Because I am Japanese, I get asked that question all the time. The truth is that I don't really know either. You don't see or hear anything anymore about what they are doing on TV in America. I watch Japanese TV station, but very rarely will they air a show related to the earthquake or the life of people.
One of the things I wanted to do during my visit to Japan was to talk to my family and friends, and see the areas that were affected by the Tsunami.
Well, the impression I got after being there was it was life as usual. There were a few minor earthquakes while I was there but most of the people I know didn't get affected by the big earthquake directly. There is a friend of mine that I’ve known since middle school that I couldn't get a hold of and heard that she lost her husband and home in the Tsunami. But nobody knew where she went afterwards. I hope we will be able to contact her somehow.
Another concern of mine was radiation. When I asked my family and friends, their words got fewer, and all became quit. I think it is a problem, but talking about it doesn't do much for them. I mean, they still have a mortgage, have to eat, drink and breathe. Their life is there and it is not easy to just pick up and move even though you are worried about the radiation.
My family is so traumatized by the Tsunami; they told me that they haven't been near the ocean since then. One of my friends took me to see one of the towns, it was entirely washed away.
First she took me to Yuriage Elementary School. The building is still there, but there are many signs of damage from the Tsunami everywhere. The gym is open to the public so people can come in to find some items that might have belonged to them or their loved ones.
After that she also took me to Yuriage Middle School.
I noticed the clock outside of the school. My friend pointed out that the clock stopped at the time when the Tsunami came.
She also told me the story of several students who were trying to escape from the Tsunami but couldn't get up to the higher levels and lost their lives. There was a memorial stone at the school sight, people visit with flowers and other items.
In front of the memorial stone, is an inscription that reads:
"That day, many people were trying to escape from the Tsunami and ran towards Yuriage Middle School.
It is so important to rebuild our city.
But I don't want you to forget… their memories live on.
Is death the end?
I think about the things we can do as survivors."
We got closer to the ocean, but there was nothing... I mean, all I saw was blue sky and fields where once houses stood.
In the fields, I could see the foundations when I got closer.