In the top five of the most devastating earthquakes ever recorded, the Japan Earthquake (80 miles from the city of Sendai) and the accompanying Pacific Tsunami has left parts of Japan looking like the aftermath of another world war. The March 11th quake has been upgraded to 9.0, according to the U.S. Geological Survey website (earthquake.usgs.gov). It was with horror I watched videos of the tsunami washing away Sendai.
I visited Sendai in 2003 and stayed at a youth hostel there, sharing a room with a young Australian woman who was teaching English in Japan like myself. Not far from Sendai is Matsushima Bay, which is known as one of the "Three Most Scenic Views of Japan" (Nihon Sankei). It is a bay populated with over 200 small, pine-covered islands made famous by Japanese writers and artists. Together with my new Australian friend, I joined a boat tour and later we visited Juiganji Temple, a Buddhist temple founded in 828 A.D.
Now I wonder how much has remained undamaged in Sendai and surrounding areas. Fortunately, Japan is receiving much international help in the form of search and rescue teams for survivors and other types of emergency aid. You can also help by making a donation to the American Red Cross (american.redcross.org) and checking off that your financial donation is for the "Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami."