Tea Love: Instilling a Love of Tea, One Sip At A Time

Posts tagged ‘Soka University’

Japan Earthquake – Three Years Later

As some of you are aware, March 11, 2014 marks the third-year anniversary of the now infamous Japanese earthquake, an 8.9 magnitude quake that triggered a tsunami, a volcanic eruption, and a nuclear meltdown.   According to Global Research, Centre for Research on Globalization, “On April 12, 2011 the Japanese government officially announced that the severity of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster had reached level 7, the highest on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Before Fukushima, the only level 7 case was the 1986 Chernobyl disaster…”

People know Japan for their famed tea ceremonies, matcha tea, and amazing atmosphere.   During the 2010-2011 school year, my good friend since fifth grade, Sara, decided to go study at Soka University, immersing herself fully into the Japanese culture and gaining some amazing friends in the process.   Sara’s mother and I decided to go on a visit to see Sara in March.   About ten minutes after Sara’s mother and my plane landed in Narita Airport, the earthquake hit and we went on a wild ride consisting of sleeping in airports, feeling tremors throughout the night, meeting amazing angels who took us in at a moment’s notice, and thanking God the moment we touched down on American soil five days later.

I could go into more detail regarding our experiences, but that might be a post for another day.

I will, however, say that the people we met there were so magnanimous, beyond compare to anyone I have ever met before.   Masana, who stayed with Sara’s mother and me while we struggled to get a hold of Sara via cell phone during the midst of the earthquake.   Not only that, she, along with foreign exchange student Peter, bought us food, drink, and kept us safe and calm during all the events while we were at the airport without any funds to support ourselves.   Hairoko, who housed us during the rolling black-outs that plagued the towns we were visiting.   Momoko, who welcomed us into the Soka University dorm room where Sara’s mother arranged our flight information.   Momoko and her friends also fed us and kept us calm during the disaster.

I still thank them for all of their help to this day, and still look at them as angels for all that they did for complete strangers.

Our Group Of Vagabonds, Eating Breakfast Thanks To Generous Strangers

Our Group Of Vagabonds, Eating Breakfast Thanks To Generous Strangers

Now, three years later, the Japanese government is still dealing with radiation levels.   They now also have to deal with radiation-contaminated water.   People are still missing after all of this time.   The people still need help.

To help the people of Japan, please consider donating to the Red Cross.   The funds aid in long-term recovery projects and general assistance to those in need.

Don’t forget these people.   They still need our help.

A Special Tribute to Japan

On March 11, 2011, Japan was rocked by an earthquake and tsunami that destroyed the lives of thousands, causing wide-spread devastation and pain throughout both the Japanese citizens and those from around the world.

The anniversary is arriving, with many still mourning, missing and in pain.   The psychological effects alone will be reverberating for ages to come.

Admittedly, this has a special significance for me.   On March 11th, I landed at the Narita Airport to with my travel partner, Sherri, visit my friend since 5th grade, Sara, who was studying at Soka University for a year.   Sara graciously planned a full ten-day tour all over Japan for her mother and myself, traveling to different tea rooms, shrines and attractions.   While I had been traveling before, I had never gone to a place with a culture as unique as Japan.

About ten minutes after we landed, the earthquake hit.   Without knowing the magnitude or impact of the earthquake (and, being a Jersey girl, I never even experienced anything like an earthquake before), it was rather exciting yet scary at the same time:

Sherri was greatly concerned for her daughter, while I held all the confidence in the world that she would be fine.   I knew that she was on a train traveling to see us but I knew that Sara was able to adapt to almost any situation and any emergency.   After living in a foreign country for a year, something like this shouldn’t phase her, should it?

However, thankfully, we found a group of people who gathered with us, keeping us calm and directing us in the ways of the Japanese culture.   Masana and I still talk to this day.   She was a complete angel and so patient translating and helping Sherri and myself reunite with Sara.   Peter and I unfortunately lost touch, but he was amazing, offering everything that he could to make sure that we were comfortable.

While I was nowhere near the epicenter, I did see the effects that the quake had on the people around me.   I can only imagine what went through Masana’s mind as she watched the news in the airport, how Peter felt as his home for a year was “attacked.”   I remember talking to Sara about how distressed she was about her home for a year and having to leave so abruptly.

The reason why I post this in my tea blog is because I still have fond memories of, while we were running around and trying to get out of the country, I always made my stops at tea vending machines.   Even while we were tired and impatiently waiting for the train, Sara and Sherri would see me wander off to the tea vending machine, getting some hot tea for now and cold tea for later.   I still have fond memories and probably a few bottle caps of some particular teas I was a fan of.

I ask everyone to please consider donating to these people.   They’re still struggling and any help that we can give to them, I can assure you, would be greatly appreciated.   Right now, I know that the Japan Society in New York is accepting donations and distributing it to where needed.

Thank you very much and thank you to all those wonderful people that helped me, a complete stranger, and my friends along our scary journey, even while their homes were in trouble.

A Photo That Sherri Took of Masana, Peter, Maureen, Sara and Myself at Narita Airport the Day After The Quake

A Photo That Sherri Took of Masana, Peter, Maureen, Sara and Myself at Narita Airport the Day After The Quake

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