Monday, March 28, 2011

Tohoku's recovery is long and difficult

(By Noriko Tashiro, an evacuee  at the Akasaki Fishing Village Center, a makeshift evacuation center, in Ofunato, Iwate Pref.) 
Women preparing the food in the kitchen plan menus to utilize all ingredients without wasting them. Canned beans and pickled cucumbers from abroad, delivered by helicopter, taste good.  We think Tohoku’s recovery will be long and difficult, which will not make our life any easier even when we move to a temporary housing six months or a year later.  We consume rationed ready-made meals, like rice balls, now and we save anything which keeps long for later.

From NHK website "Those Affected by the Disaster: What I want to tell you now" on March 25, 2011
The bottom on the site is Ms. Tashiro.

Everybody is bearing the cold with disposable pocket warmer and three sheets of blanket

(By Ms. Shoko Komukai, an evacuee at the Shiroyama Gymnastic Center & Chuo Community Center, Kamiheigun, Otsuchi-cho, Iwate Pref.)  
Everyone is bearing the cold weather with disposable type pocket body warmer and three sheets of blanket.  As the cold has been relaxing a little, the life becomes easier, yet we are still facing the shortage of the fuel.  Since there is no gas available, I am experiencing the problem of not being able to go to the hospital. 

From NHK website "Those Affected by the Disaster: What I want to tell you now" on March 27, 2011

The fifth from the top on the site is Ms. Komukai.

Elementary school principal's message to the graduating students: we retrieved your certificates of graduation

(By Ms. Mieko Onodera, Principal at Otsuchi Elementary School, at the Shiroyama Gymnastic Hall & Central Community Center,  Kamihei-gun, Otsuchi-cho, Iwate Pref.)  

(To the students at Otsuchi Elememtary School) 
I  hope everyone at the evacuation center are well. We managed to retrieve the certificates of graduation, and I’d like to deliver them to the sixth graders. We decided to hold the graduation ceremony at the Central Community Center on March 29, 2011. The ceremony will start at 1 PM.  I heard that other schools would start at 10 AM, but ours will be at 1PM considering the time to get there. Whoever will be able to come, please come to the ceremony.

From NHK website "Those Affected by the Disaster: What I want to tell you now" on March 27, 2011
The third from the bottom on the site is Ms. Onodera.

Giving kids something to smile about / Teachers bring some joy to children at the disaster zone (Article by Yomiuri Shimbun)

Dog saves owner from tsunami (Article by Yomiuri Shimbun)

Animals are smarter than us.....

In Makeshift Morgues, a New Ritual (Article by WSJ)

NYT Photos: The Aftermath in Japan

Hunting for Permanent Homes (Article by WSJ)

Have wheels, will travel; especially after a major earthquake (Article by Asahi Shimbun)

Triple disaster leaves families with missing loved ones in agony (Article by Mainichi Shimbun)

Relief goods still not reaching isolated evacuees (Article by Mainichi Shimbun)

Blind man struggles to lead life in unfamiliar environment of evacuation shelter (Article by Mainichi Shimbun)

Reporter at sea when quake hit describes encounter with disaster (article by Mainichi Shimbun)

The reporter was my boss when I used to work for Mainichi. I am so glad he was safe. I also praise him for his spirit as a journalist.

Quake Area Residents Turn to Old Means of Communication to Keep Informed (NYT article)

A Japanese Actor's Message (part 3):Think and Imagine the Truth Behind the Scenes

Following is the translation of the text from Tatsumi Takuro, Japanese actor's blog (
"Good News!"

My friend in Ishinomaki finally called; his first since that initial satphone call. “I finally made it home. I’m okay. Thank you!” The knot in my stomach released as my eyes teared up uncontrollably.
Something of a technophobe, I never considered writing a blog. Pressure from friends inspired me to begin my “Michikusa Nikki” (Dawdling Diary), which over a five-day period garnered some 2.5 million hits. Along with a sense of gratitude, I feel a heavy responsibility. I’m filled with the urge to reply to everyone who left comments, but it’s just not possible. I will however endeavor to post updates.

There is an error that I must correct here: In my previous blog, “Jigoku” (Hell…), I mentioned “evacuation centers.” However, it seems these places were not “designated evacuation areas,” but more aptly described as “places to which people evacuated.” In other words, as the first choices for evacuation were swallowed up by the tsunami, survivors waded to buildings poking up through the waters like a patchwork of tiny islands. As these locations were confirmed, it seems a few relief goods began to trickle in.  However, from the perspective of these survivors, viewing the horrible spectacle around them, they must have felt relatively safe. When the water finally receded, those who still had them, returned to their homes; the remaining folks seemed to have made their way safely to evacuation centers. 

I speculate that reasons they didn’t make their whereabouts known include thoughts that many more folks were probably far worse off, and not wanting to be bombarded by media types.

Word that “children are starving” carried such a sense of dread it quickly echoed through the web, spreading over the world like another tsunami. He regrets making the statement now. However, bear his situation in mind. With no medical personnel on hand to determine actual cause of death, he described the death of children with nothing to eat as “starvation.”

Unable to stop myself from playing the role of reporter, I selected this particularly impressive phrase from the many things he told me.
“Even if you come here, there is really nothing you can do. Perhaps it would be better if you lent us a hand once we’re back on our feet.”

It’s been ten days since the initial quake. Search and rescue operations are still underway. Amid growing concerns about damaged nuclear power facilities, and continuing after shocks, the number of victims remains unclear. A rosy path forward (the mission of television I think), and myriad video images are being beamed into our homes, however, actual recovery, especially in coastal communities, still seems a long way off.

I must store up my energy until that day. Yes, I will continue doing all that I can here, while looking forward to the earliest opportunity to go to the disaster zone to see what I can do there.