Housebound in Tokyo / 20 September 2014
My temperamentally clicking wheelchair has been whisked away and I sit frustrated watching the day pass by. It seemed like a good idea at the time - to get it properly checked out here by the maintenance guys at Yamaha.
But the sun shines, the river calls, Tokyo hums gentle enticement. My chair is promised back by 10.00 tomorrow, batteries fully charged and ready to roll.
Confined without my wheelchair, I need purpose to my day and I plan to draw.
The photographing of low-rise Tokyo dwellings has inspired sketches of some of them and opened up the possibility of exhibiting here if I can make finished drawings.
Opening my sketch pad, the sofa begins to shake, the building shudders and the TV starts angling its way out of the unit. For more than a minute a powerful earthquake disrupts Tokyo. Initial reports suggest a 4.5 magnitude, but I'm not sure how close.
The drawing begins to take shape and before lunch I check on the state of the earth; reports now suggest it was a 5.6 quake centred northeast of Tokyo, with reassurances of no expected tsunami, but recommended alertness for any powerful aftershocks. This district of Tokyo being reportedly more shaken than some others according to the twitter-sphere.
I wonder what it is like to have lived all of your life on this 'disabled' part of the globe. To have nowhere to escape to, at least in theory, when slow inevitability catches up and threatens your hopes and dreams.
The drawing goes quite well and I manage to manoeuvre myself onto the balcony to have lunch outside. Sunshine and Tokyo-fresh air - I just need to ignore Tokyo noise as the city, in constant renewal, is a perpetual building site. I also have to ignore the possibility of more quake, stuck out on the balcony might not be the best place to be. Fortunately any aftershocks are mild enough not to notice. I make good progress with the pen and ink.
Tweeting disdain for the chatter
surrounding the latest earthquake;
barely noticing shuddering
buildings, the effort, still tweeted;
the westerner attempts to match
Japanese calm, attempts without
the same level of knowledge, of
lifetime moment by moment fact,
like temporary disabled
people are suddenly experts
on wheelchairs, access and mental
health. But the gaijin has always
a way out, an alternative
to cultivating respect and