|From the NY Times.|
I applied to JET last year, as readers of this blog will know. My top choice was Sendai, what turned out to be one of the hardest hit cities. I could have been there when the earthquake and tsunami hit. I could have lost my apartment and all my possessions, like one JET teacher apparently did. But, had things gone differently, I would also be there right now, possibly helping in the relief effort. It's hard to look at pictures from so far away and not be able to help out. I donated to the Japan Society Relief Fund (and I encourage you to do the same; the box to the right of this story will take you to their site) but it still doesn't feel like enough.
I had pretty much decided I'd be staying in Korea for another year before this disaster struck. But I for sure won't be going to Japan for any length of time for awhile. Japanese nationals are being sent to foreign branches of companies to work. Friends of mine who were scheduled to go to Japan to teach English or go to school have been told to stay home. Of course, not all of Japan has been affected by this disaster but I imagine that ESL positions will suffer nation-wide. Priorities rightly will be shifted for probably years.
For now, I will continue to enjoy living in and exploring Korea, and I will continue to hope that the Japanese people are able to overcome this tragedy quickly.