Japan earthquake as seen through Twitter
Twitter users have provided some poignant and hopeful reflections on Japan's earthquake. One translator is sharing them with the English-speaking world.
This story was originally covered by PRI's The World. For more, listen to the audio above.
After the earthquake hit Japan, many Japanese people took to Twitter to express their hopes and experiences in the tragedy. Professional translator Shortly after, professional translator Aya Watanabe began working with a Tokyo-based blogger to compile some of the most poignant updates.
Here two updates that inspired Aya Watanabe to start translating them into English:
At a jammed crossing
I was driving home after the quakes. Streets were extremely jammed and at many crossings only one car could cross the street per green light. At a spaghetti crossing, all traffic was paralyzed for more than 5 min. All drivers, I encountered, waiting to cross streets were calm, giving way to others. All thru my 10 hr driving, I didn't hear any honking except those showing gratitude to others. Of course this travel was scary but also heart warming. This experience made me like Japan all the more.
At Tokyo Disneyland
They distributed sweets that are part of their merchandise. High school girls with heavy makeup took away more candies than they would possibly eat and that raised my eyebrows. Later, I saw those girls giving the candies to kids at evacuation areas. Families with kids had limited mobility and couldn't get to where the candies were distributed. Go girls!
These are some more recent tweets that Watanabe has translated:
My mother's foot warmer
Mom goes, "Oh! My little foot warmer got away!" My sister goes, "No I did not! ;D" And Mom goes, "Oh, there you are :) :) "... Mom and sister were sharing a futon during a blackout and Mom was searching for my sis's warm feet. Cute mom :) :)
A little knight
I was walking behind a mother with a little boy and a baby in a carriage. The mother said to her young boy, "What if another earthquake hits? Scary, isn't it?" The kindergarten boy said, "No worries, Mom. I will do THIS!" Then the boy bent over the baby in the carriage to protect his young sibling. What a little knight in a shiny armor. My heart felt warm.
A teenage boy walked into a drugstore, a package of toilet paper in hand. He said, "My parent hoarded and bought two packages yesterday. How disgraceful. I would like to return one." -- My friend who works for the drugstore was impressed to hear a word "disgraceful" from a high school boy. We have bright future ahead in this country.
Packing for a move
When I was packing for my move, my mother handed me a flashlight and survival food she had kept for the family, saying "Take these and don't buy new ones. There are people who really need them now. Us? We are fine. We have family and neighbors. We can help each other if a disaster strikes our area. You will be living by yourself, a stranger in a strange land. You have all the reasons to be anxious about your new life. No need to be anxious about us, your family." I felt so proud to be my mother's daughter, to be part of this family.
Mom's Pep Talk
Called my Mom to let her know I survived the quakes. She lives in Kagoshima, on Kyushu Island, a thousand miles south of Tohoku. Thought she was worried about me and wanted to calm her down. Instead of tears, what I got from her was a pep talk. "Know, with all your heart, the meaning of your being where you are, at this timing and age in your life. Do the best you can to serve others." Mother, I am proud to be your son. I will live through all this.
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