During the month of March, there is very little for me to do at school. The school seems to look the other way (or just not care) about what I do during these vacation months. Students are around doing clubs and things really slow down in the office.
As I was watching one of the most intense movies I’ve ever seen (The Hurt Locker), I suddenly found myself swaying a little bit. I thought at first that maybe the movie was just THAT good; that it was so tense, I was actually feeling dizzy. It wasn’t until I took off my headphones that I heard we were in the middle of a small earthquake!
All the teachers were smiling and giggling. It was, after all, a REALLY small one. Even I was smiling and giggling. It was my first earthquake. I couldn’t help being excited. Nothing was broken. Nothing shifted. Everything continued as normal. When one of the teachers turned on the television to check the news, we learned of the true devastation. We watched as the news slowly trickled in. What we felt in my office was an aftershock of the large earthquake in northern Japan.
The outpour of support from the Japanese people is inspiring. People dramatically cut down on their electricity to save energy. There were volunteers EVERYWHERE collecting money for the Red Cross and other organizations. People were organizing deliveries of rice and other supplies to the north. There were no reports of looting (until 3 days ago).
On television, advertisers pulled their commercials. Apparently, Japanese companies have no intention of cashing in on a disaster. Someone told me that they pull their ads because this isn’t a time to sell people luxuries when so many are suffering. To fill in the missing time slots, cable stations have been playing Japanese government public service announcements…non-stop. I’m sick of seeing the same 3 commercials.
Luckily, the Kansai area of Japan has been minimally affected by the earthquake and tsunami. My life hasn’t really changed, by some are no so lucky. I’ve heard Canada has cancelled the contracts of JETs living in parts of the Tohoku area. One JET is confirmed dead. Several others have no school or town left. I was very lucky to be placed in Nara.