2011.3.11 it’s a date with a lot of meaning for me. I was living in Tokyo when the earthquake shook all the northern part of Japan. I was translating at the time, sipping from a mug of coffee when everything started to shake. The first thing that I thought was that the Kanto Earthquake had arrived. Ever since I arrived in Japan in 2004 I had been told about the great Kanto Earthquake that would destroy Tokyo. So, I thought it was that one. However, I was wrong: this was the Tohoku megathrust! And he had company: a devastating Tsunami that washed away lots of towns in the North.
I won’t forget that day. In just 5 minutes my life had changed without me noticing it. In fact, there was no one in Tokyo that would not be touched by the event. Everyone had a friend who had family on the North. And painfully enough, some were washed away.
So, what can an event like this do to your life? Well, for me it was a turning point in which I had to reconsider everything that I was doing. I saw friends parting ways with others, people divorcing, people falling into depressions… Name it. But for me it was like a flash of clarity of what I wanted to do with my life.
My plans were to leave Japan somewhere in 2012, and so I did. To put into works a plan that I had in mind that I never ever really seem to start. The earthquake just made me put it into action.
2011 is a turning point in my life. A year in which I discovered that I am tougher than I thought. A year in which I realized I can make my dreams come true. A year in which I started to re-discover myself. It was painful, it was shocking, but for me it was also a message of what I had to do.
No, I won’t ever forget that day. Japan has taught me much about life and myself. Even in hardship Japan has been able to give me much more than I could ever give it back. Love.
Image source: Yamagata Mekke.