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Chiharu Tanaka's LETTER

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1-9 Chiharu Tanaka What do you normally think of when you hear the word "disaster"? Damage? Destruction? Pain? Loss? Many people experience these things as a result of disasters, but I was able to get something valuable as well. The terrible disaster on March 11th happened while I was going back home in my mother's car. Suddenly my mother couldn't steer the car, and a few moments later, I realized it was because of the huge earthquake. We saw the asphalt road waving up and down. Then all the traffic lights went out, and all the cellphone lines were dead. We felt happy when we got home at last. However, my house looked totally different than it did before the earthquake. All the ground was flooded with water though it hadn't been raining. And the road was raised, and had a wide crack with a power pole stuck in it. My house was tilted. I didn't understand what was happening. Then I heard my father screaming, "Hey Chiharu, are you OK? Don't go into the house. It's dangerous!" His voice was clear but he looked pale. We spent that night in an emergency shelter with our neighbors who were also unable to return to their homes. It was lucky that we were able to stay there, but it was small and very cold. I couldn't sleep that night and sometimes heard people talking quietly about the tragedy in Tohoku. It frightened me more.
The next morning, people who were not so badly affected came to the shelter one after another with miso, vegetables and some blankets. That gave us something to smile about during this terrible time. Then someone said, "I will bring some radishes from my field, and then let's make miso soup together." I couldn't forget the taste of that miso soup. Many people came to help us and said, "You'd do the same for me if I was in trouble." We talked a lot with people we had never met. Everyone was friendly and encouraged each other, saying that tomorrow will be a better day. I felt as if we had a strong bond and it encouraged us even though it couldn't be seen. A few days later my family moved to my grandparents' house, and even such things as eating, sleeping, and living together with my family at home all seemed so wonderful to me. These days we can get anything we want. We can get any information we need with computers or cell phones. It is so convenient. But does it really make us happy? I don't think so. I believe that bonds are the most valuable thing for every human being.
The bonds we have with the people around us are precious. We should keep this in mind , not only when we experience a crisis, but everyday of our lives. 【日本語要旨】
Olga Timofeeva
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letter, chiharu, tanaka
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