bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
This Christmas was definitely different from previous ones...the second one in a row away from my family, but the first with new traditions and new family. My first on the East Coast, but also the first with my husband.

Last night we went over to R's aunt's house and had traditional Ukrainian food. There was also a long discussion of Ukrainian customs. Apparently if you sneeze while at the table on Christmas Eve, next year someone will die. The Ukrainians are so cheerful. ;)
Then we went home, exchanged gifts with each other, and Skyped with my family while they opened their presents. My favorite line of the night: Aidan opened up a board game I gave him, read the cover, and exclaimed "I don't even know what that is!"

This morning we made waffles and relaxed at home, then headed over to the in-laws, where we opened more presents, ate a ton of food, took a walk around the neighborhood, ate more food, and hung out with the whole family. It was interesting; it was my first chance to really talked to R's cousins. I don't have anything in common with them, but they're nice people.

This year was definitely a little sad. I miss Dad so damn much this time of year, and Christmas without Grandma is definitely not okay. But I've learned to anticipate the sadness...it's not fun, but I'll survive.

As for presents, from my mom I got a sweater, pants, two pairs of pajamas, socks, yarn, the Brave DVD, winter boots, and a new silverware set. (Rory exclaimed, "They all match!!") From my nephews, I got a wooden puzzle, gummy worms, and a bottle of shampoo (apparently Aidan saw it in the store, thought the bottle was pretty, and decided to get it for me. Why not?). From my sister, I'll get a wedding photo album, eventually.
From R's sister, we got a sushi making set. :) From his other sister, I got new headphones (desperately needed), and jelly beans. And from R's parents, we got a new TV. Neither of us actually asked for a TV, but we'll take it. :) It's a fancy one, too, apparently you can stream YouTube on it. I was absolutely stunned when we opened it.

And the best present:



Yes, indeed, I got a baby elephant!

I started asking for one after we watched the film "Born To Be Wild" back in September. It's about orphaned elephants and orangutans, and I completely fell in love with the baby elephants. I've been asking for one for Christmas ever since. It'll fit in the bathtub, no problem!

R, being the wonderful husband he is, obliged. He "adopted" one for me through the World Wildlife Fund, and a get a picture of the elephant and email updates about it. And the best part is that it's a Borneo Pygmy Elephant, which is smaller and more adorable than other elephants. It's the best present ever!!!

And now, to sleep. Happy Saturnalia, everyone.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
Well, it's been an interesting week.

Two weeks ago I started my new job. I'm working with people who have developmental disabilities, going to their homes and helping them with life skills. It's part-time, but better than nothing, and it's going well so far. It's tiring work, but I like it.

Unfortunately, on Saturday I was driving to a client's home. It was snowing pretty hard (first major snowfall this season), and I was driving slowly, but my car skidded to the side, spun around, and crashed into a telephone pole. (The only pole within 100 feet, and my car HAS to hit it.) I'm fine, just a little sore. My car...not so much. The front bumper pretty much fell off, and I think a headlight was smashed.

I immediately called R, and he came out to get me. In the meantime, someone from the volunteer fire department stopped, had me get into his truck, and called the police and an ambulance. The medics checked me over and said I was fine, the police blocked off the road and had my car towed, and I called my boss to say I wasn't going to make it to work.

After everything was cleared up, I went home and slept for a good long time, and stayed in my pajamas the rest of the day. R stayed home from work, cooked dinner, and kept me company.

I did find out that my car is at the towing company, but the insurance company can't look at it until Wednesday because of everything being closed for Christmas. So at least until Wednesday, I'm car-less. Strangely, I'm far more upset about my car being damaged than anything else. I'm far too emotionally attached to it.

In other news, I'm not so much in the Christmas spirit this year, though certainly more than last year. All the Christmas shopping is done (picked up the last thing today), and I just have to finish making one present. I am ridiculously excited about my present for R. :) We're spending Christmas with his family, then going to see my mom and sister next month. We were planning on going out to see my family after Christmas, but it was just too expensive, so January it is.

I'll post pictures soon!

Owarimasu.

Jul. 1st, 2012 11:03 pm
bluealoe: (Default)
My last night in Japan, spent at a little hotel near Tokyo station. Tomorrow I go to the airport, turn in my alien registration card, and return to the USA. I'm sure I'll come back to Japan sometime, to live or at least to visit. A part of my heart will always stay in Japan. But for now, I will return to being American.

