I am living in Germany right now and studying Japan-centered economy and I also practice kenjutsu, the art of the sword. As such, I am greatly attached to Japan and yet, I only live on the other side of the world. And still, I feel as though there is a fire down the street where I live, I stand on the balcony and watch it burn, hoping that somebody, anybody, puts it out.
I have never experienced something like this before, but I am greatly distressed by the current situation in Japan. I know a few people there, one of my friends is even working in Hokkaido (the northern-most island). When the news broke, I was terrified at the prospect of them having been killed by this terrible disaster, especially after he left a rather ominous message on his blog.
Fortunately, I have gotten in touch with all of my contacts in Japan and they and their families are all well so far. The earthquake itself was terrifying, but the destruction wrought by the tsunami was a lot worse. According to my friend, the images you see on the net or the TV are NOT dramatizing things. It really is bad. PM Naoto Kan says it's the worst thing to happen to Japan since WWII, and you know that's saying something when he puts it on the same level as two nuclear air strikes.
I had (and still have) plans to visit Japan in mid-April, but even putting the situation and possible outcomes at the nuclear plant in Fukushima aside, I am really debating if I should really board the plane. It seems wrong to me that I, as a visitor, have myself a merry holiday with the intent of enjoying myself, while only a few hundred kilometers north, there are people suffering, mourning their loved ones and only left with what little they could salvage from their homes. Although I've been told that I should go through with it anyways, as it would mean a lot to the Japanese if I would still not be deterred by the earthquake (and I can certainly see that), I am rather shaken up.
I have lost quite some appetite and I can hardly sleep, always fearing that, if I wake up and not watch the whole situation from where I'm living 24/7, something terrible might happen. I actually feel a little ill now from worrying... that is something entirely new to me.
I don't believe in God or any deity for that matter and such an event won't change that, but just looking at these pictures I can only hope for the best, put my faith in the people in charge. The devastation of the tsunami is bad enough, I don't want these people to face the horrors of a nuclear fallout mere days afterwards...