March 22, 2011

Pray for Japan. ~ Yoshi Aono

Prayers are going out to Japan en masse.

As the news unfolds, I feel a deep ache for those who are in pain and suffering. Being Japanese, I feel a bond with my people unlike ever before. We are community. We are all connected.

It’s been heart-wrenching to see what Japan has gone through in the past week. The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear situation has led to deep worry and sadness for all affected. Japanese Emperor Akihito made an unprecedented televised speech to a country in silent mourning. Symbolically, this expressed how grave the situation is. The Japanese may be silent in their strength, but there is a deep well of feeling underlying the efforts to handle these events.

According to my cousin in Miyagi Prefecture is that over 10,000 were killed. Most passed because of drowning. They did not expect the Tsunami to go as far inland as it did. It’s so very tragic and I can’t imagine what went through people’s minds as they realized they were not out of harm’s way. It is winter there and snow has been falling. I pray for shelter and food for those left homeless.

At this time, there is a calm, general demeanor amongst the people. There’s no looting because of an unspoken unity and respect amongst one another. Japan has the world in quiet amazement with reports of calm and order during the past week. There is an energetic connectedness that allows the country to work as a whole. My father reminded me that the deep, unified sense of community during events such as this, while tragic, is when the Japanese inner warrior shines through.

I am inspired by the actions of the people while truly heartbroken at what has happened to my homeland. As events unfold, I can’t help but feel a deep connectedness – their pain being my pain. I am confident that the Japanese will be courageous and get through the earthquake and tsunami.

In my heart, I am deeply scared about the nuclear situation. I don’t have an answer for that. It is a situation that no people or government can truly be prepared for. We know that if any country can be strong and resilient, it is Japan. Daily conversations with family quickly turn emotional. My mother reiterates how lucky we are that we have our lives and each other. We understand the danger that our people are in and constantly set our intentions towards the best possible outcome.

There must be an understanding that these events will directly affect us on the other side of the planet. Our global food supply chain will be extremely challenged. The world economies will be drastically effected by this week’s events. The health and environmental impact is incalculable. Our planet has become much smaller, and no individual, let alone country is an island unto themselves. If we are to thrive as a species, mass awareness that we are part of one global community must come about. I ask how we are going to make this happen? Will there be a shift in thinking from: how do I take care of my selfish needs vs. how are we going to take care of our collective needs? Where do you begin? The shift needs to start at home, in our communities.

Compassion, empathy and perspective will lead the charge to create a higher global consciousness. Be kind to one another, and when things are rough for you, acknowledge that there are thousands amongst thousands who are barely able to survive on a day to day basis. Be aware, be vulnerable, and know that as we do our best we receive the best in this life. Please pray for Japan and pray for our global community.


Yoshi Aono’s passion for all things adventurous has led him around the world. He is involved in extreme, disaster zone and third-world humanitarianism. His reputation has garnered support from companies such as Prana, Gaiam, Crocs, amongst others.

Yoshi is Co-Founder and Managing Director for Boulder, Colorado’s large-scale yoga and music festival: Hanuman Festival. You can read his blog here.

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