Two years ago today a terrible tragedy struck the people of Japan. A powerful earthquake struck at 2:46 PM, and a pair of massive tsunamis swept through huge swaths of the Northeastern prefectures, completely obliterating anything in their path and sweeping tens of thousands of humans and an untold number of animals out to sea. It was the single-worst event to hit Japan in over sixty years, and one of the strongest natural disasters to hit an industrialised nation in over a century. To mark the occasion I put together a page containing all of the Tweets I had sent from the moment the earthquake hit1 until the time I made it home over 24 hours later.
With the second anniversary of Japan's Great Tohoku Earthquake less than a week away I've been working out some ideas for how to mark the occasion. Two years is not a long time in the grand scheme of things, and people are still suffering from the events of that day. Many of us, however, have moved on and forged onwards in the endless cycle that is consumerist living. When I think back to that mid-March day, though, I'm reminded of the importance Twitter played for millions of people as well as the web service that my employer at the time had made available. A tool that I was ultimately responsible for keeping online.
Since the massive earthquake that wreaked incredible damage along the east coast of Japan in 2011 my nerves have been at a constant state of readiness for the next big quake. Moving from the Tokyo area to Nagoya helped a little, but not a lot as this area has been waiting for it's own devastating attack for five centuries. So when today's itty-bitty quake at 1:42 shook the ground beneath my feet two things instantly happened: I grabbed my phone, and I made my way towards a window.
Yesterday's TV programs were mostly dedicated to marking the first anniversary since the Great Tohoku Earthquake and, as expected, 99% of the information shared was sombre and depressing. We saw stories of people who had lost everything, as well as people who were trying to rebuild despite the incredible difficulties in collecting resources, funding, and manpower. The people of Japan are not ones to sit around when there's real work to be done, though, so some stories did focus on the people who were doing more than their fair share of the cleanup and reconstruction in the northern prefectures. As with any TV program, commercials were interspersed throughout the hour to pay the bills. That said, the TV commercials seemed a little off ... even by Japanese standards.
For the better part of a month I've been thinking about what to write for today's post. Should it be an incomplete memory of the day? Should it be about the following twelve months and how the family and I have tried to return to normalcy despite the immense amount of suffering people directly affected by the tsunami are feeling? Should it be just a picture and a quick word or two about how we should never underestimate the power of the Earth and it's ability to wipe out entire coastlines in the space of an hour? It's difficult to decide ... because none of these really appeal to me.