– “Wouldn’t it be better if you could wait at least one year?”
– “Wait for what?”
– “To let things… get better. And avoid this radiations thing”
– “Sure, because radiations disappear in just one year? That’d be a pretty wonderful world”
– “Do whatever you want. I just warned you.”
– “Warned me with no idea of what you’re talking about. I’m going, alone. It’s my only chance”
It was March 11th 2011. Me and my father were discussing my future (now past) first trip to Japan while having dinner. With at least a dozen of friends behind telling me “Sure, I’ll join you!” and then leaving me alone as usual with the only dream I’ve ever had, I was angrier yet more convinced than ever to take the final step and face alone the first, real trip of my life.
But my rude words against my father, who said those things in an obvious (and normal, for a parent) state of anxiety, were hiding fear. The fear I saw in those images that morning on TV: Of homeless people searching for their loved ones, of a beautiful coast devastated by the Tsunami, of the fear of a way too dangerous nuclear plant, of the tears in the eyes of people that, no matter what, will never give up and will always rise up and shine brighter than before. I felt extremely bad, more than I could have ever expected. I cried alone in my room while watching news report videos on YouTube over and over again. I felt guilty, because I never reacted this way before or even cried when tragedies like this hit my country, and old piece of earth where a 5.0 magnitude is enough to destroy everything and kill an entire city. I was confused.
But then I realized that it makes no sense to feel guilty. You can’t control feelings, and what really matters is what your heart feels, not what it “should” feel. With the Tohoku Earthquake tragedy, I felt like my heart was hit on a soft spot. My Secret Garden, the Wonderland I dreamed for so long, was heavily hit by one of the worst natural disasters the human being ever faced, and I never felt so close to it like that day. I was afraid to lose it.
After many days of confusional news on TV and uncertain statements by the authorities, I realized that nothing on earth could ever destroy the only dream I used to have. Not the people making promises they will never respect. Not the Tsunami. Not the radiations, nor the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Nothing.
But there were also considerations to make. After all, you can’t completely ignore such a tragedy. Many friends and people close to me were asking if it was dangerous to go there. My answer was always the same: “I don’t know. I don’t care”. I used to read many discussion on the Internet between people supporting the idea that “Japan was forever lost and it was extremely dangerous” and those who were trying to give scientific explanations to prove the opposite. They looked like senseless wars to me, and I never took a side in these discussion. I read, but never wrote a single word. I’m totally ignorant in these kind of arguments, and I’m definitely the last person on earth that can take part in such a discussion or even reach to a conclusion.
But after all, I didn’t need to. Because I already had my simple answer. I drink alcohol, that may give me cirrhosis when I’m old. I smoke cigarettes, which are a cancer guarantee. For five years, there’s been an illegal warehouse containing hundreds of toxic substances just 100 metres away from my home. And now I should be worried to go to Japan? Give me a break. I’m not that hypocrite.
And so, on November 7th 2011 I took a plane for the first time and went to Japan alone, where I had the best experience of my life and collected the most beautiful memories I will ever remember until I’m alive. I won and realized my dream, the biggest satisfaction after a life full of delusions. I never felt so good before, not only for the trip itself, but also because with my vacation I gave a little contribute (exactly as any other tourist) to rebuild and make Japan shine brighter than before. And they appreciate it. For real. “We hope to see you again soon!” says a big sign at the Narita Airport, in the departure area. Reciprocal love.
There will never be another country in my life that deserves more love and passion than Japan. I love this country and I love this people, with their wonderful culture and beautiful controversies. And if this means taking a risk, I will show even more love.