3/11 Quake: Living with Hope

Tomorrow will be the 4th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. March 11, 2:46pm.

This tragedy is never far from my mind. I think about the people who lost family and friends. Everyday, but especially March 11th, must be so painful. I can’t even begin to imagine what they’re feeling. There are still thousands of people classified ‘missing’. I read an article about a man who lost his entire family. His wife’s body was found many weeks later, but to this day he still goes back to the area in hopes of finding his young child. His perseverance is both inspiring and saddening.

I also think about all those families who have spent the past four years in confined temporary housing not knowing when they will be able to move on. How desperate they must be to get out of there and have their own permanent home again. Imagine your home being taken away from you without any warning… your clothes, treasured possessions, even pets!

And we keep seeing images of tons and tons of radioactive soil sitting in bags, and hundreds of tanks of radioactive water that has leaked from the power plant. That coastline seems to be turning into a radioactive debris storage ground. I think the situation is far from under control and often wonder how much is the government not telling us.

I think for the Tohoku region to get back on its feet, we need to support the local people. Go visit a few sightseeing spots or a hot spring, check out a local festival, or stay in a family-run ryokan. Talk to the locals and support their businesses. We’re all in this life together!

Celia in Tokyo

March 11 was my one-month anniversary of moving to Japan! I was thrilled to be following my dream of living in Japan, and excited for the adventures to come! I had been in Nagoya for a few ‘orientation’ days with my new company, and then had spent two weeks in training in Gunma. The final step was moving to my placement city. I’d moved to Koriyama, in Fukushima Prefecture, on the previous Monday, 11 days prior.

That day, Friday, I was scheduled to teach late-afternoon classes, but since I was still new to the job, I wanted to get there a few hours early to prepare and chill before the students arrived. It was about a 20-minute walk from Sukagawa Station to the classroom. Around half way, there was a busy main road and the only way to cross it was via an underground pass. I had entered the underpass…

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8 thoughts on “3/11 Quake: Living with Hope

  1. 4年前の3月11日、あの地震(じしん)と津波(つなみ)のニュースが報道(報道)されたとき、
    まるで映画をみているようで、あの恐(おそ)ろしい光景が 本物(ほんもの)であることが 信じられませんでした。
    原子力(げんしりょく)発電所(はつでんしょ)のまわりで 生活していた人々が 我が家にかえることができないで 
    いる様子(ようす)をみると とても つらく感じます。
    また ある小学校にいた子供たちと先生の多くが 裏山(うらやま)に逃げることができず 
    津波に飲み込まれてしまった悲惨(ひさん)な例(れい)は、とても痛(いた)ましいです。
    セリアさんは 今年、被災地(ひさいち)へ いってみますか。
    わたしも 郡山から さらに北上(ほくじょう)して 東北を見物してみたいです。
    被災地をおとずれるのは とても 勇気(ゆうき)がいると おもいます。
    あしたは 日本の人たちとともに 東北の復興(ふっこう)を いのります。

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    • そうですね。今年ぜひ東北にもう一度戻りたいです。夏休みに仙台の七夕祭りへ行って、被災地で何かしらのボランティア活動に参加しようと思っています。
      いつ来日するか決めましたか?? :-)

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  2. Celia, I found my way here because of a post on Uncle Spike’s blog. I was riveted by the story you wrote a year ago and your post today. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us that the aftermath still goes long after the cameras and reporters have left and the numbers tallied. I’m glad you made it through physically unscathed and admire your tenacity in moving forward, with eyes wide open.

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    • Hi Stacey, thank you for dropping by! Uncle Spike, he’s a good egg isn’t he :)

      That’s right – just because it’s not on the news everyday doesn’t mean it’s all over. They estimate the leaked radiation to be gone in around 30 years, so I’m sure the aftermath will continue for a long time yet.

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  3. Celia, having just returned to Australia from the Disaster Risk Reductin conference in Sendai, and attending an event in Rikuzentakata, I am confident the immense losses from 3.11 are not forgotten. I was most impressed by the extent of NPO involvement in continuing recovery activities and now also in preparation.

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    • Hi Tony, that is really great to hear! It’s hard to know what exactly is going on just from listening to the media – but no doubt there are many NPOs doing a lot of work. Was there much talk of the need for volunteers in any specific field/area? I want to head up there during the summer break if I can.
      Cheers.

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      • Celia, at the conference I was not taking particular notice of current volunteering activity. The best suggestion I can make for you is the Japan Coalition of Civil Society Organisation websites http://jcc2015.net/en/

        I am certain that volunteering activities are still occurring, particularly in the continuing recovery activities.

        The coalition organised the Civil Society programme at the conference. The website shows the list of participating organisations at the bottom, which I note includes some volunteering groups.

        I have also seen a couple of posts from JET/AJET groups in the north east that refer to volunteering.

        Liked by 1 person

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