Yesterday our good friend Hide came by unannounced with his fiance. They were excited to confirm that their wedding will be next March 3rd and we need to keep the date open – we wouldn’t miss it!
But we think the real reason he came by was to talk with Eric about his experiences up in Tohoku. Hide (and his brother and dad, in fact) is a police officer in Osaka. The day after the earthquake, he was in an entourage of police cars and rescue vehicles that drove up the twelve hours with sirens blasting to be part of rescue work immediately after. He spent a week, and has since been up three times for a week since then.
His mom, our former mail delivery lady, had come by the night before and heard about Eric’s three trips up north as well. Hide and Kumi came by and he was so happy to have someone who understood what he has experienced. He said he comes home and it is as if the earthquake and tsunami never happened; no one talks about it, life goes on as normal. But for him, it is not normal.
The day after the tsunami he and his fellow officers were sent out to look for survivors, as well as bodies. He said it was like the worst war movie you could imagine. He would find a car on its side, with a whole family inside who had tried to escape the oncoming water but could not. Only official police/rescue workers were allowed to do body recoveries, and so many of Hide’s days were like this.
He shared how they are all expected to be strong – that there is a mentality among all the workers that if they talk about what is hard that it shows weakness. so it’s not normal or ok to process what they have seen. There are no counselors or discussions on PTSD. Yet there are are many many like Hide who week after week are still assigned to look for bodies. When Hide goes back up at the end of this month, he expects that will continue to be his job… He said that even if they can only find hair samples now, the family members are extremely grateful.
Hide shared for quite awhile, sitting on our couch. We’re thankful that we were somehow a “safe” place where he could share. We are thankful for the various “kokoro no care” – counseling teams at work in Japan, and pray for more. We’re excited about three Christian professionals hoping to come to do counseling from Hawaii and hope we can put them to use. Keep praying for the people of Japan. There are many who are acting like this tragedy never happened; but so many who it has affected who need healing, care, and a Savior.