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  • Eliza Chan

One Year On…

A year ago today a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Tohoku in Japan, killing nearly 16,000 people and leaving over 330,000 people to this day homeless.

Sympathy, shock and support have been expressed across the word by every means possible: twitter books, photos, videos, art  and short stories.

There’s nothing really more for me to add other than my personal thoughts. Japan gave me lifelong friendship despite language barriers, apples from local farmers, fishing and BBQing by the sea, beer festivals, kimono wearing, sticker booths, frothy tea, squid on a stick and countless other memories.

Japanese people never complained. If they got brought the wrong order at a restaurant, they would just eat it. If someone cut in line, they tolerated it. If they got reprimanded at work or split up with their partner, they would quietly keep it to themselves. They don’t like to worry other people or cause a fuss. It’s a polite attitude ingrained into the way they are brought up and in many ways it’s respectful. But it also means they don’t like asking for help.

One year on and there is still rubbish in the streets. The before and after pictures just show how far Japan still has to go. And when we consider this is a highly advanced country, can we help but wonder how the cleanup went in Haiti, or other places.

Some of us may change our FB statuses today, but that doesn’t start the water running in someone’s house or clear the rubble from their drive. Do more, for Japan and generally for victims of natural disasters.

It’s Not Just Mud– a grassroots foreign volunteer-led clean-up group working in Ishinomaki

Japanese Red Cross

DEC– Disaster Emergency Committee

#Tohoku #oneyearon #itsnotjustmud #redcross #anniversary #tsunami #japan #cleanup #earthquake

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