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Essay from Kousuke: the Great East Japan Earthquake

The Great East Japan Earthquake

JAPANESE


On 11th March 2011, a wide area of eastern Japan was attacked by strong earthquakes.  The epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Sanriku and the shakes caused a chain of strong shakes. We were in the massive earthquake that remains in Japanese history, magnitude 9.0, maximum seismic intensity 7.

Earthquakes of seismic intensity 3 had happened several times a few days before the main shock occured. I did not care much usually because this level of earthquakes happened frequently compared with other regions. But now I thought back, it was the sign of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

On that day, I was at home in the afternoon after the school graduation ceremony. It was really nice weather and calm when it happened. First, it was just little shakes. I didn’t care much because I was used to them. But the sound like “GHOOOO” was getting bigger and bigger. I ran outside of the house instinctively. The shake became stronger as I expected. Cars and electric wires were shaking and shaking. I heard sounds of furniture falling down, dishes breaking into pieces, and many people were screaming. All the sounds were loud, and the fear lasted for a long time. The shakes in different strength lasted for two minutes. After the earthquakes, there was no space to place a foot in the house. Many neighbors were out of house and they were at a loss. We then started to run around the city to check if anyone needed help became trapping under the furniture or any kind of injury. It was terrible everywhere. However, the real fear was the byproduct of earthquake rather than the earthquake itself.

We were out of electricity and couldn’t watch TV so we got the information from the radio or car navigation system. Every channel talked about the Earthquake. The main news was the giant tsunami. The black muddy see water was looming to the land with foaming waves. The waves broke into the road and town beyond the breakwater. While the wide coast areas from Hokkaido to Chiba were affected by tsunami, the Miyagi Prefecture had the most damage. Houses were swept away or burst into frames. The night after the earthquake, it was nice weather and due to the black out, we could see many stars in the sky. The view of the sky healed my heart which was affected great deal after the disaster, but I was also feeing sadness at the same time.
 
The electricity came back after a few days. The daily life had come back to the certain extent when my mother took me to the greatly affected area as a volunteer. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” The phrase came to my mind when I saw the reality in my eyes although I had heard and seen the devastation on the radio or TV. In the town facing the sea, only the foundation of a house remained in place or only the skeleton of a building was exposed. The town which might have been crowded up until a few days ago had gone without leaving any sign of that. The Tsunami scar left us something very deep

I joint a volunteer based on the Ishinomaki Senshu University and saw a lot of damaged houses. Because of the flood, many people dwelled on the second floor. I thought the situation of the residents must be very tough and hard but when we cleaned up together, they always said to me “Thank you, it’s really helpful” many times. And they gave me the energy drink from their scarce supply. The people who lived in the affected area were, unlike what had been broadcasted on TV, much stronger and forward-looking than even us. I realized that there is a power to advance and endure even in the headwind. Also, I learned people were so kind when I saw people participating as a volunteer from Hokkaido, or even Mmiyagi prefecture which was affected by disaster etc. I think I saw the Japanese unique humanity called “ninjyo” which is hard to find in other countries. Also I believe that Japanese people can go to hand in hand whatever may happen in the future. This is strength of Japanese people.

After the earthquake, I witnessed the power to reconstruction and human connection by many affected people. I met volunteer people from the Osaka area, and they said “Many people helped us when the Awaji Earthquake occurred. So we will help back this time!” Many Japanese people came to help the affected people because they were helped in the past. I hope this “helping chain” will expand and more and more in the future.


1st October, 2013
Osaki, Miyagi prefecture
Kousuke
日本・スイス国交樹立150 周年記念ロゴフランス語

※ The "Bring Tohoku Kids to Swiss Camps!" Project received the endorsement as part of the 150 Years anniversary events as well as the general endorsement from the Japanese Embassy of Switzerland.

http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/reps/asia/vjpn/embjpn/anchjp.html (English)
http://www.ch.emb-japan.go.jp/anniversary2014/index.html(German)

The image is the Logo for the 150 Years Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Switzerland and Japan. (Japanese and French text)
 
 

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