16 April 2011 ~ 27 Comments

Loco’s “Back to Life” Blog Party

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB54dZkzZOY

All the craziness over the past month or so forced me to put Loco in Yokohama on hold, as I’m sure my readers have noticed. A pause for the cause during which I’ve cried and grieved, sweat and fretted, supported friends and sacrificed amenities, given time and cash, and learned more about seismology and nuclear energy than most people will ever need to know.

And, I feel like it’s time to really get back to life.

I decided this today at work while a 4.0 aftershock, epi-centered in Ibaraki somewhere (actually I know the precise location thanks to the yurekuru alert on my cellphone), rumbled the building. I stood tall at the head of the class, surefooted as Anjin-san (John Blackthorne) was aboard the Erasmus. I watched as all of my students and the Japanese teacher dived beneath their desks and crouched on all fours; 30 sets of adolescent eyes in varying degrees of indifference watched me standing apparently defiant of not only death but more importantly of the school’s directive to all to duck and cover. (Actually I was never to informed I was supposed to.)

The truth is I hadn’t even been aware of it until I saw the Japanese teacher’s and several students’ heads whirling around in that peculiar way I’ve grown so accustomed to of late.

Yeah, it was about then that that I said to myself, “ok, enough already!”

Not that I feel 100% confident that the worst is over. Nor have I gotten so used to aftershocks that it takes 5.0 and up to race my heart. Or even that I feel safe. I just know that I’ve decided to stay here- for the time being at least- and that these aftershocks are part of life here, much the way gun shots ringing out in the night were part of life back home in New York. Life is full of figurative stray bullets, if you know what I mean.

And when it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go.

I feel for the people who died, have lost loved ones and/or are suffering due to to the repercussions of this tragedy, ripples reaching nearly every facet of life here. Some of my students and associates have family and friends from the areas hit worst. Some died, or are among the missing. Some have even moved in with them to escape the destruction and radiation up north. It’s very real and it’s everywhere you go.

Of course, I feel it.

But, I also feel the magnetic pull of life, pulling me back from the brink of some mournful, panic-stricken, joyless existence spent pouring over every news story, rumor and prognostication.

I feel an obligation to keep on keeping on.

Last week I was surfing around the net and came across an image that could easily be construed as poking fun at this disaster. I showed it to a worldly Japanese friend of mine and she let out a guilt-ridden guffaw, and said, “that’s funny, but it’s too soon!”

She was right of course. Not that I was planning to do any writing that made light of this disaster or even that I feel lighter about it. I don’t. But, laughter has a way of helping people to deal with all manner of tribulation.

The other day I made a joke myself on Twitter. I didn’t mean to. It just came out like it had been dying to come out and would be restrained no longer.

Someone had sent me a link to a Youtube recording of that now famous tune cellphones play when an earthquake is imminent, joking that he was going to make a ringtone out of it just to mess with people. I responded that the tone had just edged out the theme from The Smurfs as the official tone of pending disaster.

A couple of weeks ago, comedian Gilbert Gottfried got the boot from AFLAC, an insurance company, for some “too soon”  type jokes. (As if there’ll ever be a perfect time to say ”Japan is really advanced. they don’t go to the beach. the beach comes to them!”) Don’t know what he was thinking. Maybe he was TUI-Tweeting Under the Influence.

Nevertheless, I’ve YET to see any substantial jokes about 9/11, and don’t know how I’d feel if I did. And it’s been a decade since that dreadful day. But clearly “too soon” is a judgment call and in spite of the zeitgeist varies from person to person, I think.

That said…

Before the catastrophe I was in the process of doing something I haven’t done in nearly 3 years of blogging: opening up Loco in Yokohama to some select bloggers! I had put it on hold for obvious reasons. Well, that hold has been lifted.

You’ve heard of a House Party right? How about a Block Party? Sure you have.

Well, Loco’s crawling from beneath his desk and throwing a Back to Life Blog Party! And everybody’s invited. Time to dust off some of that doom, gloom and radiation plume we’ve been living under here in the rubble of Kawaiiland.

And, man, do I need it! And I’m sure I’m not alone.

