I learned a new word today: 黙祷 (mokutou)
It means 'silent prayer.' At 2:46 today, we had a moment of silence in the city hall. It was a nice moment. It's been two years now. I remember when I arrived in Japan, I was told many times, by JET representatives, by co-workers in the city hall and at school, and by random people I met, how brave
we were to have decided to come to Japan even after the earthquake. It's praise I still don't fully understand or accept. Most of that is because I don't live anywhere near Fukushima or Miyagi - I admit that had I been placed near the radiation zone, I would've had to think more carefully about my decision, but I am a very safe distance away.
I know that Kumano is not a good place to be if tsunamis are a big fear. I'm less than a ten minute walk from the beach, and while many of my schools are on hills or much further inland, some of them, including my favorite elementary school (and the attached special ed school and the nearby junior high school) would be destroyed in a tsunami of the size of the one that hit Tohoku. And it's certainly a possibility, one that I've thought about in darker moments. But there's nothing to be done but be thankful that it hasn't
happened, and to know where to go, and have an emergency bag packed at home.
Today is a good reminder that I need to update that bag.
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
Also, this is worth watching. It's available only today (not sure of the timezone), and it's pretty heart-wrenching (I cried through most of it, though I do cry at pretty much everything). The first five minutes - footage from an eyewitness as the tsunami approaches - are terrifying in a way horror movies can never be. But I love the "sakura master" and his thoughts on the trees and life.