Ganbatte - in simple terms means good luck, do your best, but to the Japanese the deeper implication is to exhaust yourself, persevere, keep fighting (with nuances of strong encouragement and respect for efforts made).
So despite the tragedy they celebrate spring and the beauty of Sakura blossoms, a sign of new beginnings.
The street dancers of Nakano still hang out and practice outside the Municipal buildings' reflective glass walls.
The local library still remains the refuge for the vast retired population. The sense of community living is well entrenched.
Meanwhile aftershocks are a continuous daily occurrence, several times a day. While shopping in Isetan Shinjuku, a rather large aftershock sent shop assistants selflessly herding shoppers to designated safe areas, corridors away from display glass shelves and we were asked to assume the crouch position. A hard hat would have afforded extra reassurance, but can you imagine going shopping armed with your umbrella, jacket and helmet!
We all take chances don't we? Tap water has been deemed safe for infants, but most are still buying mineral water which is now limited to 4 bottles per person. When you eat in a restaurant the water served is tap, so at some point there has to be trust.
Electricity cuts are real and clearly evident. Most escalators in train stations are switched off except for the deeper lines like Oedo Line. Elevators still work. Good workout for quads, hamstrings and glutes I say.
Alternate street lights are meticulously
switched off. Unnecessary lighting in shops and public ares are minimised.
I felt that the wait between trains was longer than usual. Train schedules have been revised.
But I must congratulate the service. They were up and running at 90% less than 24 hours after the earthquake. I know because my son managed to get home the next morning, albeit via a less direct route.
The human spirit is strong.
It has to be for the sake of the children. . .
. . . and love.