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moon in the water Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-26-2010 10:46 PM
the water does not try
to reflect the moon
and the moon has no desire
to be reflected
but when the clouds clear
there is the moon in the water
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 155
Comments: 1,111
Views: 1,949,061


In General time stopped Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #105 New 03-09-2012 03:04 AM
time stopped
earth quake time by John Mettraux used with his very kind permission

I wrote this essay a year ago after the earthquake and tsunami hit Tohoku. Everyone in Japan has been affected directly or indirectly. I know people whose houses were destroyed or seriously damaged. I have met refugees from Fukushima who might never, ever, be able to go home. And nuclear power does not look so clean and cheap when you factor in the costs of a meltdown.

mother calls but we don't hear
there's lots more things to do
it's only 5 o'clock and we're not tired yet
but we will be
very shortly

David Bowie, There is a happy land

There is a happy land far, far away

traditional hymn from the movie The Proposition, arranged by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis

At 2.46 p.m. on Friday, 3 March 2011 an earthquake hit the coast of northern Japan. Time stopped. There are 20,000 dead and missing.

It was at 5.46 a.m. on Tuesday, 17 January 1995 that an earthquake hit Kobe. More than 6,000 people died.

There's something about 46 minutes past the hour.

I glance at the clock.

When I was a boy we played with conkers. Conkers are smooth polished horse chestnuts. We bored holes through them with metal skewers and threaded them with string. Then we duelled, taking swings at other conkers. Eventually one conker would shatter and the one left was the winner. A strong conker could battle on for days or weeks.

We played with marbles too. Marbles are colourful glass balls. You flicked your thumb across your forefinger to shoot them along the ground at other marbles. They were beautiful. Clear glass marbles with oxblood centres. Milky white marbles streaked with blue. Flick. And the chink of the glass.

A common children's toy in Japan is the kendama. You throw a small wooden ball on a string up to catch it in a cup or to impale it on the wooden handle. It's like ring-and-pin or cup-and-ball or balero or boliche. In Japanese the ken in kendama can be sword or fist. Wood clacks rhythmically on wood.

Another traditional toy that is still popular in Japan is the beigoma. It's a small metal spinning top. There is only one maker left in Japan. You wrap it with string and hurl it spinning onto a fighting surface. All the tops spin and spin. When they touch one will fly off. The one left at the end is the winner.

All these games have something hitting something else. Percussion. And noise. There is a satisfying noise. Children hear noises differently. They love sounds. Tapping feet. Drumming fingers.

When the earthquake hit on 11 March there was shaking but there was also noise. Like a strong wind was blowing. Like a strong typhoon. It went on and on. Then silence.

There was a story on the BBC about a nine-year-old boy who lost all his family members in the tsunami. Of course he didn't have photos to help find them. Or identify them. So he drew pictures.

2.46. Time stopped. Play stopped.

I glance at the clock.


There is a happy land by David Bowie

There is a happy land, hymn by Andrew Young to a tune arranged by Leonard P Breedlove
arranged by Nick cave and Warren Ellis for the movie The Proposition

This essay was originally published in a charity e-book put together by some writers and photographers to raise money for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku on 11 March 2011. It costs $9.99.

Aqui la traducción en español

Hier die Deutsche Übersetzung

my home page with a mirror of these blog posts plus posts not related to martial arts: mooninthewater.net/aikido

I wrote a series of blog posts describing life in Japan after the earthquake starting here.

© niall matthews 2012
Views: 3989 | Comments: 7

RSS Feed 7 Responses to "time stopped"
#7 03-16-2012 07:59 PM
niall Says:
Following on from the last comment about the pause for silent prayer and reflection at 2.46, people all over Japan stopped what they were doing at 2.46. Even trains stopped.
#6 03-11-2012 10:08 AM
niall Says:
I'd like to add more thing. Today was the one year anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake. I was in a dojo in the afternoon. At 2.46 an announcement came over the loudspeakers asking everyone to pause for a minute's silence and prayer.
#5 03-11-2012 08:44 AM
niall Says:
(continued) In Blade Runner the replicants were given memories. And in another Philip K Dick story (and movie) so were humans. Thanks for your comment about time too. I'll write more about time soon. Niall
#4 03-11-2012 08:39 AM
niall Says:
Thank you Francis. The memories of the British toys developed from a discussion I had with Peter Goldsbury about an earlier article. Yes, memories and time. You are right - both are very important for humans. But we still have to live to have memories. In Japanese they say "make memories". That's an interesting concept. In a way it is like simultaneously being aware of the future and of the past at the moment you are experiencing something.
#3 03-11-2012 08:21 AM
niall Says:
Thanks Billy. Helping that family to return to Japan must have given you a new and interesting perspective. Being an optimist is good. I think. Speaking as one myself. Cheers, Niall
#2 03-10-2012 10:58 AM
aikishihan Says:
Hi Niall. Another gem, thanks. Time never stops. It is our capacity as humans to isolate points in time past, indelibly fixing such moments forever in our consciousness, whether for positive or negative effect. Your added reminders of how time does inexorably "tick tock" on, that balances the mood, and our future.
#1 03-10-2012 12:21 AM
Makochan Says:
Hi Niall, I like this thoughtful blog. Through my work in August '12, I assisted a Japanese tsunami refugee family to return to Japan, lovely people. Interestingly, the eldest son was an Aikido shodan, trained in Iran. I invited him to come and train with us, to prepare a doji and hakama for him and for the family to dine with us. Unfortunately they declined; I think it was a bit too much. You know me, ever the optimist. Best, Billy

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