woman with tousled hair against devastated wall

An unhappy New Year / 明けましておめでたくない


On New Year’s Day, as I do every year, I paid a New Year’s visit to a local shrine to pray to the deities enshrined there for the development and prosperity of the Imperial nation and the happiness of all the people, to buy a shrine calendar to check my good fortune around my star for this year and to draw an omikuji to predict my fortune for this year. Then, I gathered around a festive meal with my relatives to celebrate each other’s health and pray for a safe and peaceful year ahead…until we heard the news of the earthquake and tsunami centered on the Noto Peninsula in the afternoon.

As reported worldwide, on New Year’s Day afternoon, a magnitude-7.6 earthquake centered on the Noto Peninsula, followed by intermittent aftershocks, devastated the cities of Wajima and Suzu and surrounding towns. The following massive tsunamis swept away some parts of those towns. Residential houses and commercial buildings were destroyed. The morning market in Wajima was burnt down. Dozens were reported dead, and rescue efforts are underway for hundreds of people believed to be buried alive. Those who escaped death fled to shelters, enduring the cold and inadequate water and food rations. They will have to live in squalor for years to come until they can rebuild their homes.

On January 2, a Japan Airlines airplane collided with a smaller plane of the Japan Coast Guard at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. All crew and passengers of JAL miraculously managed to evacuate off the plane alive, but 5 out of 6 crew members of the JCG were confirmed dead.


On January 3, a believed-to-be-mentally-ill young woman on the train approaching Akihabara, Tokyo, stabbed at random several men near her on the same train simply because she wanted to attempt to kill somebody. The victims were hospitalized, but all of their lives were not in danger.

On the fourth day, a 12-story building in Nishi-Shinjuku, Tokyo, was on fire, injuring seven people.


As mentioned above, some misfortune has struck Japan every day since the beginning of this year. Has this country finally been cursed?









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