Today marks the fourth anniversary of the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear meltdown that ravaged northeastern Japan. I spent the night listening to speakers — Japanese and American — discuss the situation in Tohoku and the current state of recovery efforts. More to come about that discussion, but for now, here are few things you can consider doing to help the people of Tohoku — many of whom are still living in temporary housing and who remain grieving for all that was lost four years ago.
Donate to the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund — Anderson was one of two American English teachers who lost their lives in the tsunami. Her family has been very active in keeping her spirit and love of Japan alive through this memorial fund, which promotes education and cultural exchange between America and the Tohoku region.
Per my annual tradition, here are twelve photos representing my 2014. Although it was wonderful to be closer to family, it feels strange not to include a single photo from Japan. Unlike in previous years, all photos below were taken in the Chicago area.
In 2015, I plan finish my “Transition Japan” series to focus on more narrative non-fiction stories. Happy New Year everyone, and may 2015 bring you much joy! 明けましておめでとうございます｡
It’s hard to believe that three years ago I came to Japan. The time has passed so quickly, and I feel like a different person in so many ways. In July 2010, I boarded a plane from Chicago to arrive in Tokyo and begin a new adventure teaching English in Japan. Excited but also extremely nervous and worried, I planned to stay only one year. Slowly, one year turned into two, and two into three.
Finally, it is time to bid a temporary farewell to my love, Japan. I am in LAX Airport waiting for my connecting flight back to Chicago. I have no idea what the future holds, but I will certainly be writing many more “Stories from the Inaka” now that I will have more time. Thank you always for reading, and safe travels to you on your own journeys.