Friday, March 11, 2016

The Other Fifth Anniversary

Today is the fifth anniversary of the Great Tohuku Earthquake. I suppose it will always be linked in my mind with our wedding anniversary. We didn't even know it had happened until over a day later because we were on our honeymoon. I still remember arriving in the Miami Airport and seeing the news. We were stunned. At the time we wondered if that would be the end of our Japan dreams. Would John's job offer still exist? And even if it did, we wondered in the early days how safe it would be to live here.

If you've been following my blog that long (and oh how silly and embarrassing my blog is from back in those days) you know we did come out for the summer just three months later. The city was working furiously to conserve electricity, there were aftershocks all the time, and everyone was shell shocked. A little more than a year after that we moved out here permanently. Some of the freshest wounds had healed, but the country was still reeling.

Now, five years later, having lived here for more than three myself, I don't have any idea how to speak to the tragedy and recovery Japan is going through. In some ways things seem back to normal, and in others the devastation seems just as raw and immediate. There's a lot of criticism of the recovery efforts, there is still a great deal of confusion and anger over whether or not Japan should use nuclear power, there are still people living in temporary housing five years later. My heart aches for the loss and the suffering that has been and continues to be experienced. And at the same time I am so thankful that we were still able come to this beautiful country. 

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