So, over the course of the next few weeks you can expect to hear from a number of Guest Bloggers; right here, in this funky town!

“Tell me who in this house know about the quake? We do!”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ykcF_fhHl0&feature=related

“Shut up, already, damn!”

Loco

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27 Responses to “Loco’s “Back to Life” Blog Party”

  1. Ryan 16 April 2011 at 10:59 pm Permalink

    There's only so long the grieving process can go on for, as much as it pains at first to turn one's back on those that were less fortunate. They, sadly, are no longer with us though, and so for us, the ones left, there has to be a time when enough is enough and life has to roll back into gear.

    This may sound heartless, but living with that kind of guilty burden for too long will never help. Good for you; it's definitely time to move forward!

    • Locohama 16 April 2011 at 11:53 pm Permalink

      Thanks Ryan

      Yeah it's been a hell of a ride. but it's definitely time to get back in the saddle so to speak

      • Ryan 16 April 2011 at 11:55 pm Permalink

        For sure, it's good to hear that's what you're intending to do. I can empathise from afar, but I can't understand. Take care!

  2. Caroline Josephine 17 April 2011 at 1:24 am Permalink

    Good to see you back and full of life! I let my blogging slide the last month and while things have started to pick up for my personal life, I still feel that I'm not 100% ready to blog like I have… but I'm slowly getting back to it. Blogging about why Japan is great. Showing off my purchases. Trying to just let people know that Japan is still safe, still alive, and life is still moving forward~

    I do think that it's waaaaay too soon for jokes. I guess just a week after the quake my sister heard some jokes on our local radio station and her husband had to take the phone away from her before she started to make death threats. She later called back and talked to some higher ups at the station and got the idiots in trouble.

    Love the image of you standing tall while the rest of the students and teachers dove for cover. We had that big one in Tochigi today and it was my first time feeling such a large aftershock while I was teaching. My kids were strong though, and we all sat it out, then got back on with things. Honestly, that's all we can do.

    • Locohama 17 April 2011 at 11:59 am Permalink

      Thanks Caroline. Good news like yours makes it much easier to get back to it. You know? I mean LIFE is going on. Happy things are happening. Gotta find my joy!
      Yeah Jokes are a stretch. But a Party?? lol
      Y'all want this party started quickly right?

  3. Anonymous 17 April 2011 at 1:58 am Permalink

    I haven't been able to do a "man this soda is super goofy" blog since the quake… it just doesn't feel particularly right. However, that may because my blog is for other people more than it is for me. In my own, actual, real life, I've been doing my best to continue on as normal. It's hard, with my husband's sudden deployment, and the aftershocks that keep rocking the apartment, but part of me keeps repeating, "It's not that bad. You're alive. You can still go on, and /not/ doing fun things won't help anyone, including yourself — so do them!" And so, I've spent time with my friends as much as possible, trying to celebrate our friendship and life in this crazy land that we happen to reside in. If it's gonna keep chugging along, I'll be right there with it!

    • Locohama 17 April 2011 at 11:54 am Permalink

      "It's not that bad. You're alive. You can still go on, and /not/ doing fun things won't help anyone, including yourself — so do them!"
      Exactly!
      Have you noticed that there has been a sharp rise in drunkenness? Is it me? I mean, before 3/11 of course Fri, Sat, Sun would find your fair share of people sprawled out in varying levels of inebriation, but LATELY, my god! Anyway, could be part Hanami, part survivor guilt, part morbidity…I don't know. But even my drinking had increased of late. and I'm not much of a drinker at all.
      All of that is to say that I theorize repressing our need, our imperative to live, to move on after tragedy and catastrophe can have these kinds of side effects.
      Thanks for the shout Sarah! And ganbarimasyou. I pray the hubby will return in the same shape he deployed!

      • Anonymous 17 April 2011 at 8:01 pm Permalink

        To be fair, you're asking the resident of a /Navy/ base whether everyone here is drunk. To answer that, we've had at least 5 DUIs in the past month, and around 70% of our population was /gone/. One of those DUIs was at 10 in the morning on a Wednesday! Alcohol is a problem here, always — regardless of whether Japan is genki or getting mauled by Godzilla.

