As the longer days and warmer temperatures are getting most Central Island residents thinking about the coming spring, to Shino Yoneda it just brings thoughts of an entirely different nature.
“I am thinking about the first anniversary of The Great Tohoku Earthquake,” the Qualicum Beach resident said.
That earthquake spawned a triple disaster for the island nation, with the shaker followed by a tsunami of epic proportions and then a radiation emergency at a crippled nuclear reactor.
Yoneda, fresh back from a visit to Japan to place 1,000 paper cranes at the peace park in Hiroshima, said she read about an event called Humanband on Route 3.11, which will involve over half a million volunteers joining hands over a 500-kilometre stretch of coastline where the tsunami wreaked its havoc on March 11, 2011.
“Ever since I saw that I’ve been inviting people I know to join in to pray for the deceased, the victims, and also for the gratitude that we are alive, and that Tohoku will revive,” she said. “I also would like to invite anybody to this prayer who is wondering how those people are doing in Japan.”
During the event in Japan, participants will stand hand-in-hand along the shoreline of the affected area of the Tohoku region and pray for 33 seconds. After that they will sing an old Japanese folk song, Furusato, about loving homeland. Then each participant will plant a flower seed of flower to create a trail of optimism.
About 50,000 amateur and professional volunteer photographers will take photographs of this event and they will connect to make the world’s largest commemorative photograph.
The silent prayer will start at the dawn in Fukushima on Sunday, March 11 in Japan, which works out to 12:50 p.m. on Saturday, March 10 in Qualicum Beach.
Yoneda will be joining that prayer at that time and she’s hoping other Qualicum Beach residents will join her outside the concession at the beach.
“I personally think we should expand the prayer to all the area natural disasters hit in the world and all the people who were and are suffering from them in New Zealand, Haiti, Thailand. … so many places over the world,” she said. “I would like to take this opportunity to think about nuclear power plants, because this man-made disaster in Fukushima has affected not only the people in that area but also all living creature of the whole planet.”
Yoneda said she would welcome anyone to join her at the beach, but if they can’t, she would like them to think about humanity’s future wherever they are for 33 seconds at 12:50 p.m. on March 10.