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Glad to feel the sweet, fresh breeze

Tsunami survivor Isao Sato, a resident of Iwate Prefecture that was devastated by the March 11, 2011 disaster, wrote of his experience:

"From out of the blue, a huge tsunami came and washed away my home and all the material possessions I had worked for my whole life. But when I finally came to myself, I looked around and realized that I still had my family, and that this year, once again, the world was filled with the sweet, fresh breeze of early summer.”


Sato wrote this haiku:

身ひとつと (Mi hitotsu to) Bereft of belongings

なりて薫風 (narite kunpū) Yet blessed by the touch of the

ありしかな (arishi kana) Early summer breeze.

In this haiku we see a beautiful expression of how loss can give birth to gratitude for what remains. As if awakening from a bad dream, the poet feels the wonder of the breeze, bringing an awareness that he has survived the tragedy and is alive. Life goes on. Focusing on the beauty of the breeze is an act of courage that creates a new consciousness and will to live, overwhelming the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. This enduring faith in nature, despite the tragedies it brings, became a source of inspiration not only for the victims but for people everywhere in Japan who, like all humans, must exist in an uncertain world.


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