Remembering March 11, 2011

One year ago today, at 14:46 JST, Japan was rocked by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, now known as the Great East Japan Earthquake. However, it wasn’t the initial earthquake that did the most damage. It was the tsunami that followed, wiping out entire towns and causing the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex. Even today, the cleanup is still ongoing, proving to be quite a challenge around Fukushima especially. Some areas have been cleared, but not everyone is willing to come back. And even when the areas that are still being cleaned up are cleared, it is still unknown if they will ever be able to return to normal, let alone be rebuilt. Below is a look of the ongoing cleanup efforts in the two hardest hit areas, Ishinomaki and Onnagawa, by Culture Japan’s Danny Choo filmed in October of 2011:

On March 14th, in select theaters, TokyoPop’s Stu Levy’s documentary Pray For Japan will offer a look of inside the Tohoku region over a period of six weeks. All proceeds will be donated to charity. Also running for charity – right now – is Anime Fans Give Back to Japan. Last year, the marathon raised over $30,000 and is looking to raise over $20,000 this year.

While much of Japan has gotten back on its feet, plenty of areas still need help getting back to normal. In addition, many are now dealing with a new problem: fear. Fear that they are still unsafe. While for some areas that may be true, most are safe and ready and waiting for – and badly in need of – tourism again. It may be too soon to tell for sure if Japan will ever be able to go back to the way it was before the disaster, but one thing is for sure: Japan plans to keep on fighting. And we at ai plan to keep cheering for them.

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