        But my drinking has also increased… both because the stress is just unbearable sometimes, and because getting together with a friend for margaritas is enjoyable.

        As far as Pillow returning in the same shape… well, he'll probably be considerably skinnier and gathered a few more gray hairs, but he'll otherwise be intact. There's no danger involved, outside of the everyday hazards of living aboard a morale-less floating nuclear-powered industrial park. :3

        • Caroline Josephine 17 April 2011 at 10:54 pm Permalink

          Love all of your comments love! And my drinking has gone from non-existant to me actually buying chu-his on a more regular basis. I'd LIKE to blame the quake… but I really just wanted to try the Sakura flavors… or maybe it's the other way around… ^^;;;

        • Locohama 18 April 2011 at 6:06 pm Permalink

          LMAO! You're killing me!

  4. FuKnWitU 17 April 2011 at 10:08 am Permalink

    I'm in.
    Block Party!!!!!
    Certain dates must be slightly altered to protect from legal reprecussions that may bite my ass. Otherwise..all true 🙂

  5. RKat 17 April 2011 at 11:42 am Permalink

    おかえり!!! I think the best thing for everyone to do is to keep on doing what they do best.

  6. reesan 17 April 2011 at 6:38 pm Permalink

    looking forward to seeing what you have in store.

  7. Jay Dee 18 April 2011 at 4:51 pm Permalink

    Looking forward to seeing what's coming up! There are some people around me who are always in a panic. "We're only 25 metres above sea level! If the Great Tokai Earthquake hits, we'll dieieieeeeieiiieee!!!!!" At the same time, I'm thinking "Whatever. What happens happens. We can't stop it, and might as well try to enjoy ourselves." Anyway, the blog party sounds interesting 🙂

    • Locohama 18 April 2011 at 6:08 pm Permalink

      Yeah, hopefully this will be a way for people to blow off some of this disaster steam, stop seeing death in every news story, and just Live their lives! GHope it:s worth the wait. have a feeling it will be!

  8. Verity Veritas 18 April 2011 at 7:41 pm Permalink

    Indeed, life must go on and should go on. Personally I feel the same as you Loco: I had my time to be scared stupid and panic and worry and mourn, but I think those of us that are OK need to pick up emotionally and mentally and keep things going for those who can't. Now that doesn't necessarily mean we have to make light of the goings-on at present, or that it's even wise, but Japan is still Japan. It's still a quirky place ripe with writing material for observant bloggers. May it never lose that quirky charm.

    • Locohama 18 April 2011 at 10:51 am Permalink

      …and it WILL go on whether we like it or not. And I like it dammit! (-; Thanks for the shout, love!
      Quirky? Talk about spin. lol

    • Locohama 18 April 2011 at 10:51 am Permalink

      …and it WILL go on whether we like it or not. And I like it dammit! (-; Thanks for the shout, love!
      Quirky? Talk about spin. lol

    • Locohama 18 April 2011 at 7:51 pm Permalink

      …and it WILL go on whether we like it or not. And I like it dammit! (-; Thanks for the shout, love!
      Quirky? Talk about spin. lol

  9. Verity Veritas 18 April 2011 at 10:41 am Permalink

    Indeed, life must go on and should go on. Personally I feel the same as you Loco: I had my time to be scared stupid and panic and worry and mourn, but I think those of us that are OK need to pick up emotionally and mentally and keep things going for those who can’t. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to make light of the goings-on at present, or that it’s even wise, but Japan is still Japan. It’s still a quirky place ripe with writing material for observant bloggers. May it never lose that quirky charm.

  10. Kei 18 April 2011 at 7:59 pm Permalink

    "I just know that I’ve decided to stay here- for the time being at least- and that these aftershocks are part of life here, much the way gun shots ringing out in the night were part of life back home in New York. Life is full of figurative stray bullets, if you know what I mean."

    I like this note. Right on the mark.

    • Locohama 18 April 2011 at 8:42 pm Permalink

      Thanks Kei! Yeah, it was the closest reference I could think of to what it's like living over here these days.


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