Day 25, Mar 24, Namie 浪江

Katagiri and I went inside the 20 kilometer radius of the nuclear power plant. The area is closed to the public. Only residents can return during the day. Everyone has to be out by 4:30pm. The director of the Minsmisoma City Museum, Takahashi Kiyoshi (高橋清), used to live there before the meltdown. We were going…

Day 24, Mar 23, Returning to Minamisoma

March 11, 2011. I was on a flight above the Pacific Ocean. My plane was originally scheduled to land in Tokyo at around 3pm. I did not make it, though. The Tokyo flight was delayed. I was detoured to San Francisco on my way to Taipei. I barely missed the earthquake. I went to Taipei…

Day 22, Mar 21, Yamada-Toyomane 山田-豐間根

The blizzard lasted till this morning. It was late in the season, even for Tohoku. Many places had record high snow. There were reported casualties from avalanches. Over 40 thousand residencies lost power. An old lady on the news said the light was gone, water was off. It reminded her of 2011. 暴風雪は今朝まで続いた。東北地方ですら、こんな時期にこれほどの雪が降ることは珍しい。多くの地域で記録的な大雪になったようだ。なだれで死傷者が出ているというニュースも出ていた。4万を超える世帯が停電になっているらしい。ニュースで、ひとりのおばあさんが「停電で水も出ない。まるで2011年のようだ」と言っていた。 I was…

Day 21, Mar 20, Otsuchi-Yamada 大槌-山田

As I was leaving the guest house in Otsuchi, I saw a book written by a Taiwanese Dharma Master Chen Yen at the door. Tzu Chi Foundation, the organization she founded, is the largest non-governmental-organization in the Chinese-speaking world. It was very active in providing humanitarian relief during the 2011 disaster in Japan. Their influence…

Day 20, Mar 19, Kamaishi-Otsuchi 釜石-大槌

After a day of rest, my body felt great. My mind, however, got rusty. Occasionally self-doubts flashed over my head. “Why am I here?”. “Does anyone care?”. The thoughts were soon interrupted by a 1400-meter tunnel. I knew the drill and went through. I asked a high school student to film. He was walking casually,…

Day 19, Mar 18, Kamaishi 釜石

My friend, Takashi, texted me yesterday. “Radiation level around Fukushima No1 nuc plant is doubled in the last few days. Maybe something is happening in damaged reactors. I recommend you wear mask.” I have not turned on my Geiger counter for a while. I checked, and the reading was hovering slightly above the baseline. I…

Day 18, Mar 17, Okirai-Kamaishi 越喜來-釜石

I took a photo from the dining room in the morning, trying to make sense of Miyuki’s story last night. The house was indeed high above the sea level. But the tsunami can climb. Huge concrete boxes filled the sight. Constructions like this are gradually erasing the visible signs of the disaster. 朝、昨夜ミユキから聞いた話を思い出しながら、食堂から写真を撮った。この家は確かに海面からかなり高い場所に位置している。だが津波は文字通り「登る」のだ 。巨大なコンクリートの箱が視界いっぱいに建てられている。こうした建造物が、目に見える震災の爪痕を少しずつ消していっている。 I…

Day 17, Mar 16, Ofunato-Sanriku 大船渡-三陸

I have been basing in Kesennuma for the last 5 days. I moved past the commuting range today, like a detached kite floating north. The walk started in heavy rain. Fortunately it did not last very long. The weather then switched between clear and thick clouds several times. I was having mood swings along the…