I've admired Japan for quite some time. I've never been to the Land of the Rising Sun (though taking a trip there is most definitely on my bucket list), but I've seen much of its beauty and culture through video, books, and pictures. I've even taken a course in Japanese through the Houston chapter of the Japan-America Society about 9 years ago, if nothing else, to better understand some of the Japanese-language cinema and anime I like to watch so I won't have to rely solely on the English subtitles at the bottom of the screen.
I also realize that Japan is a land prone to natural disasters. It's an easy target for typhoons and the rare tornado (yes, tornadoes are phenomenon not exclusive to the United States). But Japan sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, and while Fujiyama hasn't erupted in over 300 years, the island nation experiences something that is unfortunately all too commonplace; earthquakes!
Eight point nine!!! That's what the Richter scale initially measured on the quake that hit Japan over 48 hours ago. This dwarfs the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 measured at 7.9. That particular earthquake pretty much leveled Tokyo; the buildings of that era lacked the design and engineering to withstand powerful earthquakes, so most easily crumbled. This most recent quake, with its epicenter just offshore, triggered an exceptionally powerful tsunami with enormous waves crashing into the nearby Japanese shoreline within minutes. Some buildings could have withstood the quake itself, but sadly, they were no match for water coming onshore at 50 mph and over 20 ft. high. And now there's the possibility of the northeast part of Japan becoming another Chernobyl as the struggle continues to prevent nuclear meltdown.
All we can do now is hope and pray that a bad situation doesn't become worse. But in spite of all that's happen thus far, I believe the Japanese people and the nation at large are resilient enough to bounce back!