Yesterday the world remembered the earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan four years ago on 11 March 2011. Following these natural disasters, the College acknowledged the impacts of this tragedy through fundraising to support the victims, and in the special assembly upon the arrival of visiting students and staff from our sister school, Honjo Higashi High School.
A truly memorable image of this natural disaster would have to be of the one pine tree in Rikuzentakata (Iwate prefecture, Japan) withstanding all that Mother Nature had in her power to unleash four years ago. Over 70,000 pine trees covered the Rikuzentakata shoreline and, after the tsunami of 11 March, all but one survived.
This pine tree has been named by the Japanese people as a miracle, and is now called KISEKI NO IPPON MATSU - The Miracle Lone Pine Tree. To us, this tree is the epitome of the Japanese spirit that, no matter what hurdles are encountered, a way is always sought to overcome them by rising above, going beyond and greeting the morning sunrise standing tall and fearless. For the Miracle Lone Pine Tree keeps its colour all year round, thus being the perfect symbol for Japanese courage and beauty.
At 3:46pm (2:46pm Japan time) on Wednesday 11 March, the Languages Faculty paused for a moment, to reflect on just how grateful they are to be living such a fortunate existence, whilst others are still facing genuine hardship. The fact is that four years on, 250,000 Japanese people are still displaced, still unable to return to their homes. Close to 20,000 have been confirmed as dead or as missing, with some areas being classified as uninhabitable for decades to come.
"As language educators, we believe that it is vital to educate our students not only on the language elements, but also on the cultural aspects. The Languages’ Faculty staff feel very privileged to be sharing their passion of Japan with the A.B. Paterson College community. Our thoughts go out to all of those within our community who were directly, or indirectly, touched by this monumental tragedy, as well as to our sister school in Japan, Honjo Higashi."