Three years of living on my own. Of ramen, gyoza, and curry rice. Of sweltering humidity and biting heat, of convenience stores and bicycles. Of being alternately welcomed and stared at. Of difficult bosses, strange co-workers, and amazing students. Of learning more about another culture than I ever imagined, and still just scratching the surface. Of ear infections, laryngitis, and allergies. Of endless hours walking the streets and parks of Niigata and Okazaki and Sapporo and Kushiro.

Three years of disappointments, tears, laughter, and falling in love.

And now it's off to a new beginning.

Briefly

Jun. 28th, 2012 12:05 am
bluealoe: (Default)
Very brief update:

-I leave Japan in five days. Three days of work left. I'm up to my ears in sorting and packing and cleaning. I keep alternating between "It's okay, I have it under control" and "TOO MUCH TO DO!!!! AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!" Honestly, most of the packing is done, it's just a few things left. But I'm still panicking, because it's what I do.

-I need a box. Just one. For a couple of things I need to mail. And I absolutely can't find one the right size. The ones at the post office aren't *quite* big enough. I'm at my wit's end.

-I'm feeling...okay...about leaving. I'll miss Japan a lot (convenience stores and gyoza and good ramen, definitely), but I'm going to be with my love, and that makes everything okay.

-My students have been so sweet. Two classes brought me cake, and I've received a few presents. Leaving the students is definitely the hardest part. (Except for a few-shall we say, difficult-ones. But the majority are awesome.)

-My computer is well and thoroughly hosed. It works okay in Safe Mode, but that's not ideal, especially because there's no sound in Safe Mode, and I kind of need Skype to work. In normal mode, forget about doing a damn thing. It doesn't work at all. The good news is that the computer's still under warranty. The bad news is that I have to wait until I'm back in the US to get it fixed.
Thank goodness for iPods and Kindles with wireless, that's all I can say.

-After several months of rain and clouds and generally miserable weather, it finally got very warm and pleasant this week. Just as I'm leaving. Sheesh.

-One week!!! Wheeeeee!!!

Lists

Jun. 11th, 2012 11:19 pm
bluealoe: (Default)
Things I Do Not Enjoy:
-Allergies
-Sore throats
-Ear infections.
-Sorting through all my stuff.
-Packing everything and getting ready to move.
-Knowing my boss/landlord is coming to inspect the apartment sometime this week, but not knowing when.
-Constant trips to the post office.
-Having to say goodbye to my students.
-Computer issues. I don't ask you to play games or make movies or do anything intensive...just open webpages and let me check my email? Please?
-Trying to navigate Japanese-only websites.
-Father's Day.
-Six Years. I can't deal with that...I just can't. Every year it gets harder, not easier.

Things I Do Enjoy:
-Being able to breathe through my nose again.
-Hank and Katherine and Michael Play Super Mario Brothers Wii. Toadally!
-Watching The Guild. Most of the characters annoy the hell out of me, but I can't stop watching. (Though would it kill them to put all the episodes on one site? Geek and Sundry has some, Watch The Guild has most of them but not the specials, and YouTube has bits and pieces.)
-Sunny days at the zoo.
-Gyoza. The food of the gods.
-Knowing that in less than a month, I will be with my love again. And this time, it will be for always.
bluealoe: (Default)
I have an ear infection. I've been taking medicine for the last week, and have to take more pills for at least another week. Plus my allergies have kicked into high gear, and I've spent the whole weekend sneezing like it's the new trend. I'm not sure the human body is meant to hold that much snot.

But other than that, all is well. A couple weeks ago I had a few days off work, so I ventured up to northern Hokkaido to explore. Here, have some pictures!

Photobucket

My first stop was Wakkanai, the most northern city in Japan. Then I took a train down to Asahikawa, the second biggest city in Hokkaido, and then made my way
home, via Sapporo. There was a LOT of time spent on trains, but it gave me a chance to catch up on my reading, which was nice.

27 more pictures )
bluealoe: (Default)
We did all the things!

