Friday, October 5, 2012

Trip to Japan ~ After the Earthquake

I have been writing about the fun part of my Japanese trip, but you might have been all wondering, "How are the people in Japan doing after the earthquake". Since, I wrote so much about it in a past post, I am from Sendai, which is the area largely effected by the Tsunami.

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.

Standing there and looking at ordinary things we use in everyday life made me feel so sad. Those people who lost their lives were real people, with family and friends who loved them.

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.


  1. Hi Sachiko...sometimes in this fast paced world we think that we can fix a broken community by giving some money or donating some gifts but it takes a long time for the foundations of a new community to be built when the old one is so sadly missed. When people are broken only love and care over time can heal and bring hope. Your pictures are such a poignant reminder of the tragedy of that day.

  2. Thank you for sharing this with us. We get so busy and wrapped up in our daily lives, we forget that others are still grieving and trying to rebuild lives that were disrupted.

  3. Thanks for sharing all of your trip with us. I have never been overseas. My Marine son was stationed in Japan for awhile and loved it there. The Media coverage does not bring it close to us, however your pictures do bring it close and make it real. I pray that Japan will be safe and heal the wounds and destruction to their lives.

  4. I couldn't have said it any better than "Naturally Carol".

    Your photos (basically seeing what you saw) and explanations personalize the tragedy, the reactions, and how people carry on after such devastation. Thank you for sharing, it is very touching. ((hugs))

  5. Thank you for posting this. I still cannot help crying when I read about this tsunami/earthquake tragedy. It must have been not easy for you to write this post.

  6. I'm crying :(((
    That's impossible to forget it, ppl who live there will remember this terrible experience forever.
    I believe that death is not the end.. God bless you. Thank you for sharing...

  7. Oh Sachiko, that last photo is just so sad. Thanks for sharing this post - it's a good reminder to us that these were real people, with real lives, and real family who mourns them. It is so easy for our lives here to just go on and we so easily forget about those affected by disasters.

  8. In this blog of yours, I found so many interesting themes and even if I did not yet responded to none, you to know that I read them with great interest. Success.

  9. Thank you for sharing this part of your trip. A reminder that my troubles and worries are not that bad compared to others.

  10. It is so sad to hear of the lives that were lost in both of these tragedies.

    I truly believe that God can and will use all things to bring glory to himself, even if we can't understand how. I don't think our lives on this earth are meant to be perfect. And that is evident every time there is a natural disaster. But it makes me deeply sad to see so much destruction.

  11. Thanks for the pictures, as hard as they were to look at. It was so moving, seeing the items waiting there to be collected by their owners. My aunt, who lives about 10 miles north of Sendai, is forced to live in the bottom 3 rooms of her house since the earthquake. The tsunami didn't destroy it but the earthquake made the upstairs unsafe to live in and she doesn't have the resources for repairs. Cousins in Sendai are still working to pull their lives together with businesses and homes completely lost. It's so easy to forget that the struggles for Japan will most likely last at least a generation.

  12. Arlene-

    Thank you for your input. I am sorry to hear about your aunt and cousin. It is true that the aftermath is so far from over. There are so many people who are trying to find a way to support their family, nowhere to go but the tempory homes or unsafe home. I know we shouldn't forget those people and try to find a way to lend them a hand some how.
    I hope your loved ones will be safe and things will work out for them.

  13. Thank you for sharing this. It makes what is still being dealt with over there more real somehow.

  14. Thank you for sharing these photos with us. It must have been just staggering to see the devastation. My heart goes out to your loved ones, and everyone in that area.

  15. Thank you for your post. I am happy for your family to be moving on after such a disaster. A group of Canadian quilting friends gathered 1800 quilts that were sent to Japan. We hoped these small gifts would show how much we cared and help them continue to live and move on.


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