I suspect just about everyone has at least one period of time - a moment, a season, a year, or more - that is especially significant, with an impact upon their lives that may be instantly obvious ... or not even recognized until much later. One of mine was the summer of '75, when I journeyed with a troop of Boy Scouts from Pennsylvania and New York, to the town of Lillehammer, Norway - site of the 14th World Scout Jamboree. An acquaintance I made in the course of that journey was a Boy Scout from Japan, Kiichirou Kamio. At one point in the Jamboree, 20,000 Scouts from around the world were organized into the multi-national patrols, and sent backpacking into the mountains around Lillehammer, at the height of a Nordic summer ... I can think of worse ways to spend one's time. Here's our patrol ... that's Kiichirou and I on the right.
In the years that followed the Jamboree, he and I kept in touch intermittently, by mail and by telephone. Sometimes the letters would be accompanied by cards, mementos of our countries, and wedding pictures. We hadn't kept in touch so much in recent years ... there was our work (he's a restaraunteur, I've been all kinds of things), and our families, and our moves from one city to another.
Yet, as the news continued to stream-in today from Japan - earthquakes and tsunamis, fires and floods, death and devestation - I found myself thinking of Kiichirou (who several years ago had moved from Hiroshima to the coastal city of Iwakuni), and hoping he was alright ...
... and it turns out, he is. I know this courtesy of a Facebook connection that didn't even exist at the start of this year, but was there now. I'll let Kiichirou fill you in on the rest ...
"Thank you worried for me. This earth-quake was 5th-biggest since 1900. But here west part of Japan, there is not any trouble. I have usual life. It is said there will be about 1000 people died. Because of under the broken bildings and houses, and "Tsunami". Especially Tsunami's broken is hard, floated cars, floated houses, people who run away and are late, people who do not know tunami occurred, people who do not think so big wave comes. Tsunami's height is much over forecast, 3m-7m high."
"Japanese earth-quake measures is top level of the world. When earth-quake occurs, the signal 'earth-quake comes soon' appears on TV and Radio quickly. So we can go to more safety space near by.(in house or bilding under the desk etc.) or can make safe action; runs away from big machines; stop the dangerous machines) Before shake comes . And then people near sea or river run go to higher place. But unfortunately people who don't know this message, who can't make safty action (old people, on dangers work,etc.), who don't think damage is not so big, are have big damage. Lose own life, injured, lose cars. New houses and bildings don't have big damage. But old ones are have big damage. Law of building construction is severe in Japan, so few people was damaged on this earth-quake."
Those who want to help can go to www.redcross.org and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.