KOBE EARTHQUAKE PART 3: One foreigner speaks out (kinda) My letter got into the HOKKAIDO SHINBUN (original Japanese article here in jpeg), in spirit, at least. My thoughts appeared in a column entitled "Mado" (window) in the Evening Edition on Jan 25. I told you last transmission how putting things into Japanese blunted my points. Now after the editorial knives filleted away at the rest, here's how it turned out for all to see. All meaning Hokkaido (Doushin is the largest regional paper in Japan, but it is rarely seen outside this island). In translation: "If this doesn't turn out to be some occasion for the Japanese to be misunderstood, well, good, but..." University instructor David Aldwinckle, aged 30, of Sapporo, while watching the reports on the Hanshin Earthquake [don't know official translation] , expressed a bit of worry. Mr A. is corresponding with his friends in California by email, but right from the start of the reports of the quake, rising voices started questioning the Japanese response, saying things like "Why weren't they just taking foreign aid nicely (sunao)?", "Shouldn't lifesaving take precedence over pretence (tatemae)?" Those ideas are the same as Mr A's. "Even though plenty of countries are saying they'll come help, refusing with an, 'Oh, that's not necessary' is a big insult to them. If only they'd acted faster they'd have been able to help out more." he says with anger he can barely restrain (fun man yaru kata nai). [With the article there's a big pen-and-ink rendering of an angry foreigner, with blond hair and a lantern jaw, balling his fists in fury. Not made from a photo-reference, I assure you] Also, at the time of the California Quake one year ago, specialists here said, "Japanese expressways are absolutely safe." However this time the roads here fell over as if fragile. And then he was surprised when the specialists claimed things like, "They met standards of 30 years ago." Mr A. is currently trying to participate in volunteer efforts. "It's not necessary to think of borders in times of trouble" says he, with the American Spirit. Article ends. My writing's been a bit blanched, I might say. But, as my wife points out, it's better than being ignored. True. Better news is the ECONOMIST letter. I got FAX responses back from the Tokyo Bureau as well as London. There seems to be a strong chance my letter will get printed there too, so check the letters page in upcoming issues, if you would. Let's see how much gets in this time. Thanks for reading. Dave Aldwinckle, Sapporo, Japan