My mom and our mutual friend Julie came to visit me for about ten days, and I'm pretty sure we went to every tourist attraction within 50 miles. In no particular order:

-A hot springs village by a lake that's famous for a particular kind of algae, where we stayed in a traditional Japanese inn
-An Ainu village and Ainu dance performance, which had remarkable similarities to a lot of Alaska Native traditions
-A ride on the steam train, including sitting next to the most adorable pair of twins ever
-Another hot springs town, located next to a semi-active volcano
-The Marshlands Observatory (getting there involved a mad dash to catch the bus at a stop light)
-The city history museum, where my mom took about a hundred pictures of the designs on traditional clothing, despite claiming to hate museums
-A park by the very cold and frozen ocean
-A Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple, both down the street from my apartment
-Shopping at the Japanese equivalent of Target
-The amazing 100-yen stores
-Ramen. Lots and lots of ramen.
-A restaurant on the ninth floor, from which you could see the entire city
-Meeting several of my students, who were incredibly excited to talk to native speakers
-The Akan International Crane Center, which Mom and Julie went to by themselves, despite not being able to speak any Japanese. It takes an hour by bus to get there, and they were brave enough to try it on their own (I had to work that day). I felt like a mother sending her kids off to kindergarten as I waved them off on the bus. But they got there and back successfully!

There was also the non-tourist activities, such as Mom cooking dinner and Julie showing off pictures of her grandson and me fixing my computer and all of us eating a tremendous amount of cookies and Mom practically running off with my new Kindle. And every morning the two of them went to a local bakery and chatted for hours while I went to work.

It was a lot of fun, but way more activity then I'm used to. A week later and I'm still recuperating.

In other news, work is still...work-like. My schedule's being rearranged this month, due to some students leaving and others arriving, so that'll be interesting to adjust to. I'm getting incredibly sick of the snow and anxious for summertime to arrive. My students tell me that this IS spring in Hokkaido, but I'm in denial. Spring does not mean multiple snowstorms, even in Alaska!

And I have to work tomorrow, so now I'm ging to curl up and watch an episode of Castle. And eat a cookie.
bluealoe: (Default)
I went on an adventure!

On Monday, I went on a trip on the SL Fuyu-no-Shitsugen train (the name translates to "Winter Marshlands"). It's one of only two steam-powered trains in Japan, and it only operates two months out of the year. My boss mentioned it to me a few months ago, and last weekend I finally decided to check it out. It was definitely interesting, and I took lots of pictures!

The departure platform at the station.



20 more pictures, with commentary! )

I have to point out that life is Japan is not always an exciting adventure, like so many people seem to think. My days usually consist of working, eating, sleeping, and playing Plants vs. Zombies. I normally don't have the time or energy to seek out fun things to do. But when I do manage to have an adventure, it's pretty awesome.

Saturnalia

Dec. 27th, 2011 12:50 am
bluealoe: (Default)
It's been a strange holiday season. It's the first time in my life I haven't been with at least one member of my family on Christmas; the first time I haven't been with my mom, and one of only a handful of times I've been away from my sister or dad. That fact, combined with still getting used to a new job, and being in a new city where I know almost no one, made it REALLY hard to get into the holiday spirit. I just barely managed to finish shopping for presents, and didn't put up decorations or do anything else. And I had to work on Christmas Eve.

However, despite all that, it wasn't a bad Christmas. On Friday I went to a holiday party, where I made mashed potatoes, decorated a tree, pulled a Christmas cracker, and saw a Christmas pudding lit on fire. It was an interesting day, to say the least.
Mom sent presents to me a few weeks ago, and I opened them on Christmas morning, with my family on Skype. I got to watch them open their presents, and see my younger nephew decide to open ALL the presents, not just the ones for him. ;) My mom gave me The Sound of Music and Cars 2 on DVD, socks and underwear, a gorgeous jade necklace, a calendar, and more candy canes than I know what to do with. My sister got me Paul Simon's newest CD (which she didn't quite get around to mailing, so I'll actually receive it later). And, of course, my best present is arriving next month. :)

Spending Christmas Day lounging on the couch watching movies wasn't bad at all, though a little lonely. Unfortunately, I also managed to get sick, and spent most of Christmas Day with a sore throat and scratchy voice. I feel a lot better today, which is good because I have to teach tomorrow. And my computer started flashing weird errors, so I have to call Dell.

I'm not sure what to think about the holidays anymore. Every year it just seems to lose more of its significance, which changing traditions, physical distance, and the huge gaping Dad-and-Grandma-sized holes that will never be filled. But I have to remember that for my nephews, the magic is just beginning, and they'll have their own traditions and stories to hold on to. So I persevere.

