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    April Fools - Then and now

    • Perspective reflecting upon the 72nd anniversary of the April Fool's tsunami...

    April 1, 2018 - Easter Sunday, April Fool's day and the 72nd anniversary of a destructive Pacific wide tsunami.


    April 1 1946 2:28 AM HST.  An earthquake in the Aleutian islands (Alaska) generates a tsunami that travels across the Pacific ocean.  6:45 AM HST, a little under 5 hours, the tsunami strikes the Big Island of Hawai'i causing massive damage along the coast and resulting in 159 deaths statewide.  


    Residents had no warning and no time to evacuate.  This event led to the creation of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and the deployment of tools to learn more about tsunamis and to help predict when and where they might strike.


    The idea of the tsunami has always held a strange fascination for me and I now live in a place that is unusually susceptible to their effects.  I see reminders of their destructive potential daily.  We have a beautiful park upon which there was once a Japanese settlement known as Shinmachi.  Shinmachi was devastated in 1946 and, after rebuilding, tragedy struck once again in 1960.


    Shinmachi was not rebuilt and the bayfront is now one large park where many people enjoy recreational activities, unaware of what was once there.  I woke up today and Shinmachi was on my mind so I decided to write an article in memory of them and all others that suffered on that tragic April Fool's day when the normally placid ocean played a particularly cruel prank with little warning.


    I don't particularly believe in places being haunted but, if a place could be haunted, Shinmachi would surely fit the bill.


    Then and now...




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    Some historians believe the April Fools' customs began in France, although no one knows for sure.
    It may stem from a calendar change in 16th century France -- the moving of New Year's Day from April 1 to January 1 when the Gregorian calendar was adopted.
    People who continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April 1st rather than the new date of January 1st were referred to as "April fools" and others played tricks on them.

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