Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tsunami Area - A Moving Visit

Today's topic is of gloomy remembrance. I came across a documentary called "Then And Now: Ishinomaki" tonight. It contains images and interviews taken in one place devastated by the tsunami in March 2011. Eight months later, in November 2011, the situation was utterly hopeless over there. I watched it with a heavy heart, and thought about sharing with you some photos taken in that area more than one year later, towards the end of May 2012.

Out of the 500 km washed off by the tsunami, I covered about 200 km along the coast by car. I am greatful to the friends who gave me this unique human experience.

Among the ruins and dirt, there are rare signs of life.

Like a special shop selling sweets - a drop of colour in a sea of bitterness: 

They served us tea and some desert free of cost, a lovely surprise. Gochisousama deshita!

And I had the unique chance to visit some temporary houses.

They are tiny. So many people remained without anything. It is all heart-rending.

As the general rule goes, the real richness is in the heart. Japanese people are overwhelmingly generous. I was deeply moved there, talking to unknown people. They plucked up courage to talk about their personal feelings and experience.

I met a refined lady, with a superb smile. Thank you for the beautiful kokeshi doll, Eiko-san! You are in my thoughts every day. :-)

And I met there a little boy who was a baby when the tsunami stroke. He lived in the mountains without milk for three days afterwards, without crying. I often remember his eyes. This is one of his books, the famous story of Momotarou - the little boy from the Japanese folkore who came from a giant peach, momo.

The two things I like most in Japan are the people's kindness and the flowers. Flowers make that sore place in Tohoku more beautiful already.

Tohoku 東北 means "northeast" literally. The region consists of six prefectures, -ken.

Matsuo Bashou, the famous haiku poet, wrote a book during his travels through Tohoku. He wrote that home is wherever travels take us.

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