Praying for Japan

Qualicum Beach residents gather at the beach on anniversary of Japanese disaster

Participants link hands during a silent prayer vigil on the anniversary of the Japanese earthquake disaster in Qualicum Beach.

Participants link hands during a silent prayer vigil on the anniversary of the Japanese earthquake disaster in Qualicum Beach.

The anniversary of the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan did not pass unnoticed on Saturday as 30 area residents joined Shino Yoneda for a prayer vigil at the beach.

“We had a nice break from the rain when over 30 caring people gathered at the concession in Qualicum Beach,” Yoneda said. “We stood on the beach hand-in -hand, facing the water and prayed for the deceased, the missing and the living in the Tohoku area. Our positive thoughts and healing energy were sent to the people over there.”

Yoneda said she plans to hold similar vigils every year on the anniversary of the disaster, which saw more than 19,000 people killed.

“Next year I will introduce a Japanese song, Furusato, which is an old folk song every Japanese person learns in an elementary school,” she said. “Also we would like to sing a Canadian song which brings peoples’ minds back to the good old days.”

Yoneda used the event to push a message of respect, calling on beachcombers on Vancouver Island’s west coast to be respectful of any tsunami debris they find washed up on the shore this summer.