The Earthquake Everybody Forgot

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.


Amidst the monotonous stroll of daily life, it is easy to forget what happened. People never inquired, so I never remembered. Friendly conversations seldom reached that socially awkward barrier. After all, the “Great East Japan Earthquake,” was the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world.

Diligently writing Kanji—Japanese characters—I thought my teacher was joking when she abruptly began to pray. The prevalence of earthquakes in Japan habituated me to a point where earthquakes often went unnoticed. However, after hearing the principal, scream “get under your desks!” the ensuing chaos confirmed the weight of the situation. Students flooded from their classes, ignoring the screams of teachers who told them to stay under their desks. Once outside, unnatural shifts in the ground as well as the explosions of buildings in the distance made me feel as though the world was truly ending. After about an hour, the earthquake was over, yet the damage was done. Both school buildings and apartment complexes all around my city, were utterly destroyed. On the news tsunamis rose to record heights of over 100 feet, and nuclear factories experienced catastrophic meltdowns. This was Japan on March 11th, 2011.

Then I was back in America....

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