March 11, 2011 – I was in South Korea when the 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan and was followed by a tsunami. I was at the office doing some paper works when suddenly my boss turned on the television, and there I was astounded by what I saw. Old people crying, cars floating, and the numbers of death was increasing. My empathy was short-lived, not everyone in the office was that troubled by the incident. Perhaps, that was the “complex” feeling that Koreans have towards Japanese people. Nonetheless, I tried my best to contact everyone that I know who were in Japan that time.
March 11, 2012 – Commemorating the first year after the Tsunami Incident was also complicated for me. I wanted to grieve for the lives that were taken during that incident but then I looked at my own country, and I felt embarrassed by how well the Japanese have redeemed themselves in less than a year.
The Japanese Prime Minister was thanking the municipality of the help that were offered during those days. Ironically, when the Malacañang representative gave his speech, he was congratulating Japan for its fast recovery yet mentioning new projects here in the country that is being funded by Japan. The Japanese Prime Minister gave a heartfelt speech while the latter was very political about what was going on. Right there and then, I exclaimed, “Oh, the Filipino Brain!”
Ayatosan! Ayato-yato! The Japanese taught us this folk dance named Awa Odori which they say was an act of thanking the God above for the blessings that they have received. We marched around Quezon Hall while performing the dance and it was a funny yet interesting experience. While enjoying the dance, I realized how I should perceive things. I should look more on the brighter side, be more grateful, yet still remember the heroes that were taken by the Tsunami. The Kizuna also encouraged me to serve my country that someday it will become as great as Japan
photo: screencapture from local TV news program segment. I am the one with bangs on the right corner, beside Marc, the guy with glasses.