It’s been six months since Northern Japan’s earthquake/tsunami disaster. This morning’s news recapped the memorial service that took place yesterday for victims in Ishinomaki City, one of the hardest-hit areas. Thousands are still missing across the region and the general sentiment at the service seemed to be, “I just want my son/father/mother to come home.”
The news program featured a 17-year-old who lost both parents in the tsunami. He’s now living with distant relatives in a pre-fabricated house, and instead of finishing high school he’s looking for a job to pay for himself. One of my favorite comedians once complained that young people live with a grand sense of self-entitlement. I’d say this teenager is the exception.
My friend Noriko and I checked into New Komatsuna Hotel last night in Matsushima Bay. Call it a blessing from heaven – the building and its surrounding area went unscathed after the tsunami hit. In fact, after the ocean receded, it didn’t come back. Matsushima’s cluster of pine-covered islands broke the water and sent it pummeling upon towns further north and south. A hotel worker described seeing the ocean floor as she stood high above.
This morning, we paid for a taxi to drive us around East Matsushima and survey the remaining damage. Much of the debris had already been cleared but there was still one neighborhood of abandoned houses: