Erica Yokoyama (Japan, UWC AC 2011-2013)
March 11th, this is the day I will never forget. One year has passed since Japan was hit by massive earthquake. 2:46 p.m. It was so shocking to see the photos of wall clocks which stopped moving exact this time. Magnitude 9, the fourth largest earthquake ever they started measuring. 15,854 people lost their precious life, and 3203 people are still missing. The damage of Tsunami was also tremendously huge, and 107748 houses were finally collapsed. I heard that economic impact reached 16-25 trillion yen, which is 30% of annual income in Japan.
I remember the day we had a Tohoku massive earthquake last year. I was in the school library and studying for final exam. Suddenly, the ground was shaken. I remember, last year, around March 11th, we had a lot of small earthquakes. However, that one happened at 14:46 was unusual. Books fell down from the shelf, and even ceiling came off. I witnessed the passage connecting 2 buildings slightly sprang up. Protection shutters dropped automatically, and actually I was shut in the library. I was so scared.
In Japan, we are living with too much rely on the technology. First of all, telecommunication was unreliable. When we tried calling parents, we couldn’t catch them because all the lines were busy. Also, everyone just tried accessing internet at the same time to get information, and Internet server became so crowded that we had no access at all. We had no idea to contact with people, because we had never thought about that kind of situation. I felt myself so powerless. In addition, we realized that we will not be able to live without electricity. We were so upset when the light went off. These days, in Japan, `house with only electric appliances’ became trendy. Actually some electric power companies promote this kind of house for energy efficiency. However, these shocking electricity shortages made me reconsider the threat of life without electricity. If electricity is not available, they won’t use any lifeline. They won’t be able to gain fire and even it will be impossible to flash toilet. The life without electricity was so inconvenient, but we realized that the life with only electricity can be really risky.
Now, what is the situation like? Actually, here at AC, I feel really difficult to get information about reconstruction in Japan. I still often hear that big earthquakes happen. Restoration will go through a lot of difficulty in the place still shaking. According to the article I just read, now 45,000 people moved to other areas. In that area which was hit by Tsunami and area which had a nuclear power plant, the population decreased a lot. People who lost their house said that they felt so sad to see their hometown in ruin. Also now 5000 people are now working for removal of radiation. Under such a hard environment, Japanese people bond stronger.
In conclusion, I have 2 things I would like to insist after experiencing Tohoku massive earthquake. Firstly, we should consider about possible problems we might have after any natural disasters. I always heard that flood happened everywhere especially in South Asia, and unusual climate such as hurricane deprives a lot from local’s people’s peaceful life. We had to think about what we can prepare for them domestically within each country. Secondly, it is also important thing to try hard without throwing hope away. I think we Japanese people must not forget about a lot of aids from abroad, and should try not to be like a victim all the time.
In the end, I would like to express my condolence for all people who were sacrificed by natural disasters and hope nation’s quick reconstruction.