Norihiro Mizukami ’07

'That tragic scene of the tsunami always reminds me I’m lucky to be alive.'

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Since graduation from Pacific, I have been working in the Japanese television industry, mainly on documentary programs.

After living most of my life in Japan, I thought I knew what an earthquake was. Now I have to admit I was simply wrong. The earthquake on March 11 changed my and other Japanese people’s understanding of them.

On that day, I was enjoying an afternoon coffee break by a ceiling-high window on the first floor of my company. When I first felt a small shake, I thought it was because the building stood by the Tokyo Highway. But the shake got bigger and bigger. I still didn’t know what was really happening even by the time I got out of the building.

Outside, a panicked crowd was trying to figure out what was going on.

We experience countless earthquakes in our daily lives in Japan. I also experienced the Hanshin earthquake, but that earthquake was totally different.

The waving ground on March 11 reminded me of the rough stormy ocean, and an upward tremor from the ground made me think of violent movie creatures jumping around. The 17-story building from which I just escaped swung its head, and two 15-meter construction cranes on the top of the next building were about to cast away their operators. It was a horrible sight.

What shocked me more, though, were the live recorded pictures of the Tohoku area shown hourly on TV. The fast moving wave swallowed the entire city, and it easily caught cars and people running away. They disappeared under the muddy water. The image was so strongly burned into my memory that it will not fade away.

Right after the earthquake, I had some inconveniences in Tokyo, such as power shortages and suspension of train services. However, that tragic scene of the tsunami always reminds me I’m lucky to be alive.