It is for the third time now that I visit Japan after the big earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. My first trip following the disaster was in May last year, to see colleagues and friends, who fortunately all survived. I started this blog with my travel report “A Journey to the North”.
After coming back to Kyoto and Tokyo last November, now I am back again, repeating more or less my journey from May 2011.
Kyoto appears unchanged, happily preparing for “hanami”, the great cherry blossom party starting in a week or so. Occasional signs say that the still suffering Tohoku region is not forgotten … but somehow it seems as far as the moon in happy Kyoto, where people enjoy the evening “light up” in the streets of Higashiyama. It is almost impossible for me not to be taken away by the cheerful atmosphere of the happy crowd, coming to Kyoto and walking my favourite routes always feels like “coming home”.
After doing some business in Kobe, I will travel to Tokyo and Sendai, and then back to Kyoto to stay a week at a Zen Dojo. A year after the tragedy, I still have very mixed positive and negative impressions and thoughts, concerning the strength of the Japanese to stand up and recover, their inability to search and find ways against a tremendous waste of energy, our inability to find ways to help, when the “donation money” reflex is of no use. What can we do?