An Epic Disaster

Posted the day after the tsunami and earthquake in Tohoku Japan:

The chances of experiencing an epic disaster in one’s life- one so devastating that it probably shifted the earth’s access 23cm is probably rare. As a child, the mass media conditioned me to take the brunt of devastating news with solemness, but somewhat indifference. There has always been a separation between the event and me– thus the impact hasn’t been as alarming as this recent earthquake that struck me where I live in Japan.

The destruction is astronomical, and the pain of such a event is crippling. The earth quake with a magnitude of 8.8 (as reported by the Japanese media– 8.9 elsewhere) struck Friday March 11th just when elementary school kids were just leaving for the weekend. It’s graduation season here and elementary schools all around are doing “leaving ceremonies” around now, and graduation ceremonies next weekend– or they were planning to at least.

More broadly then that– Elementary School kids & 1st & 2nd grade Jr. High school students might not have a school to return to in tsunami struck coastal areas like Aomori, Iwate, and Miyagi. Additionally graduated Jr. High school & High School Seniors who graduated last week might not have a high school or college to go to in April either.

All that and it’s not over yet… Earthquakes of magnitudes 5 & 6+ still are rocking areas of Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, and likely Aomori. Aomori, especially where I am, feels most of the aftershocks from these earthquakes. Earthquakes also renew tsunami warnings and leaves all of us in a heighten state of alertness.

How this all will work out has yet to be seen. At the moment the Japanese Self Defense Force has moved in to survey the damage and rescue stranded people from roof tops and from under rubble. After that will probably be a massive clean up effort given that another massive earthquake or tsunami doesn’t strike another part of Japan.

I and others are actively looking for ways we can help on the ground since we’re hours away from the carnage. If we do get involved it will surely be in ways that are safe, and beneficial to the victims who have no homes at the moment.

Friends, ways you can help is to send out your prayers to the people who have lost everything and now call community centers and school gyms their temporary home. If God has blessed you and you want to give– give money. Japan is a very capable and developed country that already has resources like food & water, but for emergency services, families that need aid, or to launch volunteer efforts to recover from the loss it might take a little extra money.

I want to finish by thanking all of you for your heart felt concerns. I receive your messages and am thankful that I have such a broad network of friends who are concerned for my welfare. It shows a compassionate side to humanity that to me more valuable then anything.


Posted March 12, 2011 on