Minami San Riku Cho is a village adjacent to Kesen-numa. Both are in Miyagi Prefecture, but far north of Sendai. Like every other place along the coast, Minami San Riku Cho, has many stories about its uneasy relationship with the tsunami of 03/11. Of course, the port was totally damaged, houses were smashed to oblivion, and thousands of people were displaced or drowned. Yet, despite the overwhelming devastation and ongoing challenges of rebuilding, there are some very beautiful touches of hope and of humanity. Several of them lie in the courage that can come from honoring heroes. Others are found in deep respect for the people working against all odds to urge life forward.
Naoto Matsumura is a well-known name among animal advocates worldwide. He is the brave soul who defied Japanese government orders to leave his hometown, Tomioka, after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant explosion. He stayed on and now cares for the animals left behind.
Recently a friend of mine, Nanci Caron, started a fundraiser to support Matsumura San and his cause. Although she was not a member of any particular animal advocacy group, she asked her friends, family members, and colleagues for “coffee money”. Many gladly gave. In fact, some gave much more. Soon, individuals from all over the globe became aware of the Chip In Fund, and also sent contributions.Read More»
One of the most unsettling and surprising things in eastern Tohoku is the unevenness of the clean up work. A once damaged area may be pretty much bare by now. But even so, there might be an apartment building still standing with people living on the top floors. The rest of the structure might be broken and smashed up, but the second or third stories might have laundry hanging out on the veranda. Or a bicycle might be leaning against a wobbly pole that more or less held up the entire building.
I went to Ishinomaki last September and was shocked by the extent of the destruction in the area near the port. The hospital was in complete shambles and next to it a pharmacy tilted knee deep in water. There were frames of houses and piles of debris everywhere. And along one whole side of this expansive, tragic mess was a wall of bent and crunched vehicles. There were cranes and backhoes working constantly to gather rubbish, as trucks plied back and forth removing what had been collected.Read More»
Dear Family and Friends,
Recently a friend and I went north of Sendai to Kesennuma to learn firsthand how things were almost one year after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. This week different friends and I ventured closer to home to hear stories of people who used to have homes and work near the sea. We went to Arahama, one section of widely spread out Sendai City. We talked with four courageous souls. Each person had a story. Each tale was unique. But the underlying theme was the same: “We lost everything. The future is uncertain. We can only do what we can today.”Read More»
February 11, 2012
Dear Family and Friends,
It has been a long time since I wrote to you. For me personally life has resumed a degree of normalcy. I go to work, I shop for food, I write, and I try in my own ways to be involved in the relief efforts going on here. Those activities are time and energy consuming, so my letters to all of you have become far less frequent.
When I have time I go out to areas still struggling, more so even that Sendai, to get their feet back on the ground. We have come very far, but we still have much to do. In fact, amazingly just the other day a cluster of bodies from the tsunami were found and identified. So, yes, our work is far from over.Read More»