Living in Tohoku, I couldn't really let today pass without a comment.
I wasn't here last year during the Earthquake and subesquent tsunami, and I don't pretend to understand what people went through on that day, and the time that followed.
But yesterday, I was teaching in Yamoto, a town that was greatly affected by the tsunami. I don't know if it's a average sample of the whole town, but around half the students I teach lost their houses. The journey there is still on bus rather than train because the line was destroyed, and it drives along the coast, past a lot of affected areas. Whilst Japan has done a fantastic job at clearing up the mess left by the tsunami (as these photos show), it's important to realise that the job is far from finished. As well as huge areas where houses have obviously been washed away or pulled down, there are still individual houses, where there is repairable damage, that are left open to the elements with debris all around. Presumably these are houses where the occupants died, since I assume people would have come to clean their houses/yards by now if they were there to do it.
Driving up to Yamoto, it still feels like a disaster area, albeit a cleaned up one. There is still a lot to do, and people's lives are still being affected everyday. Whether they lost a loved one, lost their home or whether it's just living in an area that reminds you daily of what you suffered.
So today, by all means think about (or pray for if you're so inclined) the people that died last year. But give a thought for the people still living too.