Friday, January 21, 2005


It’s a bit too early for plum blossom season, but oh well, what the heck. Here it is. ; )


On January 17th, 2005, the 10th memorial ceremony of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake was held in Higashi-koen in Kobe. I was there at 5:46AM, praying in the cold rain.

At 5:46 AM on Jan.17th, 1995, I was in my room in Nishinomiya, Hyogo prefecture. Seems like something inside of me got frozen then. As numerous how-to stuff on crisis intervention recommend, I talked about my experiences whenever I had a chance. It got more and more difficult to bring up the issue as years passed.

Then I came back to Kochi in year 2,000. Still I kept attending the memorial ceremony held in a park in Kochi city every year. I just knew that I HAD TO be with the candle lights at 5:46AM on that particular date. In a few years, however, I had to realize my inner voice telling me that I was feeling more “alone” at the memorial ceremony in Kochi, where most people did not share the same experience. You know, there are times that you feel so grateful to the people around you but still feel you don’t belong there… and it’s just no one’s fault. I became silent, and felt something was buried deeper, untouched.

Last year at the ceremony in Kochi, it got to the point that I couldn’t ignore my inner voice saying “I gotta be there in Kobe.” I need a change. I can’t tell exactly what needed to be changed. I didn’t lose anyone close to me in that earthquake. I’m not suffering any serious flash back or nightmares. Some personality concerns do exist, but they are not necessarily disaster-induced ones. And the memories are fading…. So what is it that’s bothering me then? I can’t tell, honestly. It’s just a feeling … something like drinking terribly weak and lukewarm tea and thinking this is the only kind of tea I can have for the rest of my life. Well, maybe there’s nothing wrong with weak and lukewarm tea. But once I realized that I don’t want it any more, I can’t cheat myself any longer.

There’s one thing I have never done about my earthquake experience. It’s “writing about it.” Again, I cannot say why I couldn’t, especially when I was able to do decent amount of talking about the experience, but I just couldn’t write about the earthquake. To this day, I have never written about what I went through on Jan. 17 1995, even in my private diary. And that’s what I’m going to give a try this year, 10 years after that dark, cold morning.

My writings about the quake will be kept at:
“A frozen clock”
so that they won’t block my regular entries here.

I have no idea how long it’s going to be.

posted by obachan, 1/21/2005 06:24:00 PM


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