Let's Pray For Japan

Image credit: Reuters
This is a bit of an unplanned post but I felt I had to put it up in the wake of the disaster that's hit Japan this past week. Supertyphoon Hagibis hit central Japan last week and devastated a huge area. Unfortunately there seems to have been criminally low news coverage of the event over here in the States in favor of all the usual political drama unfolding in Washington. Yes, what happens to our esteemed president is important but it pales in comparison to the human tragedy that unfolded in Japan the past few days.

Hagibis was deemed the strongest storm to hit Japan in 60 years. As someone who grew up in the Philippines I can relate to the devastation brought on by typhoons since that was a common occurrence back there. Having lived in a country prone to natural disasters like the Philippines I personally know what it's like to have to wade through chest-deep floods and clean up your house after a big storm, or walk miles with shellshocked people after a major earthquake and trying to meet up with your family, or even waking up to the dull gray landscape of the city after a major volcanic eruption. Ironically, Hagibis' name is taken from a Filipino word for "speed".

What makes the aftermath of Hagibis hit home for me even more is that some of the worst hit areas were places I had just been in a couple of months ago on my recent Japan trip. I mentioned that I went to Nagano on that trip to go to the Prince and Skyline Museum - that image above is from a part of Nagano prefecture. It was eerie watching news footage and seeing Hokuriku Shinkansen train cars submerged up to their windows in flood water after having just ridden on them during my trip.

The death toll from Hagibis so far may "only" be about 78 - a small number in comparison to other natural disasters (when typhoon Halyan hit the Philippines in 2013, the death toll was a staggering 6,340) - but the human toll is far greater when you consider the thousands of homes destroyed and all the families displaced as a result.

After a disaster, being a survivor is still a huge burden as you have to rebuild your life after losing most or all of what you own. Just imagine how you would feel if you woke up tomorrow after spending the night huddled in a storm shelter, still alive, but now without a home to go back to and all your possessions lost. How would you feed your family without a job to go back to because the place where you work has been destroyed as well? Losing just your home would be devastating enough but imagine if your whole town or city were devastated like what's happened to many parts of Japan. To say it would be heartbreaking would probably be insufficient for a description.

If you're reading this you're probably doing well, with some free time to enjoy your car hobby. That's a wonderful thing, please enjoy your happy times as much as you can, you deserve to, but please spare a thought for the people suffering in Japan currently, as well as others facing hardship all over the world such as in Hong Kong, Venezuela, and North Korea. Whatever your religion, please pray that one day they can enjoy happier times like we do, or better still, donate whatever you can spare to helping them out. 

Thank you for reading.


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