People across Japan paused for a moment of silence at 2:46 p.m. Sunday to mark the one-year anniversary of a powerful earthquake and resulting tsunami that killed more than 19,000 people.
Japan's quake was the strongest recorded in its history and set off the tsunami that swelled to more than 20 metres in some spots along the northeastern coast, destroying tens of thousands of homes.
The disaster also unleashed the world's worst nuclear crisis in more than 25 years when the country's Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant was severely damaged in the quake, causing meltdowns in three reactors and triggering a widespread exodus.
About 325,000 people are still in temporary housing.
Acts of remembrance Sunday included prayers, silence and reflection that recalled the terrible day when the 9.0 quake struck.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told citizens that they have overcome many disasters and difficulties in the past and pledged to rebuild the nation so it will be "reborn as an even better place."
You probably remember the terrifying video of last year's quake and tsunami on the northern coast of Japan. It was a somber reminder how vulnerable we are to the furies of nature, even in a society that is as well-prepared as Japan.
I found an article in a Japanese newspaper written by a Japanese junior high girl. Even with the rough Google translation, it's a heart-breaking but hopeful message that tragedy can be overcome.
46 minutes at 2 pm, a large swing that does not suddenly, I felt ever has been attacked many times. I am worried about the tsunami, were evacuated by car to elementary school located on a hill in a hurry.
Then after a while, the sound was terrible echoes. Scene is visible from the hill, completely changed in a moment, residential area, we went sunk to the bottom of the sea....
The sight of reality and do not know I do not think, or what do I express, I just was stunned and just standing (dazed)....
One day is only a few days, my father, was completely changed in appearance, came back to the source of our family. Be useful for people like my father, was kind. Actively participating in school events, at the time of the elementary school, they taught me volleyball. I loved this father....
I have a pain in my heart that even a year later, there are persons whose whereabouts are still unknown.
Early Emperor and Empress, sympathy and encouragement of a lot of people, Thank you for your support....
I think the future, people want to be a little useful work.
Also, I joined forces with everyone for the reconstruction, and want to work hard.
March 11, 2012
Muraoka Misora representative of Fukushima Prefecture
The Japanese have a tradition of honoring wood through their reverence of it in harvest and use. The following video, although it is in Japanese, conveys even to the western viewer the spirit of thankfulness and stewardship used by the Japanese as they harvest wood for their homes.
And this video demonstrates the way the Japanese achieve art even in life's most tedious jobs...in this case, creating a hand planer that shaves wood like paper.
On this day of painful Japanese memories, I hope you'll join me in thinking of the Japanese, their indomitable spirit, and praying and hoping for the recovery of their country.
And perhaps, you're able to contribute to a Japanese relief fund such as this, or even go out and purchase some type of Japanese product. I recommend highly their flat-screen televisions and other consumer electronics.
We're all in this together, these days; and we need to do what we can, however small it may seem. Miss Misora, her family, and neighbors would greatly appreciate it.