Summer Trip to the Sanriku Coast

Ever since leaving Fukushima prefecture after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, I’ve wanted to go back and explore more of Tohoku and in some way support the local people.

I’d never been to the Sanriku Coast before the earthquake, so I’d never seen the villages that once lined the shores. Continue reading “Summer Trip to the Sanriku Coast”

A Hero from the Rubble

This is such a great story, I had to share it…

Yuzuru_Hanyu-Sochi_2014Image by David W. Carmichael


Japan’s newest hero is Yuzuru Hanyu: the first Japanese man to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics figure skating! He has won the hearts of many with his boyish charm and cute nature. Who will ever forget his “oh my god!” reaction to finding out his result?! My high school students idolize him. The girls talk about him with so much excitement, pride and what I call “love eyes”. Some of my students have already started putting his picture on their notebooks, alongside the One Direction boys!

Hanyu is a 19-year-old from Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture. On March 11, 2011, he had been at practice when the earthquake struck. The rink he trained at was damaged, as was his home, and he spent the days following the quake at an emergency shelter. Miyagi was the hardest hit, being the closest prefecture to the epicenter. Thousands lost their lives, and the ones who survived were left traumatized by the event. At one point, Hanyu even thought about giving up skating. But such is human nature; we don’t just want to survive, we want to succeed. The devastation of that day eventually turned into motivation to win. And in turn, his win has inspired a country. We hope the people of Tohoku especially, have been encouraged even just a little bit, and can be proud that their son has triumphed. Just goes to show, there are no excuses!

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