Boy at Writing Desk. Japan, Edo Period (1615–1868). Netsuke; ivory. Transfer from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Mr. Ney Wolfskill, B81Y93.
We recently received the following letter from Mike Thompson, a friend of the museum who is teaching English near Tokyo. He has given us permission to share it. The letter speaks to the rebuilding that must occur within the heart after a major tragedy such as Japan has experienced.
I would like to update you on the situation in Japan. The radiation danger is still present, but our lives have returned to something approaching normal. My friend Tom Gally has a web site where he has been culling the Japanese news outlets and translating them into English for his family and friends, and he said I could give out his link. His sources are better than mine, and he has links to other web sites with earthquake / tsunami / nuclear recovery information. His page has his daily routine for his family members to read, but also general information about post-disaster Tokyo that might be interesting (I met Tom in the student dormitory at UCSB many years ago, and now he teaches at the University of Tokyo):
Along with milk and spinach, now add cauliflower, broccoli, most leafy green vegetables and tap water to the radioactive contamination list! Bottled water is being rationed and distributed to families with infants. Nobody really knows how far the fallout from the Fukushima reactors will spread, or how long this will go on. The news can be depressing. Some workers have been hospitalized for radiation sickness. As the death toll climbs, individual stories are coming up in discussions with friends and colleagues—A 24-year-old American woman who was a schoolteacher in Fukushima drowned. A bus with kindergarten children was caught in the tsunami and the children died, but the bus driver was swept onto the roof of a two-story building and lived. But then there is this—a grandmother and her grandson were rescued from the wreckage of their house nine days after the earthquake. And we are hearing about babies that were miraculously born in the midst of the deluge and survived.