Cherry On TopThe day was like any ordinary day. We were all set to go to a hot spring and this picture was taken from a coach. The guide said we would go near the mountain but not too near. At that time they were speculating that it might have some volcanic activities unsuitable for travelers. It had not erupted since the 18th century. But we were told to be cautious. Anyway we had a good ride to the place famous for its hot spring. The idea of a sleepy mountain suddenly woke up and erupting into an inferno was a bit unsettling for the travelers.
But the company was good and some sang songs to cheer up the rest.
We started early in the morning but arrived in the evening due to slow traffic and closure of certain stretches of the highway. There was no road rage even though traffic was crawling and we moved practically in terms of inches. I looked out of the window and saw other drivers and passengers unperturbed and calm sitting in their cars and waited to inch forward. As a mere traveler I could only look at the people superficially. The mountains looked beautiful from afar. And we were told not to go near. I did not visit the country again after December 2007. In 2011 it was struck with the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to have hit Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900.
I quote below passages from the wikipedia: “Japan has also been the site of some of the 10 worst natural disasters of the 21st century. The types of natural disasters in Japan include tsunamis, floods, typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. The country has gone through many years of natural disasters, affecting its economy, development, and social life. The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami were devastating.On 10 March 2015, a Japanese National Police Agency report confirmed 15,894 deaths,6,152 injured, and 2,562 people missing across twenty prefectures, as well as 228,863 people living away from their home in either temporary housing or due to permanent relocation. The tsunami caused nuclear accidents, primarily the level 7 meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex, and the associated evacuation zones affecting hundreds of thousands of residents.”
An internet blogging Japanese friend who used to work and stay in Tokyo lost contact after the disaster. We used to share one common interest: We were both avid fans of Kazuo Ishiguro (who created remarkable stories of love, loss and hidden truths in The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go.) and we both liked the movie Australia. His website remained the same as many years ago and froze in a space and time. I gave up visiting his web blog eventually.