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    Posted February 22, 2012 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Japan one year later: What’s changed?

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    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     christinaras sent iReports during the Japan earthquake and came back with an update on what life is like in Japan one year later. The 24-year-old was on the fourth floor of her school when the quake struck and it took her a day to walk to her home in Iruma, Saitama prefecture. Read about the arc of her emotions and personal experiences.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    “A Year After: Continuous Recovery and Taking Actions”

    A year after the Japan Earthquake (March 11, 2011), many things had happened and had changed. I could still remember the exact scene, moment and chronological happening of that fated day. Fortunately, I wasn`t living near Tohoku Region where an area of it experienced the triple disaster (Earthquake, Tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear PowerPlant Meltdown), plus, the dangerous radiation it caused.

    Nowadays, Life is still not that easy and we can never forget but we can move on. Whenever I see images and videos of the victims who lost their homes, family, wealth and friends, it made me feel blessed and value what I still have. It gave me a realization that even a peaceful and a highly-advanced technology country can be damaged and experienced disaster. With the radiation scare that would still reach a certain area in Japan, conserving electricity and a continuous process of recovery, Japan and the people living in it will have to work together, be respectful, be aware and knowledgeable with their surroundings. As the world witnessed what happened in Japan, I hope they would open their minds, be thankful of what they have, always be prepared or alert and be aware of their environment.

    How it really affected or changed me as a person or my life? During this one year period of time, the consequences and effects of the Earthquake affected my plans, perspective and attitude of dealing life especially as a foreigner in Japan. I had to make a plan B. I was very frustrated that living in Japan will be worthless. It was traumatizing and depressing. However, since Japan has such a fast-pace life, moving on and continuing life normally is a must.

    -Despite the agony and discouraging things I saw on TV, Internet and/or even in Social Networking site, I chose to be more optimistic, productive and resourceful in my everyday life.
    -If you`re living in Japan, you have to always be alert, have presence of mind and active or else you`ll be left out and won`t move on with your life. That was the attitude of Japanese towards the situation but calmly and we always have to go with the flow.
    -I also became more aware of the culture and places. I followed rules and regulations rightly since they`re good with an instant action, strict and organized.
    -Our class got delayed for about 3weeks and I could have learned many things in that period of time. On the other hand, all I did was to do my part-time job and work with my Japanese co-workers which gave me the chance and focus to practice my Japanese ability.
    -Since a lot of establishments are closed and jobs became harder to find, life and expenses are so difficult at those times. It gave me the urge to work harder in my job and eagerly search for a better one. I became more practical and mature in decision-making.
    -I realized that we will never know what will happen the next day or week or year and so we always have to put our best foot forward every day. After everything almost recovered, I jump start right away with the next steps, moves and plans of the latter part of the year. It was quite difficult, exhausting and sometimes hopeless but giving up is never a good option.
    - I have many dreams and goals I want to achieve. I learned that we shouldn`t let even a disaster get in the way. We are lucky to be alive, be healthy and still have opportunities while some had already lost theirs. We should never take it for granted. Also, having a coward, slow, afraid, panicky and negative attitude won`t help you at all.
    -I came from a religious family and a Catholic. Through those moments, I never fail to pray to God. I always have faith and trust in him.

    On a lighter note. Afterwards, during those months, I became more involved in school. We continued doing daily classes, tests, doing the scheduled activities like Cherry Blossoms Viewing, Summer Trip in Mt. Fuji, Omatsuri, Hanabi, Sports Day and more. I joined many organizations and met new people like in Church where I became a volunteer and Choir Member. I continued working and doing extra-curricular activities. I force myself to search and discover more of what I can find in Japan to improve and progress. I gain more friends, opportunity and knowledge. I re-connected with other people in my home country. Definitely, there were ups and downs but surely there is always hope.

    It was a huge disaster that even the world got glued and was frightened of. It will be a long journey of recovery but future is ahead of us. I think the good thing to do is to move forward and take actions. We can look back but we should never go back. It`s a New Year (2012). Let`s all rise and continue life. Let`s all pray for Japan and especially the victims who suffered much. Let`s hope and pray for other parts of the world who suffered such tragedies, natural disaster, war and lost. God Bless us all. Have a great year ahead everyone.
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