On the 11th of March, 2011, an earthquake measuring a monstrous 8.9 magnitude struck off the north eastern coast of Japan, the closest major city being Sendai. It was powerful enough to move the Japanese coast line 2.5 meters (8 feet).
Those are the facts.
Japan has always struck me as perhaps the most modern country on the planet. Everything about its major cities is glistening high tech. It has a rail system to be envied. Everywhere, you see people using mobile phones. The Internet is nearly ubiquitous. The Japanese people have always struck me as resolute, determined. They seem to work towards goals with powerful determination. For them, solving a problem is paramount.
As a result of past earthquakes, Japan has some of the strictest building codes on the planet. Almost everything about their culture has to do with the common good of its people; simply doing the right thing.
In that sense I envy them.
There was very little warning of this disaster. That's the nature of earthquakes; they strike with callous disregard. Even more callous is what was visited on the populace a short time later - what the earthquake failed to do, the tsunami accomplished. Entire cities, towns and villages were wiped from the countryside.
Yet these people are risilient. They rise up, brush themselves off and get back to the business of rebuilding. And each time they rebuild, they rebuild stronger. Adversity breeds determination, hardship breeds resilience.
I have only a few friends in Japan, and I'm afraid of ruining this as I attempt to say it, but to the people of Japan, blessings. Long may you endure.