I'll write a proper year-end review soon, once I have time to sit down and sort it all out. 2011 was a strange strange year, full of uncertainty and change and most importantly, love.

Happy Saturnalia, everyone.
bluealoe: (Default)
Is there anyone out there who has studied/is studying nutrition at a university in the US? if so, would you be willing to help out a friend of mine with a new questions? She is writing a newsletter for her university, and needs to interview someone who has studied nutrition. Just some general questions; what does the study involve, what are the requirements/accreditation, what kind of jobs can you get.

If you know of anyone who can help, please email me at BlueAloe at gmail dot com. Thank you so much!
bluealoe: (Default)
When did writing become a chore? It used to be something I wanted to do, something that made me feel better about myself. But somehow it's transformed into something to tick off the to-do list. I have a whole list of amusing anecdotes about Japan I keep meaning to write, but I just can't seen to work up the energy to actually write an entry.

Related: Has anyone seen my motivation lately? It seems to have deserted me, and all I want to do is lay around, listen to NPR, and watch Hank and Katherine Play Super Mario Brothers.

I really shouldn't be feeling so down. My job's hectic, of course, but it's going fine; all my students have been really nice; it finally snowed, making it seem more like winter; and I got paid for the first time in almost a year. I can't exactly complain. And yet, I just feel blah. Not depressed, not angry, not upset...just blah.

Part of it is the normal culture adjustment curve. You're supposed to go through a downswing after a couple of months. I've experienced it before, I know it's normal, and yet expecting it doesn't make it any easier.

Part of it is the holidays. It will be my first Christmas ever away from my mom, and that isn't filling me with delight. I won't get to see my nephews open their presents, and I won't get to be with my love. Christmas used to be a time of family togetherness, a time I looked forward to all year. And now..it's just an obligation. Without Dad, without Grandma, there just doesn't seem to be a point.
I have to go Christmas shopping soon, and I have exactly zero ideas. After two years in Japan, I think I've exhausted the "get everyone Japanese souvenirs" route.

A big part of it is being so far away from my love. It gets harder every day. I keep telling myself we'll make it through, and I know we will, but it isn't easy.

I'll be okay. I always end up okay in the end. Please don't worry about me. Just, you know...it's be easier with motivation.
bluealoe: (Default)
I've been back in Japan for about six weeks now, so I guess it's time for an update.

The job is going okay. It took me a while to get back into the groove of teaching, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. I'm teaching all ages; my youngest students are 3 (a kindergarten class, twice a month), and my oldest student is around 70. The pace is pretty hectic, often I have four classes in a row with only five minutes between each class. But so far I'm keeping up. Still not sure if I want to teach English as a permanent career, but so far it's fine.

The best part is that so far, my boss is really nice and helpful. Rather talkative, but that's okay; compared to my last few bosses, it's like a breath of fresh air to have a someone who's not batshit crazy in charge.

Last Saturday my boss held held a welcome party for me, so I had to socialize with all my students. They made me try sake for the first time. Yes, I've lived in Japan for two years and never tried sake. But a student bought it for me, I had to be polite! I really was not impressed. Drinking it was okay, but afterward it felt like my mouth was burning. I think I'll stick to melon soda, thank you very much.

The city where I'm living, Kushiro, is a nice mid-sized city. Nothing like Tokyo or even Niigata, but big enough to have plenty of stores and a proper bus system. And it's right by the ocean, which is still somewhat strange to me; I'm just not used to being so close to massive bodies of water. But it's nice to be so close to nature. Apparently Kushiro has the third most beautiful sunset in the world (or so I'm told), but I haven't really seen it yet.
The only downside so far is the wind. Good lord, it's windy here. When I'm going to work, sometimes I feel like I can't breathe, the wind is so strong. Damn wind.

My apartment is really nice. It's small, but it's carpeted and has furniture, which is more than I can say for my last apartment. Unfortunately the kitchen is absolutely tiny and has no counter space, but I think that's just par for the course in Japan.

Today's a national holiday, and I've very much enjoying staying home and doing nothing. I still have no plans for Christmas and/or New Years. I get about a week off from work, but I can't go home (first Christmas of my life without my mother...not looking forward to that), so I'm trying to figure out what sort of fun adventure to go on. I really want to explore Hokkaido some more, but I'm not sure New Year's is the best time to do it. Not only is the weather pretty damn cold, in Japan almost everything shuts down for New Year's, so what would be the point of going places if everything's closed?

