On March 11, 2011, a massive 8.9/9.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Pacific Ocean nearby Northeastern Japan at around 2:46pm (JST) causing damage with blackouts, fire and a horrific tsunami that has taken untold lives.
This event is very surreal for me because I spent many years of my life studying Japanese language and culture at the University of Washington. I lived in Kagoshima City for about 5 years, I'm still in shock as I feel like this country is my second home.
I think about all the friends I made and the impact this natural disaster is having on the lives of their friends and family. Over the years I've lost touch with my friends and surrogate families that hosted me in the beginning but my thoughts and prayers go out to them.
I can't help but think about my cultural experiences and positive impact each person I met in Japan had on me. I'll never forget how enlightened I became learning a new language and culture. Everyday was a new beginning, I always think of returning some day to relive those magical moments in my life.
Tonight, I was looking at my Twitter account and Keana Texeira just posted this incredible video to the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami victims.
If you've never given anything in the past, the time is now. Please do whatever you can to help the victims of this horrendous tragedy, go here to the 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami - Google Crisis Response Page to find out how you can assist in the recovery.
Don't have time to spare? Here is a list of mobile giving shortcodes to donate to Japan.
In the U.S.:
—Text “JAPAN” or “TSUNAMI” to 20222 to donate $10 (Save the Children Federation, Inc.)
—Text “4JAPAN” or “4TSUNAMI” to 20222 to donate $10 (World Vision, Inc.)
—Text “MERCY” to 25283 to donate $10 (Mercy Corps)
—Text “SUPPORT” to 85944 to donate $10 (ADRA Relief for Japan tsunami victims)
—Text “MED” to 80888 to donate $10 (Assist International Medical Corps)
—Text “JAPAN” to 80888 to donate $10 (Salvation Army)
—Text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to donate $10 (American Red Cross)
—Text “ASIA” or “ASIE“ to 30333 to donate $5 (The Canadian Red Cross Society)
—Text “QUAKE” to 45678 to donate $10 (The Salvation Army in Canada)
—Text “GIVE” to 45678 to donate $5 (UNICEF)
There is a Japanese quote and it says, 継続は力なり。 (Keizoku wa chikara nari)
Literally this means: Don't give up. Just continuing to hold on will yield/reveal strength and power. Continuing on after a setback is its own kind of strength.
Now that I have witnessed this natural disaster, I feel compelled to return to the revitalized Japan in the near future (in particular Kagoshima City) and revisit the country I call, "my second home".
あなたに日本の人々をありがとう、私はいつも私の心に住んでいる素敵な思い出を決して忘れないだろう. (Thank you people of Japan, I will never forget the wonderful hospitality and memories that will always live in my heart).