Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Tales from Japan: A Trembling 2012

At 12:28 local time a magnitude 7.0 earthquake shook from Tokyo all the way to the top of Honshu (mainland Japan) on New Year's Day 2012

The New Year in Japan is a time to be with family, relatives, and friends. It is a time to slow down and go back to the place of your roots. Some adventurous spirits will even endure the freezing winter weather and northern wind to witness the first sunrise of the new year.  It is a time for social gatherings of friends to celebrate new chances and new opportunities. A time to refresh before going back to the daily grind.
But in the midst of this very sacred and jovial holiday time the earth shook with great force as a Magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the southern ocean below Tokyo. Though occurring at a depth of 370km, it vehemently shook the entire mainland of Japan.
I spoke with some of the people who felt it and they said they thought 3/11 was happening all over again.

It seems as though major damage was avoided since the quake only managed to reach a level 4 on the Japanese earthquake scale, but it hit a sensitive spot for many, bringing to mind the dreadful aftermath that many will still have to endure in 201: from radiation contamination, to the rebuilding of towns, villages and local economies, to the fear of even more devastating Tokai Earthquake. Japanese certainly are embracing 2012 with mixed emotions, praying for a better future. 

Traditionally the first of the year is a time for Japanese to visit shrines to pray for a blessing or receive a blessing from a shinto priest or purchase a variety of good luck charms.  Many pay vast sums of money to buy a sense of security, yet the truth and reality of a hard 2012 for Japan will no doubt still linger.

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