Remembering 3-11

By Katie:

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami began on March 11, 2011 with almost 22,000 deaths. I believe that to preserve the event and to honor what had happened, we should have a moment of silence and learn what happened on March 11, just like on September 11 when the twin towers had fallen. We should also be more supportive and caring to the victims of the earthquake/tsunami. I was thinking that we can integrate at least learning a bit of Japanese to honor the Japanese victims and I feel that others should be aware of what happened. It is really heartbreaking to see that Japanese victims are still recovering from an event nine years ago. Even after watching 10 mins of the film that Eshita-sensei and Sally showed us, I was pretty shocked by the impact of the tsunami and was disappointed in myself for not being aware of the effect the tsunami had on residents.

By Jazmin:

The Great East Japan Earthquake was a tragedy. I can’t imagine the loss of those lives who were swept from the tsunami in Northern Japan. An earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0, gives me goosebumps even thinking about it. In order to remember this tragic event, I think by more people being aware and or learning about this tragic event is one way to honor what happened there. There are others who don’t know anything about the 3/11 Great Earthquake. Another way we can remember this event is to visit areas that were affected by the tsunami, and help those in need. There are still people who haven’t fully recovered from the Earthquake. We can visit people in those areas and we can hear their stories. It’s one way we can connect with them, and can resonate with them one way or another. When I watched a clip while the tsunami was happening online, I saw people running to higher grounds. Those who ran faster were missed by the tsunami by mere seconds. The tsunami ran about 6 miles inland, and caused an accident at the Fukushima Nuclear power plant as well. It’s sad and heartbreaking that over 18,000 people died. I hope in the future, there are ways we can avoid this tragic event from repeating itself and doing things differently to prevent it from happening again.

By Theo:

I’ve been thinking about the events of March 11, 2011 for a while now and how I, as both a student and an American can honor the loss of so many people. I confess, I still haven’t found a satisfying conclusion, but for now I am content in submitting my philosophical ramblings for a wider audience.

I believe it’s honestly rather hard to sympathize with someone an ocean away, and harder still to empathize with them. Understanding can come easy; loss is, after all, something everyone experiences multiple times throughout their life and that shared experience breeds a shared understanding. Empathy, however, requires one to take the extra step and to share the same feelings as another person. Of course, emotion being so nuanced it is impossible to truly understand and to truly feel the depths to which an individual experiences loss and as such, we only feel empathy in a broad sense. In my experience, this vague form of empathy is present even among close relations, be they family or friends, and thus it should come as no surprise that our already incomplete empathy is spread thinner and thinner as it looks further and further away. The result is that, at least on a personal level, I cannot empathize with the many Japanese people who lost both possessions and relations at a truly meaningful level. Instead I’m left thinking “I’m sorry” or “that’s so sad.” The issue I have with these thoughts are that they exist to placate my own desire to empathize for fear that a lack of empathy would make me a bad person. Personally, after a great deal of thought, I don’t believe true empathy is necessary, nor is it a reasonable request for Americans in general to hold any deeper emotions than those on the surface when discussing Japan.

What I do think is necessary is understanding, recognition, and respect. Even if you cannot feel what the many people who lost their loved ones feel, it is important to realize where that feeling stems from and to respect the depth and enormity of such feelings. For an American, I believe this attempt is one of the best things one can do for those who know loss from a world away.

By Aeris:

Natural disasters are a very real and very scary threat in our lives. Some of us may be safe from them, and others see so many it’s as if they’ve survived a war. In class, we watched a short documentary showing the horrific tragedy that was the earthquake followed by a tsunami in Tohoku, Japan on March 11th, 2011. The class fell into a petrified hush as we watched people try to rescue people from the waves only to be pulled in themselves. From people describing how they watched their friends and loved ones be swept away in front of their eyes, to others recounting their narrow escapes from death. I think I was honestly near tears… I don’t even think I had noticed the subtitles and could honestly hear the pain in their voices which greatly upset me. Unlike in many situations, there’s always a way you could learn from the past, but having to write about this felt very weird, I feel like this is not my place to speak about it, it’s not my trauma to unpack. Many people only had moments notice before they were able to get away, and even those who did get away to evacuation zones also got swept away. Over 18,000 people died in the tsunami, and the rest came back to towns that were completely washed away. Many towns still look like they did after the tsunami today. I know there are also still many relief efforts going on and it reminded me of a story I heard from a JET participant, who spent their days off volunteering to help clean up in some of the affected towns. I would like to help with those efforts when I go to Japan.

By Jonah:

There are too many emotions running rampant after any catastrophe. All are appropriate for you to experience. There are pains and aches that will plague anyone after a loss this large, which are appropriate feelings. Time can only heal, and it always will take time. There will be better days and there will be more time to heal, there will be more opportunity to recover from this loss. Be sure to make the most out of each moment and live to the fullest, each moment should count.


The Disaster Prevention Building in Minamisanriku, Japan – after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011

By Asa Marshall

To remember is to not forget
To not forget however is not enough

The clashing plates echo through the foundations of history leaving a permanent crack in the world of many
The tears make up the waves drowning the horizon in sorrow
The shouts spark flames in the smoke dense wind reaching from east to south plucking away the life of each passing blossom

To remember is to tell the story
To share experiences of yourself and others
To feel the pain yet console the truly broken hearted

Knowing does nothing until you use your voice
Be the voice for the unheard
Be the voice the world hears from the tops of mountains and troughs of the valleys resounding the message of yesterdays and tomorrows

To remember is to not forget
To not forget however is not enough


Introducing the newest member of our Japanese Plus family – Ryoma Tatsuoka – in Japanese and English.

辰岡 稜馬(Ryoma Tatsuoka)

2月26日初めてJapanese Plusのクラスに参加させてもらった。僕にとっては外国の子供達が日本語を学んでいる姿を見るのはもちろんのこと日本語の授業というのも人生で初となる体験だった。授業に参加する前は生徒の日本語レベルは高く見積もっても自己紹介するので精一杯だろうと考えていた。でもいざ授業に参加して生徒の子達と話してみると僕の想像をゆうに超える日本語力に驚いた。例えば、授業に遅刻すれば「遅れてすいません」と流暢な日本語で言ったり、先生が日本語でかなり早いスピードで会話していてもそれを理解していたりとかなり驚く事が多かった。一番驚いたのは「を」や「に」などの接続語をしっかりと使い分けれていた事だ。留学に来て5ヶ月経つ僕でもまだ英語の接続語「of」や「to」などがまだ完璧にマスターできていないの、留学に言って分けどもないみんなが接続語をしっかり使い分けれていたのは本当に驚きを通り越して感動だった。



In February 26 I attendant Japanese Plus first time. This is first time see other country people study Japanese. I’m really surprised when I take Japanese class. Because students Japanese level is really high. When we did introduction they talk Japanese very quickly. And also they can read ‘Hiragana’, ‘Katakana’ and little bit ‘Kanzi’. And also they can use ‘Romaji’.