Japan is a country of many wonders, delights, sights and experiences. Unfortunately, those experiences are occasionally negative, even terrifying. We are talking about natural disasters. Few other countries in the world experience the sheer number and variety of natural disasters that Japan does, from floods and typhoons to earthquakes and volcanoes: they have it all.


Courtesy of the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund
Courtesy of the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the great Hanshin earthquake, perhaps one of the worst natural disasters in Hyogo prefecture’s history. Even more recently, during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, three JETs lost their lives along with nearly 16,000 other people. This lead to the creation of the documentary Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story, as well as the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund which seeks to support survivors of the 2011 disaster. The fact of the matter is, prepared or not, all of us can be affected.


So what does that mean for foreigners living in japan? Many of us have never encountered a natural disaster anywhere near the scale of what is in Japan. On top of that, we have no spectrum of preparedness if such an event occurs. That means we need to educate ourselves.


On the 18th of October, the National Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching (AJET) and the Japan Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association (JETAA) will be hosting a disaster awareness and preparedness seminar (D-prep event) at the Canadian Academy on Rokko Island in Kobe. It will be a day-long event from 10am to 5pm and cover a range of activities. There will be a screening of portions of the Taylor Anderson documentary. A survival skills demonstration and seminar for a variety of useful tasks will be held, such as how to create and cook on an emergency stove and how to make your own survival kit. There will also be numerous speeches and lectures covering a variety of disaster prevention and awareness skills. In addition, there will be a full scale simulation to let you test out all your new skills.


It’s true we can’t stop a natural disaster, but after this seminar, should one occur, you’ll be feeling far more ready than you would without it. So sign up on Facebook for the “[JETAA/AJET] D-Prep: A disaster awareness and preparedness event” and go along and enjoy a day of information and activities. And in case you were wondering how this awesome day could get even better, guess what. It’s free.


Rackle Beaman