"My feelings could not be lifted but sunk down": Dispatches from Japan on the anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake


9 Responses to “"My feelings could not be lifted but sunk down": Dispatches from Japan on the anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake”

  1. WXWAX says:

    That’s very moving. I hope someone with the Corps’ PR finds this. 

  2. workin says:

    real, thanks.

    This was message from family in Fukushima received 1 year ago:

    my family is dead in Japan:
    “so sorry,I can’t reply you.we have many trouble…my funny grandma house were swept away.and, funny grandma, aunt and uncle died because of TSUNAMI. do you remember baseball boy? his father Masaru also died.very bad time.the biggest problem is nuclear plant.they explode three times. my family run away from my house. I don’t have any ideas to solve this crisis.”These were all lovely, kind people who took care of me. Funny grandma handmade my coat (hanten). She would laugh and joke with me. She was a dancer and seamstress. ♥

  3. Thanks Maggie, this was comforting to read.  I’ve been to Oshima island – it’s the traditional place for JET program participants living in Miyagi to spend a weekend long goodbye party at the end of the contracted year.  After the tsunami, a friend of mine wrote on Facebook, “Oshima is gone, all we have left is the memories.” I figured with this comment that the tsunami had taken everyone and everything from Oshima, so it was lovely to read that some people had survived and are even thriving there.  The Japanese are very resilient.

    By the way, from about :20-1:00 in the Telegraph video you linked to,  the big blue building in the rear is the Kesennuma Rias Shark Museum.  You can see it below in better days, it was quite a cool place.  There was also a fish market attached to it.  A few days after the quake, my wife idly wondered if the tsunami had affected the shark museum.  Coincidentally, that evening I saw this video and sadly it answered her question.

  4. Oh and FYI the video was not taken in Kesennuma Oshima but Kesennuma City proper, on the mainland.  Oshima is an almost completely rural island.

  5. benher says:

    Thank you for sharing this.
    I was stirred by the story of a farmer whose family had raised cattle in Fukushima for generations. He hung himself in his own bar. He wrote on the wall in chalk: “If only there had not been a nuclear plant here…”I feel that his words took up residence in my mind not because they were not by nature anti-nuclear, but because they highlight that there is no clear “enemy.” Nobody to beat with your fists. No way to bring back the lives that were lost. 
    “If only there had not been a tsunami”
    “If only TEPCO had acted responsibly”
    “If only the politicians had used money more wisely”

    “If only… If only…”

    The people of Tohoku have such a struggle ahead of them. Besides the catastrophic loss of life, the survivors have lost their way of life. Who will buy produce and meat from a prefecture  blanketed in Cesium?… and yet the Tokyo government has responded so coldly to these people who in a sad sense now find themselves abandoned by their leaders. 

    A whole year has passed since then – almost to the day. 
    But the people of Tohoku still need love and support more than ever.

  6. Bob N Johnson says:

    The enormity of this disaster had not reached me until this evening when I heard an announcement that almost 20,000 people were dead or missing.

    From Wikipedia:

    It was the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900.[11][13][14] The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40.5 metres (133 ft) in Miyako in Tōhoku’s Iwate Prefecture,[15][16] and which, in the Sendai area, travelled up to 10 km (6 mi) inland.[17] The earthquake moved Honshu 2.4 m (8 ft) east and shifted the Earth on its axis by estimates of between 10 cm (4 in) and 25 cm (10 in).[18][19][20]

    Honshu the largest island of Japan and the seventh largest island in the world was literally moved 8 feet.

  7. awjt says:

    It was a very sad loss that day.  I remember well the anxiety it produced all the way over the oceans in these other countries.  I cannot even begin to imagine what it was like right there where the Shinsai happened.

  8. hostile_17 says:


    Oh go on, tell us!

  9. Analog Kid says:

    “sunk down”  Get it?  Oh, man, that’s classic Japanese comedy.  I don’t care who you are, that’s funny stuff.  The guy is probably “drowning” his sorrows in saki.  Wow.  I did it again.


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