A Japanese bride resplendent in her all-white kimono and Tsunokakushi (wedding headgear), preparing for her traditional Shinto wedding ceremony. The headwear symbolizes the bride's promise to overcome jealousy and selfishness.
I visited Japan twice, during the Springs of 2006 and 2010. It ranks as one of my favorite countries, with its warm and friendly people as well as breathtaking sights. It is a land where shopkeepers bow to you from across the road as you walk by, where food appreciation approaches art, and where a loyal canine can be memorialized in a train station.
On March 11 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck near the east coast of Honshu. Tsunami waves to the height of 10 metres were subsequently unleashed across regions in northeastern Japan. The prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima were devastated, leaving thousands of people dead, injured and missing. Many have lost their homes and livelihoods, while countless others are affected by shortages of electricity, water and transportation. At the time of writing, Japan is also struggling to cool overheated reactors at the damaged Fukushima nuclear facility, failing which a nuclear meltdown will further add to the nation's woes.
Give a gift of new beginnings.