One Year: Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

Japan, Life

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Japan marked the one year anniversary of one of the most devastating natural disasters in recorded history.

At 14:46 on March 11, 2012, the nation came to a standstill as an one-minute moment of silence was observed. I also participated from the East Coast of Canada, at 00:46 of March 11, 2012 in marking this tragic anniversary.

As I have mentioned to some of my friends and twitter followers, my continued interest with the earthquake and tsunami roots from the fact that I experienced the Great Hanshin earthquake while I lived in Kaisai region. Though I was not in the hardest hit city of Kobe, the experience of Shindo 4 when I was merely 5 years old forever etches certain things into your mind.

In the aftermath, I spent three sleepless weeks as I followed every incident happening in my homeland. You have no idea how it feels to be so helpless as you watch your homeland face a crisis not unlike that of war.

I hope some of the people reading this will convey on the message from the Emperor, the Japanese people and supporters of Japan throughout the world, that:

I deeply thank the people of the world who gave tremendous support to the people of Japan in this time of need.

                                                                                                       – Emperor Akihito

Remember that life is precious but fragile. Enjoy the joys of living, because to borrow a famous quote, the day you wasted is a day that someone else wanted to live.

The 2011 Sendai Earthquake

Japan, News

As many of you may already know, a M9.0 earthquake has stuck Japan on March 11, 2011 at 2:46pm. A tsunami came 5~30min after the initial shaking.

I’m an expat that lived there for half my life. I’m Japanese in every way imaginable.

I have also lived through the Great Hanshin Earthquake, the largest modern earthquake that struck Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto and Nara on January 17, 1995. 6434 people died in that earthquake, measuring M7.9. My experiences mean that this earthquake is relevant to me in every way.

It’s just hard to imagine a quarter of my homeland be turned to nothing in the most horrific way imaginable. It’s utterly difficult and dreadful…

Granted, I lived in the Kansai region, in the west so I have no relatives in the Tohoku region. However, I do have friends and people I know there – including one in Sendai, one of the hardest hit areas. He is doing fine, alongside 20-odd other friends scattered around Tokyo, Yokohama and Saitama.

For me, twitter has been instrumental in collecting information, as well as Ustream. The TBS live broadcast is on Ustream – go look for it if you can understand Japanese. I am also reporting for the English community by translating TBS broadcast live.

The images and videos of shaking and the waves just brought me close to tears. Beneath that wave are potentially hundreds of people that never got a chance to run away in time. Among the tons of rubble are people that never was able to get away. It makes me feel utterly powerless just sitting here, on the other side of the Pacific. I want to do something. I want to join a rescue team and go back.

For now, I have donated to the Canadian Red Cross. If you care about Japan, please help in any way you can. There’s more to Japan than anime and manga. There are the lives of people that make them, the lives of people that support the nation. Just because Japan is a developed world, does not mean we don’t need assistance.

Thank you for reading this.