As EDA is a global business, even for smaller companies, most of us periodically find ourselves on a plane to visit customers and partners in different countries in order to build a global presence and business. Japan is a key destination which many of us in EDA are quite familiar with, and as the Vice President of Worldwide Sales, you can imagine that I am on that plane frequently. I had planned a trip to Japan, and as luck would have it, my trip was moved up a week to accommodate a customer. I scrambled to make arrangements to visit one of my favorite places in the world in my usual manner.
My flight from SFO to Narita was familiar, typical and uneventful in every respect. Once in Japan, my itinerary was typical and as usual everything came off like clockwork. I made visits to customers, talked with vendors, had conversations with my GM, meals with colleagues, rides on the trains, and strolls along the bay in Yokohama; nothing unusual to report.
While waiting at the gate in Narita airport to board my flight home, suddenly we all found ourselves in a situation that was not part of our original itinerary, as Mother Nature hit us with a 9.0 earthquake. Nothing about this situation was business as usual. As a Californian, I’ve experienced earthquakes before, but nothing on this scale. The magnitude of the shaking and the duration of the quake astonished me, but what was even more amazing is that the airport terminal survived.
As air, rail and freeway travel were suspended and we did not know how long we would be living in the airport, what I then witnessed was much compassion, caring and sharing. Strangers helping strangers – people who in most situations would not have even noticed others were now helping to make sure that all survived this ordeal. We scavenged food, water and blankets and shared with all who were in need. With limited information, we didn’t know the scale of the disaster, and it turns out that Narita Airport was probably one of the safer places to be…but we did not know this at the time, let alone the devastation being wreaked by the tsunami or the pending nuclear reactor crisis.
While I don’t mean to sensationalize, a typical trip was turned very quickly into an adventure of survival. While I was lucky to be able to fly away after a couple of days, the people of Japan are left with destruction and an ongoing nuclear crisis. As I feel compelled to help, I am taking a break from talking about verification in this week’s blog to make a plea to my friends and allies in this industry, which has a global presence and a compassionate heart; and to tell you how you can help our friends in Japan.
Japanese NGOs have the staff and materials needed to help survivors in Northern Japan, but they need financial assistance for logistics. The best way to help is to donate to organizations that have links to Japan so that donations are quickly wired to where they are needed. One such organization is the American Red Cross.
To help, please make a contribution to the Red Cross, by visiting http://www.redcross.org/. Or, you can simply text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 from any US cell phone. Each time you do this, you will automatically donate $10.00 (of which 91 percent will go directly to the relief effort in Japan).