What happened in Japan a few days ago is a terrible thing but I am sad to see the way things are covered in the media and at the political level.
Japan has suffered one of the biggest earthquakes in the last 140 years and after the destruction caused by the tsunami they expect at least 10000 casualties. But our media in Europe are only speaking about the possible nuclear catastrophe and rarely speak about the people in Japan who lost everything: a parent, a friend, their house, car etc. Some countries are even checking already the level of radioactivity of the Japanese products imported (sent before the earthquake because the Japanese industry is down), others are checking the air pollution even if they are located 3000 km away from Japan and not in the direction of the winds!
This treatment of information is revolting as it only emphasizes the human appetite for cataastrophe.
I am not trying to minimize the nuclear accident but I think that we have to focus primarily on what is important: the people in difficulty trying to survive after the tsunami.
Can we individually do anything about the nuclear problem? Can we seriously howl with the politicians and the media and use this accident as an excuse to stop our own nuclear plants?
We are behaving like a drunk driver blaming a tree for destroying his car after a crash. The nuclear problem is not the cause of the problem but a negative consequence of the tsunami so we must first do whatever we can to help the Japanese people.
- The moment it is dangerous to go to Tokyo because of the radiations, the airlines will stop their flights.
- The moment it will be risky for your health to go to Japan, the Japanese government and our own governments will prevent us to go there.
- The Japanese are the most experienced people to deal with nuclear problems.
So we must redefine our priorities:
- While the nuclear specialists (from Japan, the USA, the IAEA) do their best to contain the nuclear risks, our job is to support the victims of the tsunami.
In the last days I have seen many Bujinkan groups organizing seminars to collect money for Japan and one dôjô is going to give the benefits to the Japanese red cross. This is the Bujinkan I like.
- Whether nuclear power is “good” or “bad” is not of our concern. We must only do our best to live a happy life where we are.
We often have the feeling that our governments are not always telling us the truth, but there is nothing we can do about it. But as Bujinkan members we should listen to Sensei when he stresses the importance of being happy. So let’s recenter our lives to be happy and stop howling with the crowd.
- The nuclear catastrophe is only a scapegoat. We are the ones to blame because we were unable to develop (in the 20th century) a society fuelled by nuclear power (80% of the electricity in France). As long as we do not find a real alternative to nuclear power we have to live with it.
We are responsible. Accept that and move on as the Japanese did, do and will always do. Sensei was still teaching on Sunday (not on Tuesday as the Budôkan was closed) and I guess he will teach on Friday, so keep going!
As far as I am concerned, I will continue to support the Japanese as much as I can and I am still planning to train with Sôke next April.
If you want to actively help Japan, the best support you can give is to continue to travel to Japan as long as:
- Sensei is teaching his regular classes,
- the airlines are allowed to land at Narita airport,
- our governments let us travel to Tokyo.
The Bujinkan is teaching us to be ourselves and not to behave as a flock of sheeps. It is time to show the world that you didn’t train for nothing during all these years.
And remember that “tsunami” 津浪 is a Japanese word!
See you soon on the mats in Noda.