Monday, March 14, 2011

Together we will be stronger

As I look at these images of the disaster in Japan, it’s often hard for me to take. I realized that to be so moved by just these images while being so far removed from situation, I couldn’t even image what it’s like to be there or to be directly affected by something so large and catastrophic. It's hard to imagin what a 8.9 earthquake is like, but I can certainly see the destruction it can cause.

For the last 3 years, I’ve been traveling to Japan for work a couple of times a year. The country, the culture, and the people have really grown on me over these visits. I remember how wonderful it was the first time I visited Japan with my mom. The two of us and my aunt went all around the city to see all the lights and the super modern life of Tokyo. I was in complete awe. It was just like I’d imaged with its 10 story arcades and Manga stores.

We also left the city to see a completely different side of Japan. I was amazed how quickly we left the urban area filled with skyscrapers. Riding on the bullet train we soon got to the countryside with its mountainous terrains and wide-open spaces. We visited some mountains which I can't really recall (all I remembered was riding on a huge bus going quite quickly around a very narrow mountain road). There was a hot springs which was quite an experience for me at the time.

The last few visits were a bit different being there for work and much older than my first visit. I always managed to stay a few extra days to visit with my aunt or just hang around in the city. I don’t really speak a word of Japanese, but I feel really comfortable being there. I wish I spoke or understood more so I could get more of the culture, but I’ve always felt great just being there.

Seeing some of devastation of a place that I would place as one of my favorite places in the world was really hard. During the Katrina disaster, I saw many places in New Orleans that I had been just months before getting devastated. Places that I had gone throughout my college days on road trips for the weekend. Although it’s not the same as it didn’t hit Tokyo directly, it felt just the same. It's hard to see something like this happen to somewhere I so loved being around.

My heart sank as I watch the images and read the news. So many people in such a bad place through no fault of their own. So much destruction and so much death all around.

It’s times like this when you really feel how helpless one can be in the grand scheme of things. It would be great to be able to gear up in an Iron man suit and go help those people in need. Perhaps stop the tsunami with a blow of air or speeding through the waves fast enough. Sadly, that’s not the world that we live in. There are no super heroes to come save us. All we have is each other.

It’s situations like this that I hope people see the truly good in each other. We’re all in this world together. We have our minor differences, but at the end of the day, we’re all people here together on this planet. We can’t survive by ourselves. Only by supporting and relying on each other are we able to get through this, and not only get through this, but get through it stronger than we started.

To all the people in Japan. Stay strong and positive. The people around the world are here to help you through this. Together we will rebuild all that’s been lost and we’ll be better and stronger for it.