Literally a week after taking office, the massive earthquake and tsunami that rocked Northeastern Japan struck on March 11.
|Depicts the areas that shook the most when the earthquake hit.|
I was returning to the BOE from a full day of classes at the JHS, when all the sudden the entire office began to move. It wasn`t a shake, but more of a slow shifting back and forth. If you were prone to motion sickness, you would have ended up feeling horrible. This continued for quite a few minutes. As it began to lessen, my coworkers gathered around the TV and it was quite evident a very large earthquake had struck the Northeastern Coast of Japan. The news stations were trying their hardest to warn everyone to evacuate the coastal areas. Looking back at this, it really seems surreal. I remember looking at the TV and thinking that the Tsunami won`t be too large, but as the water began to rush the coast you could see bridges being taken over. People and cars were still trying to escape. It was quite the scene. Of course no one knew how bad it would really be at that time.
Having recently become President of HAJET, the prefectural council began discussions about what we could do. Eventually with the help of many people, we decided to sell a T-Shirt with 100% of the proceeds going to the Japanese Red Cross Society. I`m very happy to say that we successfully completed this fundraising event, and we have talked about doing more in the future. In fact, we gathered so much money as an organization, it was the most money donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society collection center in my town. My town mayor decided to hold a small ceremony and I ended up on the local subprefectural news paper, 十勝毎日新聞 Tokachi Daily News Paper. Here`s the article... BTW, I had to have broken some kind of record, this made the 4th time in less than a year that I made it on this news paper! hahaha
So, in May I spent about 10 days on vacation for Golden Week. It was awesome. Golden Week just happens to fall on my birthday, so it`s convenient in that sense, but since most of my friends are off on vacation, no one gathers around or is too busy getting ready to leave for some trip. I spent a few days in Kansai and then after more than two years, I finally got to go back to Okinawa. When I landed in Naha, it was like coming home. Though I was born in Florida, I will always and forever think of Okinawa as my home.
I got to spend some time with my Grandmother and other family members, while visiting different parts of Okinawa. One major goal that I had for my trip to Okinawa was to purchase a Sanshin. Which I did and it`s awesome. I can`t tell you the number of times I`ve sat at home in Hokkaido wishing I had my Sanshin to play. Now, I can play it whever I want!
That pretty much catches us up. On other info. I did recontract back in February and will have the wonderful opportunity to spend another full year in Hokkaido.
There`s tons of stuff that went on and I really don`t believe this three part series did it justice, so if you have any questions about anything, please shoot them my way. If you`re a JET and have been placed in Hokkaido, feel free to ask me anything. And if you are on your way to Hokkaido as a JET or ALT, good luck and i hope to see you soon!
Please stay tuned... Hopefully I`ll have something entertaining to write about soon... and I don`t mean in another 6 months.