As you probably all heard, a terrible earthquake hit Japan a little bit more than a day before. For many years, Japan has been preparing for such an event, but this is something that caught some of them by surprise. At 2:46 in the afternoon, a 8.9 magnitude earthquake occurred just off the coast of Miyagi-ken. That, itself, caused a lot damage around the region. Japan has one of the toughest building standards in the world because of the frequent earthquakes that occur there, but this earthquake was one of the largest in record. If that weren’t enough, the earthquake produced a tsunami that reached up to 10 meters when it hit the coast of Sendai and the surround area. Japan is also prepared to deal with tsunamis with its extensive warning system, but the height of the tsunami, which hit soon after the earthquake, was up to four stories high, and in that area, not many building are that high. The tsunami also continued inland for several kilometers, carrying debris from the coast, which in some cases were burning.
Even though damage was extensive in the area and many people died, had this earthquake and tsunami occured anywhere else, the amount of dead would have been a lot higher. It was really sad watching and hearing what was going on there, but there was one thing that was great to see: the calmness of the Japanese people. Being that they are used to earthquakes, they did not panic. As I said before, they prepare for earthquakes all the time. They even have a day (September 1) dedicated for this preparation. On that day in 1923, a great earthquake devastated Tokyo and killed countless people. They use this day to drill people on what to do during a disaster and the number one thing they learn is not to panic. Panic only leads to more trouble.
Another thing that you could see is the resilience of the Japanese people. Sure the trains in Tokyo stopped; sure Tokyo was in gridlock, but did you see any chaos or any looting in Tokyo or any other affected area? Nope. In fact, they helped each other out; they shared and gave out food. The area closest to the epicenter was more chaotic, but they remained as calm as they could, considering that the whole area was devastated. I know some people are going will think otherwise and I know I might be criticized about what I will say, but I think that in any other country in a situation like this, a lot more people would have turned to looting and a lot more people would have just fended for themselves.
Now to my plans in the next several months. I’m not sure if I said it here, but I was planning to go to Japan in July. I was thinking about taking a tour of Tokyo for about a week (link here). Since the earthquake occurred, I have think a little more about the trip, but barring any larger catastrophe occurring in the next several months, I think I will still go. One think you should know about me is that I will rarely let anything get in my way of doing something I want to do; and going to Japan is something I wanted to do for a long time. I’m getting pretty old right now (yup, 23 is old) and I can’t keep on holding this trip any longer because there might be a time when I cannot make that trip any longer (well, at least to Akihabara). Tokyo sustained some damage, but I think that by July, Tokyo will be ready for me to arrive there. And also, I’m sure that the Japanese economy will need some help after this, so I’m taking my part in helping the Japanese people by going to Japan. I might not be able to go to the north and help them out, but the next best thing for me to do is being a tourist, injected some money back to the economy.
If you want to help out the Japanese people affected by the earthquake and tsunami, you can donate some money to a charity; for example, you can donate $10 to the Red Cross by texting REDCROSS to 90999. You can also help out the Japanese people by continuing to buy stuff from Japan. I hope for the best for Japan. 頑張れ日本！！！ファイト！！！