We've spent a good part of the last two days new-home shopping: couch, rug, dining set, kitchen unit, bed, dressers, desk, and a bunch of bookcases too for good measure - all the things that two academically minded people need when they move from a dorm room and a tiny apartment into an actual home. Not being glued to the TV (which is no longer all chanels all disaster reports 24/7) and facebook has done wonders for my mental state but I can't help but feel guilty - here we are setting up our new home when so many up north have lost theirs. So we order the special donation dish at the restaurant, put money in the collection boxes that adorn every cash register, and look into other ways to help.
Day-to-day life seems to be returning to normal in Tokyo. There are still lines round the block at the pumps and many of the flashy neon signs have been turned off to conserve energy, but most stores have toilet paper and bottled water in stock and U has to go back to work again tomorrow. Mentally, however, we're not recovered yet. The other day at the furniture store a window suddenly opened with a bang and a gust of wind rattled a display. We all jumped. A little girl looking at desks with her father grabbed his hand and cried "EARTHQUAKE!" U grabbed my hand tightly. The suave store employee helping us looked around wildly in fear while two others dashed about trying to figure out what was going on. It only lasted a few seconds and then we realized what had caused the sounds. We laughed nervously and swapped 3/11 stories. The 5th floor of the store shook wildly, U's lab had a large light fixture crash to the ground... We laughed nervously again and then gathered ourselves and moved on. The little girl became engrossed in picking a decorated desk top sticker - which of her favourite characters should she choose?
And so it goes. One day at a time.
While I know that many have lost everything reports are showing doctors visiting the emergency shelters. New homes are being planned, and existing housing being opened up. I have hope that things keep improving, one day at a time.