Last Friday afternoon we kept hearing the constant drone of loudspeakers on the street outside the post. We thought that it was just one of the political vans that they have here on Okinawa (after a while you just ignore them) but this one kept on all afternoon. I happened to have my internet up while I was editing photographs and my sister, from Indiana, sent me a message telling me what had happened, that there was a large earthquake and tsunamis were to follow. We were in “the zone” of warning. Thankfully we only ended up having high water levels here. I am especially grateful after seeing the photographs and video footage of the wall of water that lifted and moved houses off their foundations and large trucks all floating down roads in the power of the incoming tsunami leaving entire communities covered in mud and washed out to sea; even today there are so many people missing. My heart is saddened by the sheer devastation and the continued dangers that remain. I am moved to tears for the lovely land of which I am only a visitor. When you spend time amidst a people they have a way of niggling their way into your heart. As you watch children play in the sand or running through water fountains; others sifting through shells or admiring the lovely flowers; people resting on benches or visiting the same venues about a culture rich with fascinating history; you realize how much we have in common.
|The Flower Strewn Path|
|The Wet Wait|
Saturday came and I was thankful we could drive down the road, breathe the fresh air, feel the sun as it peeked through the cloud cover, and walk on dry land amidst flower strewn pathways. What a stark contrast; and yet somehow your mind was never free of the pictures of devastation 970 miles north of here. We spent the day at Ocean’s Park Expo where there didn’t seem to be the hustle and bustle of visits past, but nevertheless people, who like us, were not only trying to experience the moments of their culture but to try to put aside just for a few moments the visions we kept with us of the events on the main island. As we stood looking across the water to the island of Ie, we saw four military helicopters heading north, only then were we shaken back from our momentary escape from reality. We were always only a thought away anyway with the Okinawan’s gracious manners and their concern for us voiced in English, as they smiled at the children, making sure we knew of their concern since we were and still are under a tsunami warning. How can you not love them!
|Helicopter Heading North|
Here are a few photographs from the Okinawan Village and the grounds at Ocean’s Park Expo.
|The Lute Line|
The events that have taken place here in Japan have been rather overwhelming for me. While I am nearly 1000 miles from the devastation here in Okinawa, I cannot keep them very far from my thoughts amidst personal concerns for my family here. The situation is very fluid and we are currently in uncharted territory. Keep Japan and its people in your thoughts and prayers.