The scenes that I've been reading about and seeing on NHK 日本放送協会, CNN and BBC about the massive earthquake in Japan ２０１１年東北地方太平洋地震 almost defy belief - the massive temblor (8.9 on the Richter scale; the maximum of 7 on the Japan Meteorological Agency seismic intensity scale 気象庁震度階級); the 10-meter (33 feet) high tsunami 津波, carrying along cars and ships as if they were toys, engulfing coastal communities (not to mention the runway of Sendai Airport 仙台空港); the fires raging at oil terminals, and in the town of Kesennuma 気仙沼; and now the news of a massive explosion at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima 福島第一原子力発電所. I know many people who live, or have lived, in Japan, and/or have friends and family living there. Fortunately, to the best of my knowledge, everyone concerned is safe and sound. The same can't be said, however, for the over 1000 people that NHK is reporting have lost their lives so far in the disaster.
Perhaps it was with this news in mind that the first signs of spring evident this afternoon along the T'ányǎshén bicycle trail 潭雅神綠園道 seemed to take on a particular beauty. Be it cherry blossoms, sunflowers or buzzing bees, there was plenty of evidence that life goes on, no matter what has happened, or where it has occurred.
I've been considering making a trip to Sendai 仙台 and other parts of Tōhoku 東北地方 next summer (this year I'm thinking of going to Okinawa 沖縄). Despite all that has happened, I have no reason yet to change my plans. I remember going to Kōbe 神戸 about a year and a half after the Great Hanshin earthquake 阪神・淡路大震災, and being surprised at how rapidly the city had recovered (at least on the exterior). I'm confident Sendai will bounce back just as quickly, and I look forward to contributing to reconstruction efforts by pumping some of my tourist yen into the local economy next year.