The Year of Reflection: After the Quake

Shinjuku Park, Tokyo, Japan, March 14, 2012

The first quake occurred at about 2:46 PM on March 11, 2011, as I was walking out of my office to lunch. What started out as a slight tremble built up into a violent shake that would last for approximately six minutes. For me, it seemed like a life-time. The shock of the experience to this day is still difficult to put into words. In the aftermath, scientists postulated that aftershocks and quakes would continue for a year in duration. After the first week, the aftershocks continued. Sometimes I was not sure the earth was shaking or my nerves were shaking. For a detailed look into the unbelievable seismic activity in and around Japan check out Japan Quake Map.

Additionally, the images of the nuclear reactors exploding was surreal because it hit so close to home. It was not a scene from 24. It was real. In the past year, I have learned a lot about life. I know who is there for me in terms of undying support. I appreciate the fragility of life. I understand that we have to make the most of our time because our lives are limited. The only regrets in life are failing to do the things that are within your grasp.

Life is a learning process if you choose to view it as such. I now understand that knowing your limits is an invaluable step in assessing and capitalizing on what is in your grasp. Otherwise, I may live a life of reckless abandonment. The illusive time immemorial question about “What is life?” is insolvable and should be. Because if we knew the answer to that question, the fun would go out of the journey.

At the end of the day, this year of reflection has given me the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of simplicity. No matter how much one can adorn the landscape of our imaginary, nature’s simple gifts of hues and beauty gets lost and caught up in the lives we are live.

I spent a peaceful day yesterday in Shinjuku Park (新宿公園)admiring the natural beauty that is canvassed by skyscrapers. As I sat at home last night watching TV at 9:05 PM, a strong jolt shook reminding me of living in Japan, and so is life chalked full of uncertainties.

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