Life goes on…

I think it’s true to say that most people in the unaffected areas of Japan are feeling a little bit strange about carrying on their lives after the huge disaster in the north-east of Japan. Today, I had long-standing plans for a “sayonara lunch” with a close friend from Nagoya. She planned to come to Hamamatsu to see me. Yesterday I contacted her to check she was still able to come and was happy to find that she was.  🙂 We enjoyed a lovely day of chatting, eating, and wandering around the Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments. Of course, we talked about the earthquake and tsunami a lot, but we also enjoyed catching up with each other and eating some delicious food…

Ogura with Matcha Cake

We were reminded of the disaster as we walked by the station, where donations of both money and blood were being asked for.

Asking for earthquake aid donations

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Asking for blood donations

I feel like I want to do something useful to help, but for now all I can realistically do is donate (although apparently I’m not allowed to donate blood), and continue enjoying my life. One thing this has all made me think more than anything is that life is short. Whole villages can be lost in the blink of an eye. So, more than ever, I want to enjoy my time in Japan and see and do as much as I can. Now is the time for those of us who were not affected directly to send our thoughts and prayers (or money and blood, as you wish), and then make the most of living.

So, as I said, my friend and I went to the Museum of Musical Instruments today. You might remember that I went there before, last summer, with my mum. So, this time, I didn’t take too many pictures. I couldn’t help taking a few though…

First we happened to catch a demonstration of a “player piano” in action:

I don’t think I’ve ever seen one playing before, and it was quite fascinating.

Probably my absolute favourite part of the whole museum is the “koto” (a traditional Japanese instrument) which we are allowed to play. Even the slightest touch produces this distinctly Japanese sound, which I am enchanted by!

Koto

Another favourite in the museum is this awesome Indonesian instrument:

Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments, 13th March 2011

It’s so colourful and quite amazing to look at.

The most entertaining aspect of the museum is the “play room” where you can bang and pluck on selected instruments to your heart’s content.

Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments, 13th March 2011

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Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments, 13th March 2011

These hand bells required about the right level of musical talent for me… 😉

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Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments, 13th March 2011

If you happen to be in Hamamatsu, the Museum of Musical Instruments is definitely worth checking out. The entrance fee is only ï¿¥400, and it’s just a five minute walk from the station (exit the station by the north exit, turn right and walk straight to Act City (the big brownish-orange building with a tower that is supposed to be a harmonica), then follow Act City along and you will see signs in English pointing to the museum. It’s straight ahead, on your left.)

Well, that’s it for me tonight. I have to finish the last of my packing before I go to bed. All being well, my boxes are supposed to be being collected by the shipping company tomorrow. However, the company is based in Yokohama, where I know there has been some damage and they are having scheduled blackouts to conserve power tomorrow (in some areas supplied by TEPCO, which includes parts of Tokyo and Yokohama), so I have no idea if the company will be operating, and whether or not they will be able to pick up my shipment. Of course I don’t mind at all if my shipping is delayed because of all of this – so long as they can pick up the boxes and put them somewhere safe for me!  I don’t like to comment on such a trivial thing at a time like this, but I really will be screwed if my shipping plans go up the creek! (>_<) If anyone is concerned about whether or not they will be experiencing a blackout tomorrow, please check the link above, or this English link which is being updated by the wonderful people over at YokosoNews as I write.

7 thoughts on “Life goes on…

  1. Yeah, it really is weird to resume semi-normal life when you know that utter chaos is ensuing close by. Seems like people are still on edge here in the Tokyo area–most of us have been staying at home due to worries about the nuclear power plants or getting stranded in the event of another disaster. We’re mostly fine but not quite far enough away from the epicenter of things to relax just yet. And then there will be the rolling blackouts, etc. I’m just glad that the aftershocks seem to have calmed down a bit.

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  2. Hello! I stumbled upon your blog before but haven’t been following, so I didn’t realize you are also living in Hamamatsu! I am feeling the same way – it is strange to be at work, returning to daily life, while northern Japan deals with the aftermath of the quake and tsunami. It is nice to hear that you and your friend could meet as planned. I have to keep reminding myself to stay positive and not glued to the news because it can be mentally exhausting. Thank you for the remider!

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      • Yup! I arrived here a little over 7 months ago, back in August. How are you doing? Thanks for posting up the info on earthquake preparedness. It’s been a bit of a hassle putting together our own emergency kit here.. supplies are low, and, if you check my blog you’ll see there are panicked people even in this city buying out what few supplies are left.

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