Posted by: 紺月明 | March 11, 2012

3/11/11

Hi Everyone,

One year ago today, the Tohoku region of Japan was struck by an earthquake and tsunami that left much devastation and caused several nuclear meltdowns.

VIDEO: Japanese hold candlelight ceremony to mark earthquake anniv…

At the time, I was four days shy from flying to the Kansai area to spend time with friends I had studied abroad with as an undergraduate student. My feelings at the time were a mix of dread, fear and worry for not only the many people I knew in the country, but what the people from the areas affected must have been feeling and going through. I knew no one directly from the area and saw the steady flow of messages from acquaintances and friends reassuring everyone back home that they were safe. It was very hard on me emotionally because of my connection and feelings concerning Japan and, at the time, I could think of nothing but going to the country regardless, even if only to help out with any efforts. However, only emergency responders and other trained individuals were allowed into the country and the U.S. Department of State warned against travel to Japan. The flight was cancelled and I was fully reimbursed for the cost but I still made my way there a little later, at the end of April for Golden Week. It was interesting to see many streets devoid of foreigners, the confusion of Japanese people wondering why I wasn’t scared and had such a strong desire to visit the country even after the disaster, and to reflect on the thoughts of friends and family who believed I was crazy for wanting to go to Japan when American and other foreign media were playing out the fear of radiation to a great extent. I showed everyone that, to me, it didn’t matter and that the information being disseminated was grossly incorrect. The sources I used were clearer and not meant to be fear-inducing. I still loved and continued to love Japan, and no earthquake or tsunami would scare me from going. Now, as I await to learn of the final decisions for programs that would allow me to return to Japan later this year, I remember the footage of devastation and hardship with a heavy heart but feel excited at the prospect of returning and a sense of fulfillment for going to where I’ve wanted to be the most all this time.

P.S. I will be working on the translation for the next chapter of Himegami soon. Expect a release within the week.

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