When I turned on the TV this morning while getting dressed for work, one of the first things I saw was a beautiful picture of an older Japanese woman smiling in a lush green garden. She looked at peace with her life but also ready to do so much more. I couldn’t understand the Japanese on the news program, but once I heard the words “Namerikawa Koukou,” I knew instantly that this was a photo of Yoshiko Hirauchi, the 61-year-old retired principal of Namerikawa High School. She had been missing since the devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit New Zealand last month. She was confirmed dead on Sunday.
This is from an article in Japan Today: “Hirauchi was among the 28 students from a language school in the city of Toyama studying at King’s Education language school, located in a six-story building housing Canterbury TV that collapsed in Christchurch. The other 27 Japanese students remain unaccounted for.”
This news put me in a somber mood, and my thoughts are with her family as well as with the families of the other victims. My friend Jenson, who works at Namerikawa High School and knew Hirauchi-sensei, wrote this eloquent blog post about her life today. He expresses a lot of feelings that I can’t quite articulate. Be well, everyone.