Mar 11, 2012

One year on... 頑張れ、日本!

At 2.46pm one year ago, the fate of many changed in Japan.

The March 11 earthquake with a magnitude of M10 shook Tohoku, and also brought along the deadly tsunami and eventual meltdown in the Fukushima nuclear reactors.

One year ago, where were you? What were you doing?

As part of a memorial for the 3.11 Anniversary, the Japan Times started this call for contributions over twitter.

To share your experience, tag #311memory to your tweet.

I can still remember the day clearly. Then, I was still teaching in Hamamatsu. It was a quiet Friday afternoon at school. Suddenly I felt shakes. Tremors. The desks shook a little. I started to feel a bit nauseous. Teachers started to check their handphones (news) and many gathered in the pantry to watch the news on TV. Then, news was already reporting on the over 8m high tsunamis hitting shores and homes. Immediately, I called home, and told Mum I was alright. And I started to tweet and facebook my friends to assure them I am ok too. Very soon, the network became jammed up. No calls can go through. I could not send messages too.

But luckily for me, I had a sleepover at a friend's house then, so at least I did not spend my first earthquake night alone.

The really scary earthquake experience for me was the after-shock that originated from Shizuoka Prefecture, my prefecture, west to where I stay. That was at night around 10pm+, and my entire 30 year old apartment shook with all its contents with just a 3.5M earthquake. That was my first actual earthquake experience, alone, at night, and totally in panic mode.

But now in retrospective, it was quite comical experience. I was afraid, and desperate to have someone to talk to, to assure me that it's alright. But the network was down, and I could not reach my family. In addition, as I did not have a table at home, and the logical reaction was to duck under a table, thus the high-strung me started to tweet nonsensical posts like "I have no tables! What should I do?". :P That had led to quite some teasing by my friends, after that.

Reading back my past entries on the Tohoku quake, really brought back these memories. And one year has past...

Though I am now back in Singapore, my support for Japan's recovery does not end. 今も、日本を応援している。

Singapore can support via economic means. Like now, there is a huge campaign going on to encourage Singaporeans to visit Japan. Airfares are cut, having 1 for 1 tour promotions and also travel TV programmes reminding us that it's time to revisit Japan again.

I missed Japan a lot, and is still planning a visit. For now, I will continue to support Japan by buying Japanese products, and providing travel tips for friends who are visiting Japan :P If you need help in planning your trips, decipher the Japanese travel/ ryokan websites, let me know. :)


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