Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Japanniversary (日本強い滞在), Part One

Although I arrived here on the 6th of March last year, I didn't actually notice a full year had passed until yesterday. The sudden realization that the earth had completed a full rotation around the sun while I've been on this crazy little island sparked some introspection, so here it is;

Last year, on this day, Japan experienced one of the most severe natural disasters in history. The earthquake, and subsequent super-tsunami of 03-11-2011 took over 20,000 lives and devastated tens of millions of people. The nuclear meltdown in Fukushima that followed caused an immeasurable amount of anguish and panic for months to follow. There are thousands of people still living near that area with their pasts destroyed and their futures questionable. My heart goes out to those that have lost loved ones, as well as those who are still dealing with the current situation in Miyagi Prefecture. I looked back at my blog post from that day and noticed that I had severely downplayed the amount of discomfort I was feeling at that time. Please know that I do not take any of those events lightly- my reflex in stressful situations is to make light of them.

I have to say that I am incredibly happy I stayed put and didn't abandon ship. I could have just turned around and gone home, but I didn't. That decision was partially inspired by the actions of the Japanese people. I have incredible amounts of respect for the strength and resilience they displayed. This country has truly demonstrated the definition of Nationalism. I think of how a country like America or Canada would have reacted to such a terrifying situation, and I applaud your amazingness.

Living here has been a life-altering experience. Living here through everything that has happened in the past year has changed my fundamental outlook. I will never forget.

Thank you Japan for showing me one of the most amazing experiences of my life.


Stay strong. And of course, stay amazing.

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