Published: June 24th 2011June 1st 2011
Yesterday our journey was such: after breakfast at 7:30 a.m. we went and caught the 8:56 a.m. train to Sendai. From Sendai we went on bus, which took two hours from Masushimakaigan to Ishinomaki.
Matsushimakaigan had minimal damage from the tsunami and earthquake. We had about an hour before the bus came so we walked to the beach (with my heavy backpack strapped to my weak and struggling shoulders and back) and then took a two hour long bus ride to Ishinomaki. Along the ride we saw bits of the disaster. It was my first real look, ad preview, of the disaster and what it did. I saw its destruction of rice fields, which had cars, boats and trash gathered in the fields. Cars stacked on top of each other, forming piles. The bus ride was long and never ending, until it finally ended. Along the ride we passed through disaster reckoned areas and then through cities with no damage. Then we popped open on the other side and saw more damage. We were traveling north along the coastline.
At Ishinomaki, we got a taxi, which took us to the beach and showed us the devastation which spread across
miles of the coast. That was the moment that made my exhaustion worth it all. I got a second wind because it made me realize why I am here.
Miles and miles of trash, debris, people’s belongs. It wasn’t trash; it was people’s houses, belonging and cars. My jaw dropped open, and stayed opened in awe for most of the drive. It hung out awhile longer when we got out to take photos, and even longer when the taxi driver took us up to a hill to see the destruction from a top view.
Fukiko took photos of me taking photos. She rather enjoyed that. On top of the hill I prayed. Japanese people looked down onto their ground, next to flowers people put, symbolizing a memorial. Below was a cemetery. Japanese cemeteries are generally tomb-stoned on a hill, a slope. This cemetery was as well. Some tombstones at the bottom were displaced in wrong places, floating with the “trash”.
I can only imagine how many bodies will be added to that grave site, that day and following days of the tsunami.
Our taxi driver brought us back with a hour to spare at the train
station, so we went across the street to city hall. There I asked Fukiko if we could interview one of the relief employees. He was a Christian, go figure, who majored in English Literature, go figure. We gave him cards (two of my mother’s), and a bag of chocolate. He gave us a little of his story and what he does there. Then we walked back to the station, across the street, and got bites to eat from the convenient store (which was inexpensive and ever so convenient).
She bought me a water bottle, a triangle seaweed wrapped rice which was geniously packaged so that the rice doesn’t touch the seaweed until you squeeze of the plastic package. (It was delicious).
Once on the train, we watched the high school students interact. They wore uniforms. Girls skirts, long black socks stretching above or just below their knee caps and button up jackets/blazers. Boys wore the same but pants and not knee high socks. Black and dark blue colors. There were different uniforms I assume for different schools. I saw three different varieties of basically the same thing.