This post is something special to me.
Back in 2011, I went overseas, from New Jersey to Japan in order to visit my friend Sara, who happened to be studying Japanese as an exchange student at the time. Sara’s mother, Sherri, and i boarded our flight in Newark, New Jersey, and landed in Narita Airport March 11, 2011. We disembarked the plane and were walking through customs when the first wave hit – a 4.0 earthquake. Sure, it was scary. I remember not knowing what was going on at first and even thinking that it was turbulence from a plane taking off. But once I saw people starting to duck and cover their heads, it hit me – this is an earthquake.
Sherri and I joined a group that was huddled in the middle of the room, drawing other frightened tourists towards us and covering our heads to protect ourselves. Fortunately, that wave passed and we laughed it off. Nothing big at all. We must have looked pretty silly to those who go through earthquakes on a regular basis.
When the second one hit though, that was about a 7.2 magnitude. Though Sherri and I did not speak any Japanese, we understood that we had to exit the building. Watching the windows ebb and flow like ocean waves was a bit terrifying.
Sherri and I managed to leave the airport and stood outside with the others who were stranded. Sherri, understandably, was worried about Sara, who is legally blind and was taking mass transit to meet us at Narita Airport. We met a woman who became our angel for the trip, Masana, who stayed with us the entire time, making sure we were safe, cared for, and that we would be able to find my friend.
Finally, Sara, through walking and hitch-hiking, managed to meet us at the airport and found our rag-tag group of friends that we had made – an exchange student named Peter, Masana, mother Maureen who was meeting her daughter Meghan, and Mithras.
Through a series of events involving rolling brown-outs, frightened nights reading about nuclear reactors melting, and even a volcanic eruption, our ten-day trip all around Japan turned into a five-day race, staying with people who were nothing short of angels throughout our trip (I will never be able to give Masana, Peter, Maureen, Mithras, Hiroko, the girls dormitory of Soka University, and Momo the fully proper thank you that they deserve).
And now, I ask for your help. Though it has been years since the earthquake occurred, the repairs will take nothing short of decades. Please, consider donating some funds to the various relief efforts to try and rebuild after this devastating disaster. This nation has been through so much, and any assistance that you can give to help these brave people are most appreciated.