Gaijin Gunpla

March 11, 2011 was eight years ago.

Eight years.

Much can happen in eight years. A lot has happened to me in eight years.

I no longer live in the country which suffered one of the largest recorded earthquakes in history followed by a tsunami which devastated a coastline and took 19,000 victims.

Though I’m in a different country the experience still hits me and I do read a lot of Japanese news and stories relating to it. In some ways Japan has shown incredible resilience in moving on and rebuilding but many who were in a direct line of that giant wall of water have yet to truly be able to start again. Many are still in ‘temporary’ housing. Many still don’t have jobs. And many have been forgotten as the rest of Japan moves on with their own lives and face their own difficulties. Living in Japan is not always a smooth process even without the direct experience of a natural disaster.

Yahoo recently put out a billboard advertisement in the main intersection of Shibuya. Many of you will know this intersection. It’s world famous for its crosswalk and thousands of people using it.

I won’t translate the entire billboard but I will the section that moved me.

Here it is.

That one line highlighted in red, it translates to:

Precisely this height.

And what is that referring to? Let me back up a bit.

At the time, in Ofunato town in Iwate prefecture, a tsunami of 16.7 meters was observed. If this came here to Shibuya it would be precisely this height.

Being able to visualize that with this example is pretty powerful.

The remainder of the ad reads,

The Heisei Era is ending, and we are continuing to the next one but don’t forget that day.

I’m not even Japanese nor do I live in Japan any more but I can’t forget that day.

For anyone not familiar with that day and want to know what I, and others, experienced, you can read what I wrote at the time and after in the Touhoku Disaster section of this site.

Here is the link:

6 Responses so far.

  1. harold says:

    That ad is pretty awesome, in the literal meaning of the word. In Gundam terms, it’s probably just about shoulder height for the full-scale model.

    I was in Korea then, and it was the second nuclear disaster that I experienced (first one was Chernobyl when I was living in then-W.Germany; we had to evacuate whenever there was rain) in relative proximity.

    I am safely(?) in the US now, but studies show that radioactive damage has reached California (and ofc, australia etc). As a side-note, I wrote an article a few years back asking whether it was possible to sue Japan in international court for their negligence, and if you are Australia/New Zealand, you may have a shot as there’s precedent of suing France when they performed atomic testing in the Pacific…

  2. harold says:

    oh and that ad is from 2017

  3. Brian says:

    An event long ago yet not forgotten by so many. Such a reminder of how everything can change in just one day. I pray those who have not forgotten it will not forget.

  4. Alberto from Italy says:

    I can still remember exactly what I was doing on March 11 2011 when I first heard of it: I was at mt desk at the office, typing a brief on the pc, and talking to the boss’s secretaries. And don’t forget 11/3 is related also to another tragedy here in Europe: the Atocha Station attack in Madrid on 11/3/2004.

    Anyone of us can remember what he/she was doing, because this thing is so touching, so moving, we can’t forget.

    If we can’t forget it, it is a part of history: sad and recent, but a part of history just the same and right because of this.

    Come on, Japan!!!

    Curiously, this event is related to Gundamdom too. Actually, the Italian dvd / blue-ray releases of Gundam Unicorn were provided with some booklets which contained also some thoughs by Harutoshi Fukui about the production and the work in progress of the series. Well, in one of them Fukui speaks about the earthquake and is consequences. It is the thought of a Japanese man involved in the tragedy: even if it is no more than a basic scrap, it is more than moving and touching just the same.

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