Boo-hoo-hoo Fukushima Diary, Part 11

Fear of the abnormal becoming normal

One sunny day as I was walking beside a park, I passed a mother with her children. The children were full of energy and skipping along, paying no attention to their mother’s admonitions.

The children veered off to the right and started to go into the park, where there were tall weeds. Their mother said, “Don’t go in there. The radiation level is high.” She said it in a normal tone of voice just as she might have said, “Stop! The light is red.” It was surprisingly normal.

As I travel around talking about Fukushima, I always think: The perceptions of those of us living in Fukushima, such as wondering where the radiation level is high and how each person responds to that, are, for the most part, not getting across to others.

The other day, in the car my daughter said normally, “The grass is thick over there, and the radiation level is high.” She said it in a normal tone just as she might say, “Hand me a tissue.”

I am terribly worried about radiation contamination. And I have an inexpressible dread of radiation contamination becoming just a matter of course.

(Originally published on November 13, 2012)