Letter from Sendai

Zelkova trees in Sendai, lighted for annual Pageant of Starlight

Sendai is recognized throughout Japan for its exquisite nature and called as “mori no miyako” or the City of Trees. From the lush greenery of the zelkova trees that line the streets, to the clear and tranquil Hirose-gawa River that winds through the heart of the city, to the beautiful scenery that offers a peaceful atmosphere, Sendai is a modern city in harmony with nature.

A letter from Japan

On Mar 13, 2011, at 9:59 AM, SUSAN wrote:
From my cousin Anne Thomas in Sendai , Japan where she has lived for the past decade teaching English. Very moving.

Hello My Lovely Family and Friends,

First I want to thank you so very much for your concern for me. I am very touched. I also wish to apologize for a generic message to you all. But it seems The best way at the moment to get my message to you.

Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed to have wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even more worthy of that name, I am now staying at a friend’s home. We share supplies like water, food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined up in one room, eat by candlelight, share stories. It is warm, friendly, and beautiful.

During the day we help each other clean up the mess in our homes. People sit in their cars, looking at news on their navigation screens, or line up to get drinking water when a source is open. If someone has water running in their home, they put out sign so people can come to fill up their jugs and buckets.

Utterly amazingly, where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an earthquake strikes. People keep saying, “Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days when everyone helped one another.”

Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck about every 15 minutes. Sirens are constant and helicopters pass overhead often.

We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for half a day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come on. But all of this is by area. Some people have these things, others do not. No one has washed for several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much more important concerns than that for us now. I love this peeling away of non-essentials. Living fully on the level of instinct, of intuition, of caring, of what is needed for survival, not just of me, but of the entire group.

There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some places, yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun. People lining up for water and food, and yet a few people out walking their dogs. All happening at the same time.

Other unexpected touches of beauty are first, the silence at night. No cars. No one out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered with stars. I usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is filled. The mountains of Sendai are solid, and with the crisp air we can see them silhouetted against the sky magnificently.

And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful. I come back to my shack to check on it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity is on, and I find food and water left in my entranceway. I have no idea from whom, but it is there. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking to see if everyone is OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they need help. I see no signs of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.

They tell us we can expect aftershocks, and even other major quakes, for another month or more. And we are getting constant tremors, rolls, shaking, rumbling. I am blessed in that I live in a part of Sendai that is a bit elevated, a bit more solid than other parts. So, so far this area is better off than others. Last night my friend’s husband came in from the country, bringing food and water. Blessed again.

Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed an enormous cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world right at this moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening now in Japan , I can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I felt so small because of all that is happening. I don’t. Rather, I feel as part of something happening that much larger than myself. This wave of birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet magnificent.

Thank you again for your care and Love of me,

With Love in return, to you all,

Tend your hearts, dear readers.
Love and blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

23 Responses to “Letter from Sendai”

  1. Wow, what an amazing letter. Thank you for sharing this Kathryn.

  2. Hi, Kathlene, Humbly offered. 🙂 Love, Kathryn xoxo

  3. Wow, indeed! Amazing letter, an important glimpse. Thank you for sharing, mom!


  4. Hi, Sweetheart, Thank you and thank you for posting to FB! Love, Mom xoxo

  5. I came across your letter via Ewa who put the link on Twitter. As I read it I felt a great sense of emotion. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like but the care and friendliness of everyone around is wonderful. It makes all our little worries seem so insignificant and maybe we should learn from this in many many ways. Thank you and may you be safe.

  6. Hi, Ronnie, Your heartfelt message will be seen by many and will touch their hearts, I’m sure. Thank you. Kathryn xoxo

  7. What a great story of neighbourly love and support. thank you for sharing this, and the same thing happened here in Australia during the floods and in New Zealand during the earthquake. I dont know why we need disasters like this to bring out the best in us.

  8. Hi, Gillian, Thank you for sharing your experiences. It would appear that it is when we are facing survival as humans that we remember our interdependence. Or perhaps it’s these massive energy shifts that allow us to open our hearts, which had become closed in the day to day struggle to survive as individuals. There ARE collective groups that to this day live cooperatively. I think they might be very “poor” in the eyes of “sophisticated society.” 🙂 Kathryn xoxo

  9. […] Letter from Sendai […]

  10. That is beautiful and heartwarming! Thank you so much for sharing the letter! I have been heartbroken seeing what the people of Japan are going through. They have been in my thoughts almost constantly since the events last week and I am thankful they are caring for each other and finally getting food and water.
    The continued aftershocks and tsunami warnings must be frightening for them, especially the children.

  11. Hi, Robin, Yes, I think the heartbreak is worldwide. You are in good company. Lots of prayers will help. Thank you for comment. Kathryn xoxox

  12. Thank you Kathryn for sharing this letter. I am going to forward it to dear friends who have extended family in Japan. They have heard back from all their family and they are all OK, but of course, there are extended circles of friends who are not. It’s the kindness and cooperation that struck Cathy Sato as she was reading messages from there as well. She was also a teacher of English there, from the Washington State and came back with a wonderful Japanese husband and two wonderful children, one my daughter Susan’s best friend.
    Hugs, Julie

  13. Hi, Julie, Thank you for sharing this letter. It’s finding its way into many hearts. Kathryn xoxo

  14. This letter is very moving and shows the beauty and hope of the writer and of the community she describes. Thank you for sharing it here.

  15. Hi, Terra, Thank you for letting me you also found beauty in this letter. Kathryn xxoox

  16. Hi , was amazed to read yr letter , hats off to the japanese people , especially in sendai , we r one wth u in spirit , really admire yr inner strenght , the culture ingrained in u , yr unselfish nature , not many people in this world would react like u , u r in all our hearts and mind , everyone feels the pain but r helpless , it s very sad with all the technology and science in moments like this we cant do much for each other .God bless

  17. Hi, Floa peter, this letter was written by Anne Thomas and it has had a life of its own. I received an early email and posted straightaway. Ode Magazine, for whom Anne blogs, also received the email and posted and has apparently posted more notes from Anne. By yesterday afternoon I noticed over 250 repostings of the letter on Google and two hours later posts had swelled to 3,680. Amazing. Glad you found it here and that it touched you. Kathryn xoxo

  18. I am visiting by way of 60 Going On 16’s blog and I find your friends letter very comforting, as kindness always is. I have pride and admiration, as well as great sorrow for everyone affected in Japan and have made donations for the animals and hope in that way, can help the people too, as their pets are such a comfort…

  19. Good morning, Teri, Thank you and bless you for helping the animals of Japan. It’s a very thoughtful thing to do. And, yes, our animals are such a comfort. Thanks for the visit. Kathryn xoxo

  20. Kathryn, thank you so much for posting this. It is so full of hope, and we all need hope and prayers for the people of Japan. It is our best qualities which often reveal themselves in crisis.~~Dee

  21. Hi, dear Dee, thanks so much. So true. Kathryn xoxo

  22. It does seem to be humanity at its best. It is so easy to forget the suffering when one goes about one’s day. A beautiful letter. Thoughts and prayers go out to Anne and the people of Sendai.

  23. Lovely, Layanee. Thank you. Kathryn xoxo

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