looking back at japan’s earthquake & tsunami disaster ~ one year later   6 comments

March 6, 2012:  One year ago this month, on March 11, 2011, Japan was hit by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that triggered a deadly 23-foot tsunami in the country’s north. The giant waves deluged cities and rural areas alike, sweeping away cars, homes, buildings, a train, and boats, leaving a path of death and devastation in its wake.  According to the official toll, the disasters left 15,839 dead and 3,647 missing.

As a result of the earthquake, cooling systems in one of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in the Fukushima prefecture on the east coast of Japan failed shortly after the earthquake, causing a nuclear crisis.

I had just visited Kyoto, well south of the tsunami, in February 2011, just one month prior.  In March, during the time of the disaster, I had left Korea for good and was traveling in India.

I had fallen in love with the country and its people.  My heart went out to Japan, a culture that values order and cleanliness, as they had to recover from a disaster of such proportions.  A sad time for a lovely culture.

Peace be with you, Japan, on the one year anniversary of this horrible disaster.

Posted March 6, 2012 by catbird in japan in Earthquake, Japan, Kyoto, Tsunami

6 responses to “looking back at japan’s earthquake & tsunami disaster ~ one year later

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  1. I always consider Japan as my second home, where I spent six golden years of my life with my wife and kids. They also miss Japan, sabishi desu ne (feeling lonely – literally). Kyoto received only few lighter shocks but the area we lived at the distance of 160 km from the center of earthquake, it was horrible situation. After two hours of that great 9.1 shock, another stronger one shook the ground, and cars in parking lots were shaking greatly. Then another one of the same intensity hit the area after two hours. That triggered that series of shocks, six aftershocks of magnitude 7, 102 aftershocks of magnitude 6, and 671 of magnitude 5 occurred in a year (Jap. Metereological Agency). We spent two nights of extreme cold less than zero degree centigrade, in our car in the parking lot, when all the hostels were empty and only we, the staff were left on the Campus. Car tank also became empty when we used car heater, two consecutive nights.
    Kids schools also went off for a week because of fear of radioactive contamination in food, water, soil etc. Even we could not find a single pack of milk on shelves. In normal days, no one would see shortage of anything in Japan.
    I salute Japanese nation, they remained calm, brave, and managed everything, one cannot even imagine in that worst situation. They helped each other and never asked anyone to give or donate them a single penny or food. There were no reports of looting houses or car thefts.
    I left Japan after a year of that earthquake, we then moved to New Zealand. Funny part, I left one shaking country and entered into another shaking country :D. Christchurch earthquake was passed just few months ago of Japan Earthquake. Interesting, one can note the continuous shaking of Auckland region :).
    Japan has also great system of early warning of Earthquake, TV, radio, mobile all ways of communications start alarm 20 seconds before shock arrives, and then slowly and gradually, the earth swings like the pendulum and then it speeds up. Our TV remained switched on all the day and night. and finally we became sick of that specific sound of early warning. Tin-Tin-Tin-Tin, and whenever our bed even slightly trembled, we always woke up and looked the hanging bulbs, they always were indicators of earthquake for us. But kinds always enjoyed shocks on bed, and they sometimes laughed out loudly :D.

    Syed Abdullah Gilani
    • Wow, I can’t believe that you lived through all of those earthquakes in those conditions! Especially sleeping in the car in sub-zero temperatures. I’m sure you’re right; I can’t imagine there would be any looting or car thefts in Japan; the Japanese are so proud and honorable they wouldn’t do such a thing. Neither would the Koreans.

      What a great story of your experience, Syed. You need to write your own blog! I’m sure after 6 years in Japan and then your time in New Zealand, you have plenty of stories to tell and pictures to share!

      • Many thanks for your great supportive comments, in fact I got inspired from your blog to start blogs :). I wrote something about my driving test, here it is http://sagilani.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/the-story-of-japanese-driving-test/
        I would love to listen your comments over it (though several grammatical mistakes are there 🙂 ).
        Today, I visited your office around 10:30 but you were in meeting. Hope to see you next week, whenever the time is convenient for you.
        regards

        Syed Abdullah Gilani
      • I’m glad I inspired you to start blogging, Syed. I had fun reading about your experience taking a driving test in Japan. I made a comment on your post about it. Good job! It’s a very cute and funny story.

        I’m sorry I wasn’t at work at all today because I had to see a doctor in Muscat. I have been sick on and off for about two months (since I returned from Nepal) and hoped he could give me some answers.

        I should be in next week, so feel free to stop by! You can always email me to see if I’m in my office before coming over.

        See you soon! And keep blogging!

  2. Many thanks for the complements. I pray for your speedy recovery from the sickness and wish for your long life with good health, happiness and prosperity.
    I would visit your office, doesn’t take time to come from 32-25 or sometimes, from 3A-6 where I take classes with bio students:).

    Syed Abdullah Gilani

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