DISCLAIMER FROM THE TRANSLATOR: While I speak both English and Japanese fluently, I know nothing about medicine. These are rough translations made through tears (i.e., sometimes while bawling). Please take all medical details in particular with a grain of salt. These translations have not been proofread and will be revised on a later date.

Please note that I am NOT in contact with the original author, who has given general permission for translation in one of her entries.

I would appreciate it if everyone can refrain from posting these entries elsewhere and to share this address <http://jkts-english.blogspot.com> instead, as I will be making revisions to each entry directly (addresses for individual entries may change if I revise their titles).



Start reading here: 1) To the affected areas.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Two months

[May 11 3:55PM]

As of today, two months have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake.  One month went by in no time at all, but it feels as though it took longer for the second month to go by.

Time that is still frozen;
time that has started to move;
things that have gotten better since that day;
things that have gotten worse.

Each one of us will feel differently about everything, and time is passing at different rates, but lately I often feel that it’s important that we all make sure to take the time to think back and remember on occasions like this.

There was an emergency earthquake alert at five in the morning today.  It feels as though there are alerts every time the public begins to forget.

I heard an acquaintance of mine saying, “These earthquake alerts are usually wrong, anyway.  It’s so loud—I decided to turn it off.”  It made me think of how this might be another sign of the reality that the public interest is beginning to fade, that we are once again becoming lax in our crisis-preparedness, and I felt so upset about how we will no longer be taking heed of what all those precious lives that have been sacrificed have told us that I couldn’t resist scolding my acquaintance rather harshly.

As I wrote in an entry that I posted and ended up deleting on the one-month anniversary, I went to see a friend who had gotten married and moved to Onagawa in Miyagi prefecture with our former classmates from nursing school.

Her whole family had died, and we were reunited with our friend in a manner that was the most difficult to accept.

Our friend who always brightened up any room with her smile had passed away with a terror-stricken expression on her face.

All we could do was to stand there dumb-struck and watch her being buried just as she was, next to her beloved husband.

When I think of how chagrined she must have felt, the tears start to fall and won’t stop.

Ever since, I have been thinking so much about so many things, and they all make me feel confused about “the meaning of being kept alive.”

But I do have the feeling that I might be able to understand it a little better if I think of it in terms of “the duty of going on living” instead.

After returning to Tokyo, my medical team has been busy making extensive revisions to our disaster manual, and we have been in touch with other teams that have gone into the affected areas, with more and more new information coming in all the time.

But the reality is that there are many disaster sites and evacuation sites where the vast majority of medical teams have been pulled out as of the first week of May.  Now that the rainy season approaches in Japan, there will be more hygiene issues and more problems that go along with that, and I believe more discussions and new measures are necessary once again.

Tomorrow is International Nurses Day.

I will be participating in an event at a nursing college, and then I have a night shift after that…

Translated May 11.
Original entry in Japanese: 2ヶ月


  1. Please be sure to blog about your next visit. The suffering there is not covered because newspaper people can't go or don't get it. You make it real.
    No one knows what to do for Japan because we think the Japanese government is trying its best and the people seem so brave. We think maybe we should stay out of the way.
    But if there was something real to do I think people would do it - such as visiting the area - but you see people are afraid to be "disaster tourists" or maybe drag down the relief efforts. When should they go?
    Perhaps you could ask the people there what foreigners could do?

  2. Thankyou for reminding me what nursing really means. After 33 years of being a nurse I will be thinking particularly of you tonight on international nurses day as I work a night shift in the U K. Bless you and all the others working so hard to recover from the unspeakable changes since March 11. LJC

  3. I m truly intrigued by her words... Watching people I love leave and med-dramas make me realise that i want to part of the team that cares for and help these people... However as time past i 4gt this intention of mine and start to wander to ambitions that can satisfy me with money.
    end of the day, I chose to take up pharmacy. those confusing lectures on drug n med never fail to confuse me all the time n give me thought of giving up and leaving to study economics in Warwick instead.
    i came across an newspaper article this morning n found out about this blog. I m rethinking my offer from warwick again n hope that i would not regret my decision.

  4. You did a really good job with the true and touching story with the simple and understandable words for all to read and be informed.That's why I think that your blog is most visited.It makes me shed tears,too.Tears of the difficulty you had gone through and even more difficulties facing the earthquake victims who are innumerable.I will vist your blog again and again and again..............