The great wave and other disasters

The Breaking Wave Off Kanagawa. Also called The Great Wave, it was published in 1830s. The woodblock print was from Hokusai's series Thirty-six Views of Fuji, which are the high point of Japanese prints.

This has been a long overdue post but I was so overwhelmed with the Japan tsunami that I cannot write about it right away.  Why?  Because my father, a ship captain, was on his way to Japan when the great wave happened last March 14, 2011.  We just got back from a out-of -own trip when I turned on the television and saw the news;  it felt like my throat was being swallowed by my heart literally- we didn’t sleep that night just to follow the events.

A satellite photo of the great wave after the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan in March.

Being so close to the Philippines by proximity, we all know someone living in Japan – a relative, a friend or even a neighbor .  We all got concerned about their welfare. We got even more concerned when reports of radioactive leak happened, and still is happening today.

Cars being swept away by the great wave last March 14, 2011

It makes your really think about our country- are we ready for an earthquake that strong?  According to history, the last tsunami that happened here was in 1948.  The strongest ever recorded was the 8.3 magnitude earthquake that happened in Panay Island that  damaged 55 churches, with 17 to have totally collapsed.  If this happens again, I definitely don’t want to be swimming in Boracay.

By Monday, we finally got a call from tatay.  He’s alright.  We thanked God for his protection because He allowed my dad to leave Taiwan Thursday and not earlier, and they were not in the Japanese vicinity yet by Friday. But he said it was “maalon” or the wave was strong when the tsunami passed by them.  The huge impact is on the coastline, not when you are in the middle of the ocean.

My father’s contract has ended.  He’s  supposed to arrive next week, but his reliever backed-out, too scared of being part of the Japanese experience.  So my dad is still working, and still navigating the ship, and still transporting cargoes, but this time to help rebuild Japan.

I am proud of him.

*The Great Wave (first picture above) was made by Japanese painter Hokusai.  The only way to cover the news then was to paint it.  Today, it’s all about satellite images. We got to see the Great Wave slam  Japan Live on television. And it definitely scared all of us.

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One response to “The great wave and other disasters

  1. 10 things to learn from Japan –

    1. THE CALM Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.

    2. THE DIGNITY Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.

    3. THE ABILITY The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn’t fall.

    4. THE GRACE People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.

    5. THE ORDER No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding.

    6. THE SACRIFICE Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?

    7. THE TENDERNESS Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the weak.

    8. THE TRAINING The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.

    9. THE MEDIA They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage.

    10. THE CONSCIENCE When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly

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