Monday, April 4, 2011

Guest Blogger: Masami from Japan needs your happy emails

Her name is Masami.  I met her in Montreal last year.  As a member of the Rotary International RYLA Committee, I was in charge of the Rotarian counselors and their work with 150 young people who had gathered for the international conference.

Masami is as smart as whip. She is beautiful and kind.  And she was humbled by her opportunity to serve as a counselor and mentor.

She struggled a bit, and we had a private conversation about how things were going. 

Our buddy, Ash, translated for us to make sure I was understanding everything she wanted to say.

I will never forget how tenderly I felt about her when she cried. 

"The Japanese don't cry," he said. 

When we parted ways, we had a special look between us because of what we had shared.  It was accident, of course, me seeing her cry.  But her secret was safe with me.  And she knew it.  :)

I only tell you now because I want you to feel that same tenderness for Masami and her people and you will do something them.  Write them an email.
Dear My friends in the world,

Thank you everyone for the prayers for Japan. I’m very moved to receive many e-mails from the friends all over the world, worrying about this disastrous situation in Japan.

We, Japanese, have never imagined such destructive power of the earth. This was the biggest earthquake we ever had. The city I live and work in is midway right between Tokyo and Fukushima where the nuclear power plant is. So we are warned about vegetables and water polluted with radiation. Even though we are living under dangerous conditions, we have to live well, I think.

I teach English to the students aged from 10 to 18 at a small school in a town called Sano, Tochigi. Fortunately, my area hasn’t got a big damage, but now we can’t get electricity for three hours every day and local trains don’t run at all. We are running out of fuels for cars and heaters. Some people can’t drive. We can’t get milk, mineral water, or eggs from stores.

Because of the lack of train service, every high school has no classes, no extracurricular activities, or no sports at all. These students even cancelled all their plans of hanging out with their friends. This means, they have nothing to do all day long! – I take this situation very serious.

Adults are ok. We have to continue our daily work to live on whether we are under the threat of nuclear or not. But can you imagine how these young people spend their 24 hours at home without anything to do? They just sit in front of TV all day, locked in their houses.

As Rylarian and educator, I try to show them how to tackle with negative conditions like this. Especially in this difficult situation, one should stand up and do something that one can.

I said to them, “Let’s jump on your bike, come and study with your classmates. Your teacher, Masami is here in the classroom to teach you math and English as usual.” It was a sudden offer and they didn’t think they could come by bike from 20km away at first, but they managed it and studied harder than before.

For another occasion, we didn’t have electricity for one night. We couldn’t have a normal lesson without light, but instead of reading English text, we had a discussion, like you do for RYLA. One small light of candle was enough for us.

So here is my favour for my friends in the world. Would you please give these young people a message in English to encourage them to live their own normal life? They have already learned that they could do something if they have will to challenge.

Young people should not get depressed, but stand up and move on.

Even one line will do. Encouragement, cheers, or any comments!

It’d be great if you could start with; Dear/To/Hello, Masami’s students,
and end with; Your Name from Where You Are. For the first time of their lives, they will get e-mails from overseas.
How much they will be excited!
I’m very grateful for your cooperation.

Your friend in Japan,
With lots of love,