Ten years

On 11th of March 2011, it was a Friday, I was walking the streets of Tokyo trying to find a restaurant for a late lunch.
Everyone has lived a day that they will never forget, of which they remember every moment with precision, in my case it was that day of ten years ago.

It was when the strongest earthquake on record arrived. The shock began like many others, the buildings began to tremble, only instead of stopping after a few seconds, violent jolts began. 

The ground began a wave movement giving me the impression of not having a reliable surface to stand on. This sense of instability as if you were on a boat or a rope bridge was deeply unsettling. 
All the skyscrapers around me were swinging so wide that I thought would soon crash down.
The sound of electricity wires banging on the street was soon replaced by a low, widespread roar covering everything. 

At that point, what I remember most clearly was the sense of helplessness.


There were other people near me, and I just ran after them to a wide open space, away from the building. 
Despite the natural sense of restlessness, I felt calm because I didn’t see them panic, take advantage of the situation or try to save themselves at the expense of others.

After an interminable time the first shock subsided.
The sky that a little earlier promised a clear winter day was almost covered with dark, threatening clouds.
Tokyo was blocked: the trains did not move and all those who had left work had to walk home.
The shops and convenience stores were completely out of food because they had to feed everyone who hadn’t eaten at home or at the restaurant. 
Walking around the city it was clear that everyone had had the scariest experience of their life at the same time; the streets were dark due to the closures of the shops and the reductions in the supply of energy.
It took me all the day until late evening to arrive back home, continuously asking policemen for directions. 

The following days were dominated by a creeping and very tiring sense of fear: the aftershocks never subsided and with each vibration one had the impression that everything was starting all over again, perhaps in a stronger, more definitive way.
But in Tokyo we were lucky: meanwhile, a frightening tsunami struck on the east coast of Tohoku that would have wiped out the lives of more than 15 thousand people, towns and entire communities. And caused the disaster of the Dai Ichi nuclear reactor, spreading radiation in the surrounding area.
The places of life of hundreds of thousands of people simply no longer existed, the water had taken everything away.

Respect, that is what I learned. Disasters are unavoidable and can hit anyone.

The cover image I designed and printed on T-shirts to help raise money for the Japanese people.
It’s in the tragedy that we feel more connected.

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