This afternoon in Tokyo, a government-hosted remembrance ceremony will be held for the 15,881 people who died and the 2,668 who remain unaccounted for as a result of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck Northeastern Japan two years ago today. The Emperor and Empress of Japan will also be present at the ceremony, at which the nation will be asked to observe a moment of silence beginning at 2:46 p.m..

Although we here at RocketNews24 will continue as always to bring you more weird and wonderful news from Asia throughout the day, we will also be taking a moment to remember those who lost their lives in the events that occurred on March 11, 2011 and their surviving families and friends.

It is not easy to be fun and lighthearted after recalling the scenes of sadness and destruction from that day and the weeks that followed. But as well as remembering those affected and the loss of so many, today is also an opportunity to think about our own lives and be appreciative. As often occurs after a major tragedy, following the events of March 11, 2011, many people in Japan stopped to examine their lives and ask themselves what was really important to them. Some quit their jobs, some vowed to start working even harder, some even got married or ended relationships entirely. Although there was and still is a tremendous amount of sadness and pain to be borne, the memory of these tragic events also serves to remind the people of Japan who they are, and of their incredible resilience and strength in the face of one of the worst disasters in decades.

Regardless of where we live, what we do for a living or put our faith in, it’s possible for us to become entirely caught up in our everyday lives and lose sight of the things that really matter. There’s that bus that always arrives late and puts you behind schedule; the “important” report that you have to write by the end of the day; the crappy phone whose battery never lasts or the wi-fi that drops when you carry your laptop through to the kitchen. But if we can all take a moment today — whether it’s during the moment’s silence in Japan or at any other time — to stop to think about what really matters and the people we have in our lives to be grateful for, then I’m sure we can all become much happier people in the long run. This doesn’t have to turn into a day of cuddles, tears and cheesy high-fives; it could mean simply thanking whoever cooks in your house for making dinner. It could mean switching off the TV and asking your partner what’s going on at work lately. It could be buying your dickhead coworker a coffee and making your working environment that little bit more pleasant to be in. It really doesn’t matter.

So while the frivolity, cheekiness and bizarre news stories will continue to roll today here at RocketNews24, we’d like to urge you to pause for even a couple of seconds and reflect, as we will be doing later this afternoon.

Wishing you all well today and thanking you for reading our sometimes silly, occasionally rude, but hopefully always awesome pages.

The RocketNews24 English Team

For those interested in making a donation to those affected by the events of March 11, 2011, we’d like to recommend this website.