Higashi Nihon Dai Shinsai
Today marks the third anniversary of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake. Around about this time three years ago I was probably looking through a car windows at some guy's dashboard TV trying to work out what was going on.
The television is full of memorial shows right now. Idols go up to the disaster zones and cry for a bit but never really say or show anything. Here is the chorus from a tribute song some fluff boyband all in white sang at a concert last night, dancing a talentless dance:
We say: Stand up! Stand up! Stand up!
With hearts ablaze we head towards a shining paradise that is too bright to see!
Never give up!
The first and third lines are in English, the second in Japanese.
On a tangent - what's interesting here from a cultural perspective, is how similar in presentation this and the Hiroshima atomic bombing memorials are. Both events are treated as natural disasters, whether a big wave or a bright light in the sky. Seldom do the Japanese ever mention that the nuclear bomb was dropped by American soldiers as a result of World War II, and never do they mention any possible culpability. All there is is suffering which has no cause.
In any case, after three years I decided I would write a bit about my experience through the dai-shinsai and the fun at Fukushima, seeing as it is A Significant Thing that I happened to be present for. I figured I should get it all down on paper before it goes completely from my memory. Do not expect to read a piteous tale of privation or death. No-one I knew died. Nor did I suffer starvation or have an exciting quest for food across a cursed earth, I outran no spuming wave whilst making a quip about surf being up. This is me simply recalling what I experienced.
This is a longer piece of writing than I intended. I set out to write perhaps 2000 words and ended up writing 8000. Honestly I am not entirely satisfied with it. I am a novelist, not a journalist, and naturally I tend to write dramatically. This lends an air of fabrication. But neither could I simply just list off memories. It's somewhere between, neither one nor the other. Too long to be short, and too short to be long also, if you understand that. I might take a crack at rewriting it in the future, but I wanted to get it out by today.