Prologue, Feb 27, 2014

Here we go, my friend. I promise I will be open. I promise to be true. It surprises me that I become emotional as this journey begins. I thought I planned it all along, but now the reality hit me like a rock. I wake up crying for an hour, as if Vivian just left us yesterday. The memory of her is sealed in a box. I am always guarded, too scared to open it. She decides to come out today, and there is nothing I can do about it. My body is soaked with her image.

“Am I doing this for you?” I ask her, or myself.

In my Japanese classes, my 2 teachers asked the same simulation question over and over again. “Why?”, pretending they were strangers I met on the road in Tohoku. “Why do you come here, and why are you taking these pictures?”

I uttered in my broken and unnatural Japanese, “I want to see how these places and people recover.” “I come to pray.”

“But why?” Yasuko said, with her persistent smile. She really wanted to know this time.

I searched in my head and knew my answers were superficial and not compelling. There was no getting around the big question. I paused for a long time, and told her I lost my daughter. She had leukemia and passed away at the age of 4. It has been pailful for me to see children suffering, on the news, in stories, or in memories. Then March 11 tsunami happened. Tragedies in the scope unimaginable. I couldn’t bear to watch. The image of children’s shoes on the beach was gut-wrenching.

All of a sudden here I am, trying to walk through the grief, the lost, and the recovery. Is it a good idea? I don’t know. Maybe the reason to travel long distance is to search for the meaning of home. Maybe by being here, alone with my thoughts, I will allow myself a space to mourn. I am feeling a bit naive, though. There is great uncertainty awaiting on the road. We are about to find out soon, my friend. I promise I will be open. I promise to be true.









Japanese translation by Kurumi Kido   日本語訳:城戸 久瑠実

3 thoughts

  1. I hope your journey will be safe, and it will give you the space and time that you have needed, to find what you have been searching for. And thank you for doing this and sharing your thoughts and deepest feelings. (I know you may be doing it for your self, but still it touches my heart, and (I believe) many other people’s, especially Japanese people’s heart… ) We will be thinking of you.

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