So that's my life at the moment. Honestly, not too exciting. Just working and sleeping and surviving the best I can.

I'm planning on another entry soon with random stories of life in Japan, teaching kindergarteners, including going to the doctor, adventures on a bicycle, singing loudspeakers, and the sheer awesomeness of hundred-yen stores.

Oh, and I just found out that Anne McCaffrey died on Monday. She was 85, so not unexpected, but still...her books influenced me so much when I was younger, and she's always been on the top of my list of people to meet. May you always ride with the dragons.
bluealoe: (Default)
In two hours, I go back to the airport to fly back to Japan. I'm starting a new job in a new city, living in a new apartment, and basically starting life all over again. For the umpteenth time. You'd think the more often you do it, the easier it would get, but somehow it doesn't work that way. I'm still panicking. I know it will be better once I actually arrive and settle in...but this in-between stage? It's terrifying.

I'll write more once I get to Japan and have some idea what's going on.
bluealoe: (Default)
Well, I'm back in Alaska. The entire trip, from my apartment in Sapporo to my mom's house in Bethel, involved a taxi ride, a subway ride, an overnight train, another train, a mad dash around Tokyo, another train, three airplane flights, a six-hour layover in Los Angeles, a night in the Anchorage airport, and over 52 hours. Longest trip of my life. I hope I never have to go through that again.

But I'm safely in Alaska now. When I got here, my sister and nephews were here visiting, and it was a hectic whirlwind of a week. A 2-year-old and a 5-year-old can be rather...exhausting. But it was good to see them again. My little nephew knows my name now, and points at me while yelling "EMMY" and smiling. He's adorable.

Spent the last couple of days cleaning the house. I vacuumed and swept all the floors, scrubbed the shower, cleaned the bathroom and kitchen, and spent several hours organizing and sweeping out the entryway (it was a disaster). Oh, and I cleaned out the inside of my mom's car. In the middle of all this, I realized it was all the dust causing my allergies to flare up. Yay. But the house is relatively clean now. We'll see how long it lasts.

And now, I'm just waiting for tomorrow. When I go to the airport and pick him up. And a whole new adventure begins.

Today is over,
Today is done.
Tomorrow'll be another one.

-Dr. Seuss
bluealoe: (Default)
May 28, 2006.

Five years ago I graduated college.

Five years ago I saw my father for the last time.

How did time go so quickly?

Graduation


I love you, Dad. I miss you every day.
bluealoe: (Default)
In the past month, a hell of a lot has happened; and yet, it feels like nothing at all. I've been in limbo for most of the month, just waiting. But when things started happening, it went FAST.

Brief recap: For years and years, I've wanted to live in Hokkaido. It's the northern-most island of Japan, the biggest prefecture but the least populated, and much colder than the rest of Japan. Which is perfect for an Alaskan. ;) So as I finished school in March, I decided that now was the time to finally go to Hokkaido. I've waited long enough. I started searching for job postings and found very little, but ended up applying to a national company that had some positions in Hokkaido. The job is as an Assistant Language Teacher, working in Japanese public schools.

Glossary:
Niigata: City where I lived until last December.
Nagoya: City close to where I went to school from January to March,
Sapporo: Where I'm living now, on the island of Hokkaido.

The past month, in a thousand words or less )

Now and the Future: I've spent this week taking care of business things (changing my address at the bank, registering at city hall, buying things like a toaster and dishes and a frying pan), and just trying to take a deep breath. Things have changed so fast, I find myself unable to deal with any of it. Here I am in Hokkaido, the fulfillment of a long-held dream. And yet I feel like nothing has changed. Just another apartment, just another job. I have to keep reminding myself that this is what I wanted, this is my goal, and it's going to be amazing.

Next week is a holiday week in Japan. Not sure if I'm going to go anywhere yet. I might just explore the city and try to get to know my surroundings. Then I start work on May 9th. Wish me luck.
bluealoe: (Default)
Okay, so people in the US always complaining about the Department of Motor Vehicles. It's always crowded, you have to wait forever, the employees are unhelpful, the bureaucracy is insane.
Well, let me tell you, no matter how bad it is, the Japanese DMV is about a hundred times worse. Today I spent FOUR HOURS at the Driver's License center, just to get an appointment to come back and take the driving test later. Oh, and the Driver's License center is a half-hour bus ride away, with only three buses a day. Oy veh.

