In another 7 hours, the Samurai and I would have been on our way to the airport. Another 6 and a half hours later, we would have landed at the Narita Airport, then taken the Narita Express to Tokyo Station, and from there, we would have taken the Hayate Shinkansen to Sendai. Estimated arrival time at Sendai would be 5.38pm.
If we have just left a day earlier, we would have been caught in the middle of Japan's biggest earthquake ever recorded in history, with a magnitude of 8.8 (upgraded to 9.0 on Sunday) on the seismic scale, followed by a devastating tsunami that hit Sendai City, flooding even the Sendai Airport, and severely damaging the northeastern coastlines. As it is, my flight has been cancelled due to the shutdown of Narita Airport, and I have also cancelled all my hotel bookings. As I am writing this, my eyes remain glued to the CNN channel looking in disbelief at the horrifying scenes of the massive devastation in my beloved adopted country. We might have been there; at the worst, we might have been one of the casualities; at the very least we would have been stranded somewhere and frightened out of our wits by the tens of strong aftershocks that kept rocking the country.
When I first heard the news, I was angry that my long planned for holiday was going down the drain. Later, as the magnitude of the disaster sank in, I realized that God is truly watching over us and we couldn't be more incredibly blessed. Already on Wednesday, Japan was hit by an offshore quake of 7.2 which shook buildings in Tokyo but caused no damage. I was uneasy, but I was aware that Japan was one of the most earthquake prone countries in the world. We even experienced a minor one during our day trip to Nikko, although the realization came to us only after the event. Despite my concerns, I knew that Japan was one of the most quake-prepared countries in the world, so we were going ahead with our holiday plans. Who would have predicted that an even bigger quake would occur just 2 days later?!
At this moment, I am looking sadly at the number of casulties rising every hour, and no one could give an accurate picture as yet on the extent of the damage wrought by this disaster. We were supposed to visit Matsushima Bay, which is one of Japan's 3 Most Beautiful Sights, but now its fate is uncertain after the fierce tsunamis battered the coastlines. I cannot imagine how long it would take for Sendai and the general Tohoku area to recover, but I pray it would be soon. All my thoughts and prayers are on the Japanese people.
As for the fate of our holiday, it appears that my rendezvous with my Zao snow monsters, my Sakura and plum blossoms would be postponed indefinitely. But at least, we are still alive to wait for the next opportunity, all thanks to God.