And now for the other point. Today happens to be March 11th, the first anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake in northern Japan (or, the Tohoku area). This time last year I was sitting in a hotel in Portland waiting to go to the Japanese consulate to pick up my work visa. Just a bit of an odd coincidence. My mother and I were glued to the hotel TV and internet wondering if I would have a job to go to at all, or if I would even be able to.
Then we immediately worried about our own home. We are from Port Orford, the westernmost point in the contiguous 48. We were bound to be smacked by tsunamis the next day. Which we were. About 11 of them. (We were even on CNN the next morning. We sat in the hotel lobby going "omggggg" and watching in horror as...nothing happened. Ha.)
Since last April I've been living here in Gifu Prefecture, which is in central (Chubu) Japan. It was largely unaffected by the earthquake and tsunamis up north, but Japan is a very monolithic culture and what affects one part of Japan is felt all across the country. As a foreigner I will never be able to understand the magnanimity of what happened to Japanese people here. But as I sat and listened to the announcement of a moment of silence at 2:46 today, I thought about all of the people still living in squalor shelters in Fukushima. American media did a bang-up job scaring the whole damn world about radiation, but nobody bats an eyelash here. Our main concern are the survivors still stuck in temporary shelters, many of whom have no privacy, very little space to hold their minute belongings, and no idea of where and how they'll be another year from now. If you have it in your heart and ability to do so, please donate to a cause, such as the Red Cross.
We have had many earthquakes since I've been here, but since I'm from San Andreas Land, it's nothing new to me. But it's changed here. Even the smallest shake has all our parents calling and the media assuring everyone things are fine. But I wish the western media would leave that alone. Please focus on the people who still need help. All the scare mongering helps nobody. (Choir. Preaching to it.)
I'll wrap this post up with a video from a band that made an interesting take on survival in Tohoku. Those not prepared may find a tear in their eyes. (The title translates to "Let's Meet Here Again".)