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    Posted March 6, 2012 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Japan one year later: What’s changed?

    More from christinaras

    JAPAN: "We Found Love in a Hopeless Place"


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     christinaras met a good-looking guy a few weeks before the massive Japan earthquake. Hiroshi Inaba seemed nice enough, but she was focused on her life and her future, so she turned down his requests for a date. A day after the earthquake, Inaba started calling and texting her with updates on his safety; she found herself doing the same for him.

    'At first, it was such a euphoria to have an escape from the turmoil we were having but as we were both recovering, we found that strong companionship of getting over and moving on. Having some love in your heart gives you inspiration, reason, strength, optimistic perspective and it gave me a new direction when I almost didn't know what to do next,' she said.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    “We found Love in a Hopeless Place…”


    Indeed, March 11 Earthquake-Tsunami in Japan was a Tragedy. We did lost thousands of lives, hopes, dreams and future. Each person, who was in Japan wherever they were at that time, will have their own story and experience to tell. As expected, horrible and bad things were mostly be on the most part of their version. I could still tell if what are the bad effects, how it changed me and the consequences that I had to deal or experience because of the tragedy on the day itself and the aftermath. Outrage of scare, worries, uncertainty and trauma were what we felt during those time but we survived and moved on with what life has in store for us after. Despite the given unpleasant things it brought, a pleasant and wonderful thing also happened to me. For sure, others have their own positive side of their story to express too.


    As the song goes, “We found love in a hopeless place…” in spite of everything bad happened.


    It was Mid-February of 2011 when a good friend of mine introduced me to his friend who has been eagerly asking him about me. That moment, even though he seems like a nice and good-looking guy, I thought I am not yet ready for love and a boyfriend albeit I already liked a guy in my school. We roamed around Omotesando (Tokyo), chatting, talking while two of their friends were teasing and was just having fun. I never felt anything or had no interest somehow. Afterwards, he started adding me to Facebook, e-mailing me, asking my number and e-mail, calling me and asking me out but I just entertained him a bit and never really gave him a chance.


    Even-though Kanto Region wasn`t the epicenter of the Earthquake and the Tsunami, all over Japan was affected with a very strong Earthquake everywhere, aftershocks and the bad effects that followed.


    I never got to talk to him because we were all busy dealing with the situation, minding our own business, doing safety precaution and worrying about our loved ones too. I got home on my mother`s birthday (March 12, 2011). We still managed to celebrate despite of many establishments that were closed by eating somewhere and did karaoke nearby. On that day, he started calling me several times. We were updating and somehow consoling each other. Afterwards, we never knew what will going to happen next, what`s in store for us, we were uncertain of the situation and worrying was the main feeling we had. Everything was changing and drastically getting worse. There was the meltdown and radiation scare in Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. There was panic-buying, scarcity of necessity goods, large number of people going out of the country, difficulty of getting plane tickets, continuous aftershocks, traumas, limited train operation, closed establishments, no classes, no work/half-days and simply worried about almost everything. We, my family, couldn`t just go home because of some personal concerns. All we had to do was to monitor everything, be alert and be update always. All I was doing were my part-time job, studying, learning things regarding the news and just in the house.


    At those times, he would kept on calling me, texting me and update me. With the situation and Japan`s condition that time, we never got the chance to see each other. I am living in Saitama and he is living in Kanagawa which is a 2hour journey. I still had no classes. He had no work yet and was moving to a new apartment. Whenever aftershock happened, he would call me and/or we would text each other regarding our safety. Whenever he had some information or updates, he would inform me right away and I found myself doing it for him too. Even though I have friends, I never got to see them because they`re living so far and they were scared going outside, also, some gone out of the country. He was living alone and in the middle of the way, we found comfort, escape and joy to each other. Undeniably, we were so worried, lonely, sad and uncertain with many things that were going around. It was getting worse and hopeless but through our communication, I never thought we were already building something out of it. When the radiation scare was on the rise, He even offered me and my family for a temporary shelter in their home which is in the Southern part of Japan if things come to worse. There were many nights that we would go on talking through Skype until dawn. Those were the means where we could have intimate talks, know each other deeply and the only given time that we can be ourselves freely. Certainly, it was a great escape from the turmoil that the tragedy brought us. Eventually, Japan was getting normal and started to move on. My class resumed and his work started too. My life was getting back and he never failed to text me every morning, every night and every day. Hence, I realized that I have many things to do and deal of the concerns which was cost by the tragedy`s effect. He was still consistent with me. I found myself divided with should I or should I not continue life here in Japan, was doing both work and study, doubts, deciding plans on the latter part of the year and many things came. He asked me out many times but I never say yes. We continually did talk and communicate through Skype, calling, texting and e-mailing for almost 3 months and never met or saw each other in person.


    There were times that I want to give up and was hopeless since I`m just new and a foreigner in Japan. He was always there along the way and not giving up of having me or even just seeing me in person again. He was still in frenzy of the courting, giving me his full attention and asking me out where he almost loses hope. I was already focus with my life and plan to recover or make things right but then whatever I do and at the end of the day, it always leads me to him. Afterwards, I saw myself stuck with my dull life and done daily unhealthy routine. Since I was a teenager up to college and until that day, I never gave myself a chance to love and be loved by someone else because of focusing with my life and future. At that stage, I realized that maybe it was the right moment to give time, let go and make room for love. After almost 3 months, I said yes for us to go out and finally we saw each other again. Days and weeks came by, we were constantly dating until he asked me to be his girlfriend. I was already determined that I`d gave him a chance. Finally, we were a couple. He started doing his artwork, was going to class while working and passed the highest level of Japanese Language Proficiency Test. I did continue studying which I`ll be graduating this 9th of March, stopped my performing arts activity, found a good and new job that I could go for full-time and having a sense of direction now. On the latter part of the year, we did struggle, had difficulties, had been to in bad times, hopeless and got frustrated with many obstacles but despite those things, it gave us the courage, strength, love, hope and support that made us stronger, fighter and we are continually working harder together. There are several times that because of the situation and condition of Japan, it did break us, torn us apart and almost close to giving up with each other but we never did. It has been a hopeless place and moment but along the road we found love that molds us to be what we are now today. This March will be our 10th month as a couple that was made and built out of the tragedy.



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