March 11, 2011: three years on

Charity Japan BBQ

Today is March 11, 2014, three years since the 2011 Touhoku earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that devastated Japan. The most powerful known earthquake to have hit Japan, the tsunami it triggered cause nuclear accidents that in turn triggered world-wide debate of the safety of nuclear power plants, and was the costliest natural disaster in world history.

What made it more unique though, was the endless positivity of those that endured these hardships in Japan, as the country extended open arms to devastated Japanese households. Communities wandered shores and searched the ocean for survivors and even to just give parents that sense of closure. Mangaka and celebrities worldwide drew and recorded (respectfully) messages of encouragement — がんばって、日本!日本,加油!

How unfortunate it was today that my manager chose to employ the word ‘tsunami’ in an article.

When all hell broke loose

I won’t recap any more, but it was one of those events where you remember where you were the moment you heard the announcement; just as people remember where they were and what they did the day John F. Kennedy was shot, and how the days that followed shaped them.

I remember I was riding on an express to Central to university that morning when I heard the news. I was sitting in one of the single seats just within the doors of an express train, ie. not upstairs and not downstairs. As usual, I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline, catching up when I first noticed the news of the reported earthquake in Japan.

I retweeted it, but it was evident as I continue to read that this was something serious. I began to follow the hashtag and retweet all the news I thought was important, and relevant. Japan was a country not my own, but one I had come to love and I was worried about those that lived there even if they were simply strangers.

Charity Japan BBQ

In the days that followed, fundraisers sprung up around the globe, Tumblr posts with and for information were created and reblogged by many to speed up the gathering of relief funds as well as in the search for information. Anime@UTS even collaborated with several other clubs including EGG, JASS, Red Cross, United Nations and Photography (Exposure) clubs at UTS to bring the Japan Fundraising BBQ on April 15.

Three years on, we remember those days and although much work has been done these past few years to recover from that incident, I think it is one we will remember for a long time to come because of its great worldwide impact. But not only that, it is also remembered because of the Japanese people’s attitudes and the way they were so openhearted, there were no stories of looting we are accustomed to. The Japanese today are surely a unique and amazing race that we could all hope to learn from.