Sunday, March 11, 2012

Remembering 3/11/11

One year ago today, I was about to step onto the subway when an alarm sounded.  I followed those around me who were running out of the station.  It felt like I was on a boat; I couldn't walk very easily as the ground was swaying below me.  I had experienced an earthquake before, so I was not very concerned.  I assumed it would end within seconds.  When I got out to the street level and saw the buildings swaying back and forth, I started to get alarmed...Then as the earthquake continued and those around me were crying and clearly scared, I really started to panic.

I realized very quickly how scary it can be to not understand what is being announced over a loudspeaker.  I knew there was an earthquake occurring, but when someone near me said, "Tsunami"...I cannot even explain the fear that I experienced.  One man told me, "Go to high ground", but he just stood there holding his little dog.  I had no idea which way was to high ground and when I tried to ask him, it was clear he didn't have the English to tell me and I didn't understand Japanese.  I tried following the subway line to get to my hotel.  This was very challenging and along the way I stopped with a group of people who were looking at a TV inside a store window.  It was showing the tsunami.  I asked one lady, "Is that here?"  She shook her head yes.  I had a chat with God that afternoon as I was fairly certain I was going to die.

Obviously, I did not die, but was definitely traumatized.  However, I developed a whole new level of respect for the people of Japan.  In the midst of a crisis, they continued to be helpful, polite, and respectful.  I had already found this country to be a wonderful place, but what I encountered that day and the following days was just amazing.  Even though I will always remember the fear of that day...what stands out more to me now is the people and the culture.


  1. Well, this blog entry answers most of the questions I had about your time in Japan last year! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sure, thanks for stopping by. I had a lot of other wonderful experiences while there last year, but this one was the most memorable by far.