Last May, as we helped with a “Sports Day” event for children who’d lost everything in the tsunami, we were surprised to see a tall gaijin (foreigner) enter the school gym and then race across the towards the bathroom. The toilets were out of commission because there was no running water in the school, but since the man couldn’t read the sign in Japanese, he didn’t realize this. (If you should ever see this sign in Japan, do not use the toilet!)
I told my husband to run fast and catch him before he attempted to use the bathroom. Thankfully, he caught him just in time and we had enjoyed a nice chat with him later.
It turned out that this tall man, Daniel Reed, was a director for the BBC and HBO working on a documentary about children and the tsunami. (Since we have the same name in Japanese, I even gave him my name plate to use.) Well, his finished product is stunning: “Japan’s Children of the Tsunami.” I watched it with my husband last night and it was simply incredible. It’s quite unique because it is told from the perspective of young children. The kids are really articulate in sharing their feelings and thoughts, hopes and fears. We were deeply touched but it was almost unbearable to witness the suffering of the bereaved parents. For me, the hardest to watch were the scenes with Naomi’s quest to locate her daughter’s body as well as the emotional confrontation between the parents of children who perished and the school authorities who failed to lead their children to safety. Please watch this, even share it with friends, and pray for the children of Japan.