Monday, March 11, 2013

Teaching 3.11 in 2013

3.11 continues to influence and impact Japanese society and culture. This semester in Contemporary Japanese Culture and Globalization class we spent a whole week (two class sessions) on the subject. The complexity of the subject can be illustrated by the sheer amount of research and articles dealing with the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster. Here are a list of sources that we were only able to scratch the surface of:

Visual 3/11 Materials at VAOJ

Teach 3.11

Digital Archives of Japan's 2011 Disasters

Japan Earthquake at Nagasaki Archive 

Beyond 3.11 - Stories of Recovery

Japan's 3.11 Earthquake, Tsunami, Atomic Meltdown at Japan Focus 

In the first class sessions students presented a timeline of the 3.11 events and discussed details of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster from the sources above. One student talked about his friend's experiences during the disasters and another student talked about his volunteer activities in the Tohoku.

The first class session covered a lot of information and set the scene for the second class session featuring a guest lecture from my former student, Ryoko Higashi, who experienced 3.11 in Ibaraki prefecture. Ms. Higashi talked about the earthquake itself and the damage it caused to her work place and home. She talked about her lack of food and water and her eventual evacuation from the area. This was the first time we had an actual 3.11 survivor speak in class and Ms. Higashi's presentation provided a whole new perspective on the subject and was very much appreciated by all. Today for the first time we were able to move beyond questions of how and why to what we can learn from the experiences and how we can live our lives to the fullest from now on. Many thanks to Ms. Higashi and all of my students. 

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