Why am I taking the driving test? It's long and complicated, but basically I *might* be able to get the job I want, but only if I have a Japanese driver's license. So I'm trying to do that, and being cautiously optimistic about the job. More details later...I don't want to jinx it by talking too much about it now.

In the meantime, I'm still bouncing around the country, staying with friends and at hostels. Major kudos to [livejournal.com profile] queeninnarnia for letting me stay at her apartment, and for amusing me to no end with her randomness.

At the moment I'm in my old stomping grounds of Niigata. Not by choice, I have to take the driving test here. Otherwise I wouldn't have come back. It's not a bad city, it just holds too many associations for me to deal with right now. But at least I don't have to waste time figuring out how to get around a new city. I'm very familiar with this neighborhood.

More updates to come when I know what the hell I'm doing with my life. (Don't hold your breath.)
bluealoe: (Default)
So, of course, life never goes as planned. I HAD planned to stay in the dorm for a few days, cleaning and packing and getting ready to move out, then go up to Hokkaido and travel around for a few weeks.

Instead, tomorrow I'm going up to Niigata to tie up some loose ends (my old job just keeps haunting me!), then going to Tokyo on Tuesday for a job interview, then back here to finish packing. Then I'm going up to Nagoya to hang out for a few days while I wait to hear about the job interview. The trip to Hokkaido has been delayed, because a) if the job interview goes well, the position starts very soon, so I wouldn't have time to go to travel, and b) Getting to Hokkaido right now is not the easiest task. Hokkaido itself is fine, but getting there requires traveling through earthquake-affected areas, where most of the trains and ferries aren't running. I could take a plane, but that's ridiculously expensive.

So that's the plan right now. Still no place to live, and no idea what I'm doing next, and that terrifies me. But I keep telling myself it will all work out in the end.

I probably won't be online much in the next week, but I'll try to check in when I can. Just don't worry if you don't hear from me for a while. :)

Now it's off to plan a demo lesson for the job interview. *grumbles*
bluealoe: (Default)
Things I've Learned This Week:

1) I really really really really hate asking people for favors, or being indebted to anyone.

2) I'm astonishingly good at avoidance. However, ignoring a problem doesn't actually make it go away, much to my dismay.

3) Deciding priorities is hard. Not for things like "what's more important, your job or your family?", but for questions such as "which is more important in choosing a job: the location or the kind of work?"

4) I'm much more flexible than I used to be. When I was in college, I needed firm plans for every trip I took. Now I don't have a place to live after next week, and am planning to just travel around for a couple weeks. And it IS scary, but I'm willing to do it. My younger self would have been on the next plane home.

5) It is absolutely not worth it to get worked up and stressed out over tests. Whatever happens, happens.

6) My family and friends are awesome and supportive, but in the end, they can't make my decisions for me. As much as I would like them to.
bluealoe: (Default)
About ten minutes ago, there was another earthquake. When will the madness end?!?

I was sitting on my bed with my computer when things started to shake. I sat there for a few seconds, then when it didn't stop, I shut down the computer and started to wonder if I should get under my desk. Before I could make a decision, the shaking started to taper off. In total, it only lasted about thirty seconds. Everyone on my floor gathered in the hallway to check that everything was okay. No injuries, no damage. But still...this is insane!

I'm starting to get really frustrated with the news coverage of the nuclear reactor situation. Today at school we were told that there was an evacuation order for a 20 kilometer radius around the power plant; we're 675 kilometers away, so we're in no danger. Then I get online and according to every single newspaper, doomsday is imminent. The New York Times has changed its mind from "the amount of radiation being released isn't harmful" to "75 minutes of exposure will lead to acute radiation sickness". What's the truth of the situation? I have no idea.

This is frustrating as hell. Why can't we get reliable, unbiased information? Not downplaying the danger, nor sensationalizing it. Is that really so hard?

To judge from the media, everyone in Japan is panicking. But honestly, where I am, life continues as usual. People are talking about the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear reactor, and we're being urged to donate money and conserve electricity, but others than that, nothing much has changed.
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