Representations of Possibilities

In post-war Japan, Cecilia Chiang is trying to adjust to a new life.

I was on my way back one afternoon from buying some fish for dinner — fish was in no short supply and was the one thing I knew how to choose and cook. I stopped to observe a fire raging in a building not far from the Chinese Mission. It was a frightening scene, I stood, transfixed, along with a small crowd of onlookers, watching as firefighters were passing huge buckets of sand and water hand-to-hand to extinguish the flames. What amazed me, and I continued to think about for days, was that all the firefighters were women. There wasn’t a man among them.

Everywhere I went after that, I began to be aware of women directing traffic, climbing telephone poles to repair the wires, digging ditches, and framing houses. In post-war Tokyo, where women outnumbered men ten to one, they not only kept the city running, but were rebuilding it. Suddenly, I knew I needed to pull myself together and stop feeling so frightened and sorry for myself. If these women could be strong, so could I.

From her memoir/cookbook, The Seventh Daughter

And so for day 2660

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