Monday, March 12, 2012

Wasurenai 3.11

(Never forget 3.11)

I'm back from a one-week stay in Tokyo.

It's been a great week although it got difficult because of the rains and the one-digit temperatures excluding windchill (at some point, it reached 5 degrees Celsius that "feels like" 2 degrees Celsius because of windchill).

Well, my family isn't so well-off to afford frequent travels (much more to one of the most expensive cities in the world). I've only been working for less than a year and it's not like I'm a earning a lot. After all, I'm teaching in a state university. That's why I feel soooooo blessed to be able to go to Tokyo at such a young age. Yes, Japan is one of my dream destinations but knowing how expensive it is (especially Tokyo), I knew I wasn't going there so soon.

Lots of plum blossoms (ume) in Tokyo Institute of Technology!

One year ago, I was a struggling graduating BS student who was so busy with her research on earthquake vulnerability. I especially remember that day: March 11, 2011. It was a Friday, a very busy day with meetings from noon until night when suddenly, one of the professors said that a tsunami just hit Japan. It was a devastating disaster. Even I felt chills down my spine after seeing all the photos from the news and from the internet. Our hearts go to Japan.

And then one year after the disaster, my professor pushes me to present a paper in a conference in Tokyo for the commemoration of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

I learned a lot during the conference. Perhaps most of the papers presented were too technical for just a BS graduate like me (and sometimes, if not most of the time, I couldn't understand the accent of the presenters because the delegates come from different countries) but it was a great learning experience. And it made me realize just how much research and development the Philippines still needs when it comes to earthquake engineering. After all, we lie along the Pacific Ring of Fire.

I was also very very nervous during my presentation time that my hands were freezing! But I think I did well and some delegates even told me "nice presentation" afterward. It was such a relief.

All wrapped up in front of TokyoTech's main building

Those are sakura (cherry blossom) trees leading to the main building. Too bad I was a few weeks early to catch them bloom. But at least I saw ume!

TokyoTech's library (that triangular building) and Ma'am Sandy (former co-instructor who left to study at the University of Tokyo). TokyoTech library looks soooo cool.

It's been a year after the disaster. Wasurenai 3.11.

And now I have to get back to working. I'm sure lots of work piled up while I was away.


  1. Good job, Claire! Congratulations! :)

    I remember seeing those photos, but I must say I greatly admire Japan for the speed with which they were able to recover. But then again, I guess no one can really recover from a tragedy of that magnitude, so I need a better word for that.

    1. Thank you Krissy! ^_^

      That's true. Japan is truly worth the admiration. Apparently, there are still things they still need to fix (like the relocation of people who were moved out from Fukushima). But there are also things that amazed me like how most of the buildings (even buildings in Sendai) did not suffer heavy structural damage despite that very strong earthquake and how they study and do their best to make a lot of measures to prevent such a tragedy again.

  2. Congrats! :D I love the surroundings!

    Almira :)

    1. Pretty campus, right? But UP is much much bigger (it's just that the buildings in UP are too old haha).