In Loving Memory of those we lost and in continuing support of the Japanese people. Never forget 03/11/2011.
If you had asked me 3 years and 1 day ago how a disaster 7,000 miles away would affect me, I would have never believed it would alter my life… that all changed 3 years ago today.
On March 11, 2011, northeastern Japan was devastated by a massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent 133 foot tsunami at its highest. Although Japan is the most prepared country for an event like this, the death toll was staggering, almost 16,000 were confirmed dead and nearly 3,000 remain missing to this day. Hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless and the country was brought to her knees. And in one final blow, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which had been damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, burst, releasing radiation into the air and water. Japan was now down, but she would not give up, the people of Japan bend in the face of disaster, but they do not break. Although Japan is physically and emotionally scarred from this historic event, over the last 3 years, the nation has risen one step at a time and will one day be standing proudly again.
Although I am inspired by the resilience of the Japanese people, and filled with pride seeing the courage, bravery and humility they displayed, I witnessed my family in Japan get torn apart and I will never forget that. My life took a drastic turn after this day, I can’t blame it all, or even most of it on this disaster, but it was the beginning of what will hopefully be my darkest days. But drawing inspiration from the Japanese people, I overcame my hardships and continue fighting my way back to this day. I learned so much from them and even though the Arai family, my family, is no longer with us, I push forward in their memory knowing that the only way I can be held down is with my own permission or my final breath. Life is hard, there are tragedies, there are stresses, there is heartbreak and there is death, but life goes on after all of these, whether it be for the individual or for us all, life goes on.
To the people of Japan, I will forever look on in admiration as you continue to recover, hopefully one day I can be a part of such an incredible effort. Although several years have passed, and there is still work to be done, I have no doubt it will get done. Thank you for inspiring me and the world.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: RESEARCH BEFORE YOU REPOST!
This is a map of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami generated off the coast of Japan on March 11, 2011 - 3 years ago this month. This map shows the maximum height of the tsunami in centimetres radiating outwards from the epicentre of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake. How do I know this? Because this map was issued by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) following the tsunami and I personally used it in 2011 to cover the tsunami’s aftermath and report the news.
However, thanks to fear mongers and attention seekers, and people who believe what they read online… No offense, this map is going around on facebook, tumblr and other websites as a map supposedly showing radiation leaking from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan which was crippled in the tsunami. Now, was radiation released from the plant in alarming numbers? Yes. Was it spread? Yes. But the levels reported in the US are not alarming, they are minimal and it does not pose a danger to the US anymore. This map and many others being spread around the internet have nothing to do with the nuclear disaster, people are taking advantage of your lack of knowledge to spread fear.
This map shows wave height, not radiation, look at the map key on the side… radiation is not measured in centimetres, it is measured in Becquerel (Bq) or curie (Ci). Plus, most radiation was released into the air, it would follow wind currents not ocean depths like a tsunami.
This is just like people spreading lies about politics or celebrities - you cannot believe everything you hear on the “news” or read online, you have to do your own, independent research. The disaster in Japan was and still is very serious especially for those who were personally affected by it, people need to know the truth about what is happening not be mislead, misguided or flat out lied to, especially with the painful anniversary just a week and change away. Please do not spread false information - look things up, ask experts, check sources, yes it takes up more time but it is very important and you will gain knowledge which is a priceless reward for your curiosity.
I want to start off by saying good morning to all of my friends here in the United States, but I must admit, my heart is once again with my friends in Japan after yesterday’s large, 7.3 magnitude earthquake off the east coast of Honshu. Fortunately, there was no major damage from this quake and the tsunami generated by this quake was less than one metre, so no damage occurred from it, but anytime a major earthquake strikes this region, or tsunami alerts go out for this area, it brings back the painful memories of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami which destroyed so much and changed Japan forever. Thankfully, Japan avoided another disaster, and will return to life as normal with yet another reminder of how fragile life is and how powerful Mother Nature is.
In other news, I would like to wish a very “Happy Birthday” to former First Lady, former Secretary of State, and future Madam President Hillary Clinton.
I hope you all have a fantastic weekend, be safe, be kind and do good.
To me, seeing the Japanese people come together in their darkest hour and save each other, showed me that humanity still existed. That day has also inspired me to make a difference in the world around me before I leave. May all of those lost on this tragic day R.I.P. and for those who push on, you are in my heart and thoughts. I love you all.