In response to the post about ‘my first earthquake‘, many of the readers recounted their experience during the March 11th earthquake (read the comments on the post). Actually I was already planning on posting about that quake at some point, so now is as good a time as any.
In Japan this quake is commonly referred to as the Tōhoku quake. As undoubtedly all of you know, it occurred on March 11th 2011 somewhere off the coast of Japan. It had a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale and is the most powerful earthquake to have ever hit Japan (according to Wikipedia). The main damage was however not caused by the quake itself but by the tsunami that followed in its wake.
The first few weeks after the quake, every news station in the world was on top of the story. But since then many foreign media, or in any case Belgian media, have ceased to report on the quake and it’s aftermath. I had the impression that because of this, the general public is also forgetting about the disaster that hit Japan. It was therefore touching to see that in the comments on ‘my first earthquake‘ , people’s thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan.
Of course the people of Japan are still living with the effects of this disaster every day. The Japanese news brings stories about the disaster every few days and the weather report has a special section for ‘the disaster-affected-area’. The rebuilding is going on as we speak and it will take at least several years for Japan to recover from this disaster.
When I first arrived in Japan, I was very impressed with the way Japanese people, including those outside the affected area, still hold the disaster in mind every day. When I talked to people about it, they became very solemn and spoke with great sorrow and compassion about what had happened. Japanese people have a quiet kind of bravery: everyone does what they can, even in places far away from the Tōhoku region (like not turning on the AC to save electricity). People try to stay positive without denying the reality of their situation. Is this a typical Japanese quality, perhaps for cultural and historical reasons? To face your situation wholeheartedly and accept it with all the good and bad that in encompasses? I hope I can find out as I get to know Japan and it’s people better.