a year ago today, I was in Tokyo. My life was great, although a challenge. I made my biggest dream come true of all time, I was living in Japan. Devin and I were only there a measly 6 weeks when the Sendai earthquake hit. we meant to stay at least 6 months. after the earthquake, explosions, tsunami, radiation, black-outs, food hoarding and general uncertainty, we had to leave the dream behind. a week later we left tokyo. 30 hours at the airport–the last place I ever wanted to be–and then back to Seattle.
I had a long list of things I wanted to accomplish while I was there. I barely knew Japanese, but was just thrilled to wake up everyday and just BE in JAPAN. It was a very difficult route to get to Japan in the first place. I didn’t have a job, and I couldn’t teach English without a university degree. I found out I was allergic to tatami mats and we didn’t have very much money to spend on things like “heat” and “food”. I had a hot water bottle to put in my futon at night to try to stay warm. I ate triangle rice balls every day from the convenience stores. I was poor, cold, with limited funds to ride the subway and hustlin er’ry day to try and find work. but as far as I was concerned, I was living the dream! I was the happiest girl on the planet, in my mind!
I have never felt connected to a huge disaster before, even when they happened to America. I’m not sure why, I have plenty of empathy to go around. I’m not even sure just by me being there the day of the 9.0 earthquake, connected me in a way, because it was on another level I felt so heartbroken over what happened. I felt like an outsider (which I literally was) but I felt there was nothing we could do but get out of the way, I suppose.
every day after the earthquake was hundreds of aftershocks. some over 6.0 more than once a day. It was an adventure, to say the least. I saw the infamous Shibuya Crossing look like a ghost town. no one was at the crossing and all the giant skyscraper video screens were turned off. I am pretty sure very few people will ever see it look like that in their lifetime. bizarro land.
I can’t believe it’s been a year. it’s always interesting to think where you were a year ago today. or 2, or 3. time and life is linear, but I’m rarely ever thinking of the present. I’m always being nostalgic or thinking of the possibilities of the future. I think things are going pretty well right now, but all I want in life is to get back to Japan!