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Spring Comes On March 11th

This is the week in history where we remember the terrible earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku area of 2011. This week we will see reports of the past. We will see the terrible waves of the sea crash into homes and buildings again. We will hear the voices of the people who suffered. We will hear their pain again. We will remember again the terrible, terrible disaster of those days.

15,894 people died in the Tohoku disaster. 6,152 people were injured, and 2,562 people are still missing. The damage was huge. So many buildings were crushed, road and railways were destroyed, bridges washed away, and dams were broken. There was no electricity, no proper water, and nuclear power trouble as well. It was only a few years ago, but the memory of that time is still very new in our minds.

Even though the terrible earthquake and tsunami were five years ago, the Tohoku area is still very damaged. Many homes and buildings are still broken. Many roads have garbage and broken cars and trucks on them. The cleanup of the area will take a few more years for it to be completed. The reminders of the disaster are everywhere through the area.

But the spring season will still come. The air will grow warmer. The trees will grow new leaves and flowers. The cherry blossoms will come again. Life will find some way to come to us. Spring will come again to all of Japan, even in Tohoku. It is natural for us to feel very dark and sad when we have experiences like earthquakes and tsunami which kill so many people. Maybe we feel that death cannot be stopped. But that is also true of life, and of nature. New life cannot be stopped. New flowers will come. New animals will be born. New people will come. Life is unstoppable. Hope is unstoppable.

We are all very worried for the people of Tohoku who still do not have their lives back. They still need support. They still need help. They need their homes again. They need their roads, and trains, and schools, and cities again. They need to have the hope of spring again and they need help from the rest of the country. This is an important time for us to remember what happened five years ago, and to also be able to look to find ways for Tohoku to be whole again.

The spring air comes here to Otemae too. The trees are soon ready to show us their new colors. Life is unstoppable for you too. Spring brings us also a new feeling of opening our eyes and becoming awake. As you become awake, what would you like to do this spring? What new thing would you like to try?

The flowers of spring come to all of Japan. Let’s hope that there will be more life this year, less death, and that a healing wind will come to the Tohoku region.