3.11

Man reported missing after 2011 Tohoku earthquake found alive and well

Shows up exactly seven and a half years after the tragic earthquake and tsunami in a town half-way across the country.

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Tokyo Electric Power Company airs first commercial since Fukushima disaster, creates new mascot

After a seven-year self-imposed TV ad suspension, company shows images of relaxed families and offers cute bunny character merchandise.

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On the 7th anniversary of 3.11, Japanese netizens reflect on the story of the tsunami motorcycle

The story of the Harley Davidson that traveled across the Pacific Ocean is warming hearts again.

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NHK slips touching hidden message into TV listings on March 11

A subtle way to let certain people know they’re still on your mind.

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Don’t forget: Yahoo! Japan to make disaster relief donation for every person who searches for “3.11” today

Four years on, the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis that befell Japan’s Tohoku region on March 11, 2011 have very little effect on the day-to-day lives of most people in the country. The rolling blackouts have stopped. Batteries and bottled water are once again readily available. Trains are running, and whole cities aren’t spending hours walking home from work or school.

But while a return to normalcy is a desirable, and ultimately necessary, part of recovery, it’s also important to remember what happened. To stem the forgetfulness that often accompanies the later stages of coping with tragedy, on March 11 Yahoo! Japan will be making a donation to the Tohoku recovery efforts for every person that searches for “3.11” through the company’s search engine.

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Tohoku tsunami survivor’s $12K camera: heart-felt gift or PR stunt?

Three years ago, Japan’s northeastern region was devastated by a triple disaster of a Magnitude 9.0 earthquake, an ensuing tsunami that wiped away whole towns and caused the meltdown of a nuclear power plant. Affected deeply by the tragedy, Japan has since rallied together as a country to support those who lost loved ones, livelihoods and homes.

Last week, as a part of remembering the three years that have passed since the disaster, famed German camera maker Leica gave a high-end camera worth 1,200,000 yen (US$12,000) to a high school student whose community was devastated by the tsunami. Initially touched by the show of support, Japanese netizens began a heated conversation online about whether the very generous gift was a heart-felt present or just a PR stunt for the well-known camera maker.

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Anger as kids share photos of themselves “praying” for victims of Tohoku earthquake and tsunami

As you’re probably already aware, Tuesday this week marked the third anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, a day on which tens of thousands of people lost their lives and many more were displaced, never able to return to their homes. At 14:46 local time, the exact moment the quake struck three years ago, people across the country stopped to take part in nationwide silent prayer, or mokutou in Japanese.

Teens across the land also took a moment to pay their respects that day, although the actions of a few were perhaps a little misguided. Soon after the moment of silence, photos emerged online showing kids “praying” inside purikura sticker photo booths, which were quickly shared and “favourited”.

Netizens reacted angrily to the images, calling them disrespectful and deploring how the smartphone generation feels the need to broadcast almost everything they do.

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Remembering the people of Tohoku three years on

At 2:46 p.m. today, exactly three years will have passed since a Magnitude 9.0 earthquake shook Japan to its very core, moments later sending an enormous tidal wave that claimed tens of thousands of lives in the Tohoku region.

Today is a day to remember the people who are no longer with us, and to think of those whose lives were changed forever–many of whom were displaced from their homes and are still trying to start anew.

But today should also be seen as something of a gift. Those of us who came away from March 11, 2011 unscathed or are fortunate enough never to have known loss like the people of Tohoku are given days like today to pause and take stock of what we have. Whether or not you observe a moment’s silence this afternoon, and wherever you are in the world, try to keep Japan in the back of your mind today, but also try to look a little closer to home. Use today to effect some positive change in the world or in your own life, however small and seemingly insignificant. Donate to a charity you believe in; call your mother; switch off your phone for an hour and look at all of the cool stuff around you; start work on that book that you’ve been crafting in your mind for the past five years; buy some nicotine patches instead of another pack of cigs; book that holiday you’ve been meaning to take; pay for the guy in line behind you in Starbucks; tell your dog that he really is a good boy; make an awesome cake, then sit with a pal and stuff it into your faces while pretending to be dinosaurs.

As dramatic as it may sound, days like March 11, 2011 are firm reminders that sometimes there isn’t a tomorrow to put things off until, so make the most of today. Ganbare, Tohoku!

Need some inspiration? Maybe one of these groups could use some help:

Japan Red Cross Society / Cancer Research UK / (RED) 
Global Giving / Save the Children / World Vision / WWF