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20 Years ago in Kobe, Japan

17 Jan

Today is 2015 January 17th…the 20th anniversary of the huge 1995 January 17th earthquake in 神戸 (Kobe), Japan.

I’ve experienced many earthquakes since I came to Japan in 1990…but only two that were big enough to destroy a city:
the 1995 Jan 17th Kobe Earthquake, and
the 2011 Mar 11th Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami.

Memorial ceremony in Kobe for victims of the 1995 Jan 17th earthquake. (Photo © Getty Images)

I never want to experience such a massive natural disaster ever again!

Three year anniversary of 3-11-11

11 Mar

Today is 2014 March 14th. It’s already been three years since the huge earthquake and tsunami tragedy that hit Sendai.

I wrote a post on that day (Click here to read it) about four hours after it happened. That earthquake did damage down here in Tokyo…but nothing like what the Tohoku area suffered.

I also wrote a post about a month after the earthquake (Click here to read it) about some of the things the earthquake survivors treasure.

Today, for the tragedy’s third anniversary, the Japan Times newspaper is showing some of the hardest hit areas and the survivors three years after (Click here to see it).

A mother and her daughter attend a candle-lighting event held Sunday to commemorate the third anniversary of the March 11 tsunami and earthquake in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, one of the worst-hit areas. | (photo from: KYODO | caption: Japan Times)

10-year-old letter arrives from daughter lost to tsunami

5 Mar

The three-year anniversary of the tragic 2011 March 11th earthquake and tsunami is in six days.
One couple who lost their daughter on that day recently received a letter she had written to them in 2004.

SoraNews24

110315-N-2653B-144 ‘I wonder if you’ll have a grandchild when you get this letter?’   These are the words written by a woman 10 years ago, before she lost her life in the March 2011 tsunami. Her mother and father were shocked to find the letter containing them arrive in the mail this January. While there was no Hollywood movie ending where their beloved daughter turned up alive and well, the letter has at least given them a chance to hear some of the things she never had the chance to tell them in life.

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Second anniversary

11 Mar

Today (2013 March 11) is the second anniversary of the biggest earthquake in Japan’s history and also one of the world’s top ten biggest.

The “2011 Tohoku-Region Pacific Earthquake” occurred at about 2:45PM on 2011 March 11th…two years ago today.

quake

The terrible tsunami that did more damage than the earthquake that caused it.

It shook buildings, including my house, even done here in Tokyo very strongly! It was an experience that I hope never happens again.
On the day of the earthquake, I wrote a post…click here to read it.

At 2:46PM today, all over Japan people will have a minute of silence to remember those who suffered and those who died in that tragedy.
In Tokyo, the Emperor and Empress of Japan will attend a ceremony to remember the victims.

One year later…

11 Mar

Today is 2012 March 11.  One year since the Great Sendai Earthquake.

Of course, ceremonies to commemorate the tragedy and remember the victims will be held around Japan today.

I found a video on YouTube made in November 2011, eight months after the earthquake and tsunami.
It shows scenes during the tragedy that give you an idea of how frightening it must have been.
And the video also mentions Taylor Anderson, who was an American English teacher at an elementary school in the Miyagi area. She helped save a number of school children from the tsunami but she herself, unfortunately, died in the disaster.
Some of her former students can be seen talking about her.

The video also mentions the aid workers who came to Japan from around the world and it shows how grateful the people in the Tohoku area are to them.

It’s a very emotional and touching video. I recommend watching it.
Watch it and tell me your reaction / feeling in the comment section of this post.

Here’s the video:

Anniversary of one tragedy and another around the world

11 Sep

Today is the tenth anniversary of the 2001 September 11th terrorist attacks in America.
No one will ever forget the two jumbo jets that were crashed into the World Trade Center towers and brought them down. It was a shocking and tragic event.
2,753 innocent people were killed in the attack on New York City.

But less often mentioned are the other two planes of the September 11th attacks.
American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and crashed into The Pentagon in Washington DC, killing 184 innocent people.
And United Airlines Flight 93 was also hijacked and most likely headed for another high-profile crowded target to be crashed into. But this flight was different. The hijackers of United 93 had their cowardly plan foiled by the heroic passengers and crew of that flight!
The passengers and crew of that plane called their loved ones on the ground and told them that they understood what had to be done…and then they overtook the terrorists and forced the plane to crash into an empty field rather than another building.
Tragically, 40 innocent people lost their lives from that flight…but if it wasn’t for their selfless actions, the death toll most likely would have been much higher.

Memorial to the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93

Some of the phone calls weren’t disconnected and a telephone operator heard the voice of one of the passengers named Tom Beamer as he led the revolt against the terrorists with rallying cry to his fellow passengers of “Are you ready? OK, let’s roll!

Shortly after the events of 2001 September 11th, the American heavy metal band “L.A. Guns” recorded a song about the heroes of United Flight 93.

The song is titled “OK, Let’s Roll!”.  Here are the lyrics:

United Airlines Flight 93
Left 8:01 from Gate 17
Victims of a war they never knew existed
Hell looked them in the eyes and still they resisted

Lost brave souls, your courage we remember
Sacrificed your lives that September
We still hear your battle cry
Are you ready? Okay, let’s roll
Are you ready? Okay, let’s roll

So began the massacre at twenty thousand feet
Red devils lead the charge and pulled the captain from his seat
They watched them cut and slash at anyone left standing
We knew deep in our hearts this plane would not be landing

Never once were they ever in control
Lives were lost, but they never took a soul
We still hear your battle cry
Are you ready? Okay, let’s roll
Are you ready? Okay, let’s roll

Skies of Pennsylvania became a battle ground
Two hundred miles away, the towers had come down
One last chance to say goodbye, he called her on his phone
Said he knew what must be done, “I am not coming home.”

Are you ready? Okay, let’s roll

–“OK, Let’s Roll” by L.A. Guns

You can listen to it here:


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Today is also the six-month anniversary of the 2011 March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tohoku area of Japan.

There are still many people there living in evacuation shelters. And, just like the 2001 September 11 attacks, there are many heart-breaking stories of people who lost their loved ones. And there are stories of courage and people helping each other.

Both the events ten years ago in America and six months ago in northern Japan were terrible and shocking.  I hope we never have to see such tragedies ever again.

I want to be a wave

16 Aug

A Japanese singer / songwriter named 「花坂美里」 (Misato Hanasaka), who goes by the stage name “misato“, is from Iwate, Japan…which is an area that was hit by the 2011 March 11 tsunami.

She heard a news report about a four-year-old boy whose mother died in the tsunami. The boy, named 「及川律くん」 (Ritsu Oikawa), knew that his mother was washed away in a wave but he’s too young to really understand. He said 「波になって会いたいな。」 (“I want to become a wave so I can be with (mother)“).

Ritsu Oikawa (4), right, and his younger brother Ei (3). (photo from Mainichi News)

The boys’ father told them that their mother is now the most beautiful star in the sky and they can see her up there. (This is commonly told to children in Japan if they lose a loved one).

When misato heard about the boy’s story it make a strong emotional impact on her so she decided to write a song for the boy.

Her song is titled 「波になりたい」 (“I Want To Become A Wave“).

The song is in Japanese but it says such things as: “Hey Mama, please hold me again and we can look down on the street from up in the sky”, and “I want to see mama again. I want to become a wave and carry you home. I want to become a wave and then see mama again!”

Here’s the song on YouTube: