I’ll go to Japan to help, if anyone will have me
It’s amazing what five months can do.
About that long ago, soon after this Fukushima blog began, someone sent me a message in Japanese. It said, “Come [to Japan] and see things for yourself.”
Why was I blogging about Fukushima and its effects on Japan when I was outside Japan — specifically, in Seoul, South Korea? Maybe I should be in Japan, seeing things firsthand and doing what I could to help sufferers from the meltdowns.
After my work in Seoul ended last month, I left Korea and flew to Southeast Asia to investigate opportunities for work there as an English-language expert — writer, editor, publicist, and teacher.
Some possible jonbs have turned up. But that note from Japan keeps coming to mind and making me think.
1. In September, I’ll be 60. My life is nearly over. Do I really want to spend the rest of it scribbling for money? Maybe my final years should count for something more important.
2. Could I really put down roots in Southeast Asia? This is not to speak ill of that beautiful region, but Northeast Asia was my home for 17 years and keeps calling me back, radioactive though it be.
3. Twenty-five years ago, while I was still in the US, my ambition was to work in Japan someday. Now, maybe it’s time.
In this time of crisis, Japan must have some niche for an English-language expert with more than 20 published books, including one on a Yahoo bestseller list in 2002, plus articles in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, High Technology, and a long list of other publications.
Somehow, a journalist’s skills might help Japanese seeking help for sufferers from Fukushima’s effects. Moreover, I’m willing do whatever else a foreigner on the spot can do to help sick and irradiated people.
Do I understand the risk? Yes.
You see, fallout is reaching Korea. The Koreans say little about it, but they know it’s there.
I know too, because last year after 3/11, I started showing symptoms consistent with radiation exposure, from body aches and eye inflammation to lethargy and a bitter, metallic taste in the mouth.
The symptoms diminished after I arrived in Southeast Asia. But I’ve probably soaked up so much radiation already that a few microsieverts more per day won’t make much difference … especially at my age.
So, here I am, ready and willing, for whatever my help may be worth.
Can anyone in Japan use me in this time of crisis?
I don’t ask much: just a place to stay, a living wage, and the means to get insulin and a few other medications.
Please contact me at email firstname.lastname@example.org, Skype David.Ritchie952, or Twitter @dwrseoul2.
And please spread this post as widely as you can. Doing so may accomplish more than you imagine.
Thanks, every one of you.
David Ritchie posts, for now, from Southeast Asia. Contact information, again: email email@example.com, Skype David.Ritchie952, Twitter @dwrseoul2.