Tomorrow is three months to the day of the Great Tohoku Earthquake in Japan.
But it happened on a Friday, at 2:46 in the afternoon. I was shopping when the store began to shake. Earthquakes aren’t anything new, but this one seemed stronger and it didn’t stop. Store alarms came on ordering us to evacuate. I got through to my oldest son who told me he was under the table with his brothers. Outside everyone walked around dazed. The trains were stopped. I went to the bus stop, as it’s normally a ten minute ride home. The sidewalks had been pushed upward and lay broken with water pouring into the road. I got onto the first bus, determined to get home, though the bus driver kept announcing that he didn’t know how far he would be able to drive us. The second quake hit while I was on the bus. The bus swayed back and forth at an angle I was sure would topple it over. Some people screamed. Did I get off and walk home or try to get as far as I could on the bus? I decided to go a little farther. Traffic eased up and I went as far as the bus would take me. I half ran the rest of the way through muddy puddles and broken concrete. My kids were fine. They were outside with the neighbors. It’s a community and we watch out for each other. For several hours we waited outside as further quakes hit, wondering if it was safe to go inside our 7th floor apartment. I managed to mail my husband and after a few hours I received his reply that he was okay. He walked home from Tokyo. It took him four and a half hours. We lost water and gas for the next ten days and lived with the constant trembling as aftershocks hit daily and radiation fears grew.
Up north, the situation was far worse with tremendous loss of lives and homes. People there still live in shelters and are doing the best they can to pick up the pieces even now three months later. In Fukushima Prefecture, the nuclear plant’s meltdown has forced people to walk away from their homes and livelihoods. I heard recently that at a local Fukushima radio station, the number one requested song is “Jupiter” sung by Ayaka Hirahara.
“Jupiter” is an adaptation of English composer Gustav Holst’s The Planets, a seven movement orchestral suite. I understand it’s a difficult piece to adapt. Hirahara is a very popular Japanese singer with an amazing voice. One of the key lyrics in this song translates as “You are not alone.” The Japanese comments that follow this YouTube clip are testament to this feeling as they are an outpouring of support for the people of the Tohoku region. I hope you’ll take a moment to listen to this song.
You can see the youtube video on my blog http://www.gabriellahewitt.com/2011/06/10/an-eclectic-bag-for-your-entertainment/
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