Anyone who knows me would know that I'd include the Sky Tree in a list of things I love. I moved to Tokyo when the Sky Tree was being constructed and every day saw the tower become taller. Now it's open to the public, I've never actually been up to the viewing deck because I figure there is no point seeing a view of Tokyo without the Sky Tree in it.
The day of the earthquake, I was at my Japanese school. After all the confusion died down, I wanted to get home even though we'd been told it was possible to stay at the school. One of the staff helped me map out a route to Tokyo station where I could catch a bus.
I walked with the crowds in silence. Everyone in shock over what had happened. It wasn't a long walk to the station, maybe about 5 km. But, when I got there, it was like a post-apocalyptic scene. Total chaos with no one knowing what the hell was going on. The bus I needed to catch sure as hell wasn't leaving from the spot it was supposed and I shivered by the moat of the Imperial Palace.
Eventually I found people queuing for a bus and searched for the end of the line. I walked blocks and blocks as that line snaked down the street. I'd not be getting on any bus for hours. Instead, I decided to walk the rest of the way home. Luckily I'd worn comfortable shoes.
I followed the train line home so I didn't get lost. The temperature had dropped and wind cut through me. All I wanted was to get home and be in my own bed. With the number of people walking, you realise how strong that urge is. At that time, I didn't even know if our house still stood. I lived with my housemates in a traditional Japanese house that was over 80 years old and never felt real solid.
As I followed that train line, the other thing I really wanted was to see the Sky Tree. Somehow, I believed that if I could see that tower lit up in the night, I'd be near to home and I'd be safe. I seemed to walk forever until I saw it.
I'll never forget that walk home. The people I met and the people I walked with in silence. The cold and the confusion. And the relief at seeing the Sky Tree and knowing I would make it home.