You told me about the moment the earth started shaking. You started counting, as you were taught, but it shook so long you stopped, afraid of what would come. You told me about the despair in those moments, not being able to find your mother, and the indescribable feeling finally seeing her again. You told me about losing friends, family members. And you told me understanding all this might be possible with the head, but never fully with the heart.
I've come to this place to understand, and tried to listen to my heart.
I remember the moment I entered tsunami area, and suddenly realized the thing in front of me was a tsunami disaster memorial, a line indicating the tsunami wave level, high above my head. My heart just missed a beat.
I remember listening to a survivor, who lost her mother and brother, asking her questions, looking at her face and into her eyes, while all she could do was whisper "I must be strong. I must be strong." That moment my heart sent tears to my eyes.
I remember the moment I traveled through a desolate area, a barren land as far as the eye could see, void of any human existence except for a few construction workers. Looking at my map at that very place it still showed the letters forming the name of a town. Rikuzen Takata. Big letters, suggesting I was in a big town, right there, right then. That moment my heart sent shivers down my spine.
I will not forget.