The Precious Daily Life in Japan.
Photographs by Yumiko Tanaka.
Tosei-Sha, 2012. 60 pp., 53 color illustrations, 9¼x8¼".
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On March 11, 2011, the earthquake occurred. I was sitting at the reception desk in thegallery where I work – in Nakano-ward, Tokyo. The mild afternoon sunlight was shining in through the window. Several visitors were looking around the gallery. It had been peaceful and quiet. At 2:46 p.m. there came a sudden violent quake. I thought it was one of the minor earthquakes that we occasionally have. But the quakes were getting bigger. Books began to jump out of the shelves and get scattered around the floor. Though I thought of running out of the building for safety’s sake, I could do nothing but stand helplessly where I was until these long violent shocks subsided. Subsequently the aftershocks continued, and the train services were badly interrupted. It was the next day that I finally came back home in Kawasaki-city, Kanagawa Prefecture. I learned about the disaster-stricken area on the news. I was shocked by the unprecedented extent of the damage. The horror of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster left me speechless. Soon food and water were gone from the stores. The electric power company launched the planned blackouts due to the power shortage. A while ago, people did live a peaceful life. But now it was gone. Many of us were deprived of our ordinary life all too soon. But the condition of the disaster area was far worse, and its severity no words could describe. How precious it is to be able to live an ordinary life, this Great East Japan Earthquake led me to realize more keenly than before.