On March 11, 2011, I was booked on a direct flight from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Narita International Airport halfway across the world in Japan.
Seeing the Japanese care for each other and refuse to fall into despair always leaves me with hope for their culture and country.
On March 11 of last year, just minutes after the earthquake, I woke to the sound of my phone. It was a message from one of my favorite former students in Japan.
In spite of the 3/11 disaster, and amidst economic and political upheaval in many parts of the world, the fact is that Japan remains remarkably stable.
On the first anniversary of that horrific event, we will be copiously reminded of the death, suffering and destruction. Anne Thomas reminds us, instead, of the acts of kindness, capturing our collective, global empathy.
On our deployment we saw what it meant for people to be able to live with dignity again, taking the most basic life ingredients we were able to provide.
The Fukushima earthquake speeded up the planet's rotation by 1.8 microseconds per revolution, so our day is now 1.8 microseconds shorter than it was last year. Now go explain to your boss why you weren't able to get that report finished on time.
What is most needed for Japan to get out of its current intellectual slump and to restore vitality are government and corporate sectors that espouse transparency and accountability consistently and over time.
The disaster at Fukushima last year exposed how entrenched interests among key decision-makers have contaminated Japanese society, endangering the long-term prosperity of Japan.
You can't just keep rolling out sensationalized headlines about this story every couple of months without some "new" news to report along with it. We need accurate, up-to-date information about the tsunami debris and how it might affect our lives.
The only sounds were of distant earth movers, the whistling of the wind and the call of the crows, for the moment at least the only true residents of Onagawa.
While the bluefin tuna is widely acknowledged to be a threatened fish, the price paid Thursday for one 593-pound catch is more a show of nationalism and marketing saavy than a sign of how endangered the tuna has become.
The tsunami debris is real, it is out there, and we are tracking it. By every measure, it represents an environmental disaster coming toward us. So does it really matter what people call it? I think it does.
Today we put on our final youth clinic of this incredible trip and it was one of my favorite days because it took place in Kiyoto, the hometown of my friend, Sachio Kinugasa, the Japanese "Iron Man".
For me, the saddest stories are about needless human suffering, suffering caused by greed, hate, or more maddeningly, the inability of responsible people to act responsively. Minamata and Fukushima are both that kind of story.