This is an important day: this is a sacred day. Nine years ago today, on March 11, 2011, thousands of lives were lost in one of the largest disasters to hit Japan, the Great East Japan Earthquake, also known as 3/11.
It was Friday and the time was 2:46 pm and suddenly our room began to sway. It was a motion and feeling I had never experienced before in all my forty years of life. I looked up at our school dean and she looked back and me and said, “I think we are having an earthquake.” We jumped from our seats to get everyone out of the building. When we returned not long after we turned on the tv and watched the tsunami come ashore and lives washed away. Days later the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima melted down.
I was living in Karuizawa on a three months teaching assignment. My birthday was just three days earlier and there were only about three weeks left in our school semester. It was my dream to live in Japan. But that day was unlike any other day in my life. A day I will never forget like millions of Japanese and foreign residents of Japan. That was the day a very special bound was formed between Japan and me.
The days were felled with sorry, stress, anxiety, grief and uncertainty. But one thing I was certain of that I belonged in Japan and that Japan would have a special place in my life and my heart forever. And for that I am grateful. I will never forget that day and I will always remember Japan’s pain, sorry, and loss. Below are photos from Sendai one year after the disaster.