I attended the Auckland International Cultural Festival at the Mt Roskill War Memorial Park on Sunday 27th March. Despite the terrible weather the event was very well attended with people of all ethnicity. Even better was that the performances were also filled with different ethnicities; not just the type of performances, but within the teams.
After I’ve finished MC-ing at the stage, I went over to the New Zealand Japan Society of Auckland and met a girl called Rika Tsuchida. She was living in Saitama and have been in New Zealand for 2 weeks. She left Japan pn the 12th March, just after the earthquake on the 11th. She was collecting donations at the Festival and was giving out a sheet of her story.
“I have experienced the earthquale.” she wrote. “At the time, I was at home with my mother. The whole house shook and it was strong enough to topple the TV and the book shelf. The two of us had to support them. The shake was stronger and longer than the ones I have ever experienced. Immediately after I turned on the TV and tried to find out about the situation.”
“Everyone in my family was safe but my second borther’s work was close to the epicentre and lost two of his colleagues.” she continued. “It happened while he was working. Although he hid under the desk, the 30cm concrete ceiling fell to the floor and had to escape through the window. My brother said ‘the thing I am alive now was a miracle.”
“I was alone sent away from Japan in its most confused time. In a bad way, I ran away from teh most dangerous place… leaving my family and friends behind.. [....] In this situation, I am here in such a free and safe country. Do you consider yourself lucky? I don’t think so. I am rather annoyed at myself being safe. I think I should return as soon as possible to share their pain. I experienced this first hand so I know how terrifying the earthquake was. In spite of that, I can not do anything and I can not share the fear with Japanese people so I feel my helpless everytime.” she conclude with her story. “Please help Japanese people”.
When people heard her story everyone offered to help. I think there is a unspoken bond there. With what happened in Christchurch and what happeend in Tokyo, we both shared a massive earthquake (though New Zelanad’s not as strong as Japan). Her story resonnate with everyone who have experienced sudden trauma in their life.
When someone in another part of the world suffers, we suffers as well. This is how closely connected countries are now – totally global citizens.
For everyone who wanted to donate money to the Christchurch or Japanese earthquake visit http://www.redcross.org.nz and instructions on how to donate is available online.
Kia Kaha Otautahi! (Be Stong Christchurch!) 頑張れ日本！(Hang in there Japan!)