが、わたくしたちの心は、地震、津波、原子力発電所の大惨事の犠牲になった方々に向けられました。マネージャーの早澤佐代子は感情を抑え切れず、ご近所の人々を励ますためのメッセージをすぐに筆で書き始め、 ウィンドウに掲げました。人々は彼女の力強い言葉を見てうなずき、笑い、涙を流しました。供給が途絶え、牛乳やパンが品切れになったお隣のスーパーマーケットに行く途中、勇気とファイティングスピリットをくれるようなメッセージを書きに、お店に寄ってくださる方もありました。どんな言語でもかまいません。危機の中で、人々はお互いに助け合うのです。

Blue & White はメッセージを伝えていきました。

地震発生後1時間ほどの間、この地域の人々の協力と団結の寛大なスピリットは素晴らしいものでした。知らないひと同士が声を掛け合い、お互いに助け合いました。わたくしたちはひとりぼっちではありませんでした。地域の人々は共に立ち、 パンを分け合い、節電のために照明を暗くし 団結し、互いに助け合い、励まし合いました。

Our message to the people of Japan

On squares of white washi she wrote her words of courage in black charcoal ink:

Kibou                 Hope

Omoiyari            Consideration, empathy

Genki                 Energy, vitality

Minna issho        Everyone together, the same

Yuuki                 Courage

Daijobu              Itʼs alright

Danketsu            Solidarity, unity

Makeru na           Donʼt give up

Shinjimasho aiwo       Letʼs believe in love

Soshite minna ikite kita      Thatʼs how we all have been living, so life goes on

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