Osaka, March 13th, 2011
It's barely 48 hours since Japan was rocked by a 9.0 earthquake. 47 hours since it was hit by a massive series of tsunami waves and 22 hours since the explosion at Reactor #1 in Fukushima. All of these are a combination of events that have left me emotionally depleted, mentally exhausted, angry, stressed, nervous.
Fortunately in our area of Kansai the direct human and infrastructure toll has been minimal to say the least. We find ourselves very fortunate in light of the extensive loss of life and property in the Tokyo and Tohoku areas.
However the emotional toll has been quite significant. Many of us have been experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, with great uncertainty about the current situation or the likelihood of other disasters affecting this area. Already unscrupulous individuals are trying to reap benefits from this great tragedy through aid relief scams, bogus "help me I'm bleeding" emails and the like in our area, attempting to capitalize on people's feelings during this crisis.
We need to pry ourselves a little bit from the news reports, give ourselves a little break from the terrible news and catastrophic images we are seeing and take just a little while to breathe, collect our thoughts and see what we can do to help.
Many of us want to help but have no idea what to do or where to go. For many in the expatriate community this disaster is beyond anything they have ever seen, and many may be experiencing very high levels of emotional and mental stress. Our friends and relatives abroad may also bee experiencing great anxiety in light of the destruction they are seeing on their screens back home.
It's now the time for us to regain control of our emotions as best we can. For those who want to help there are any number of things that can be done. Please get in touch with your local parish, the local temple or shrine, neighborhood association or even your ward office. They will be able to inform you and or direct you of preparations being made and how you can help.
At the gallery we are working hard to do our part to help as well, not only now, but as time goes on. We have received many suggestions from many of you with great ideas for exhibitions and events in support if the victims. Thank you very much for your input!
In the mean time, please distract yourself from the media for a little while. I know how difficult this seems, but please go for a walk, watch a movie or listen to music in your apartment for a little while. Please give yourselves some time to let your mind and heart rest.
We again would like to say thank you to everyone who has been in touch with us, asking after us and responding to our inquiries about their safety.
Celio H. Barreto
SoHo Art Gallery