Published: October 21st 2011October 21st 2011
On the official 10 year anniversary of 9/11 and the 6 month anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, I flew into Sendai airport, the airport that shown around the world being almost submerged by the Pacific Ocean. I flew into an area that is still recovering, still surrounded by empty and broken businesses.
The first very prominent showing was the fact that the Airport Line still isn't running, a full 6 months after the disaster. After having to take a rather expensive taxi ride into the city, I could still see the destruction even in the dark. Ghost businesses span the distance from the airport to the highway and just over the edge lies the ocean that made them.
As I was making my way into downtown every changes came up. E-Beans is still unusable, condo blocks are surrounded by reapir scaffolding, and every building has cracks in them. Yet, the city had bounced back. The same workers were still working in 7-11, the same small businesses were crowded with customers, and my job was busy.
My hostel was, I kid you not, right around the block from my old apartment and Amity. It was like I had never left. I went to 7-11, the managers wife recognized me, I bought the same food and went to the same stores and restaurants. Like opening a book you used to love but hadn't read in years, that feeling of happiness and nostalgia that engulfs you as you rediscover those characters and that place. It was powerful how easy it was to be back in Sendai.
I stayed for 4 days and basically lived at Amity for the whole time. I surprised students and mothers and it was hilarious to surprise people with my Japanese. The students called me mean numerous times. I caught up with all my friends and met the new teachers.
It was very humbling to be back at Amity. Almost all of the students remembered me, even the little kids remembered my name! I thought most of them would have forgotten me by now, but some of my old students shouted, "KYASARIN - SENSEI!" and rushed to hug me. Who would have thought it? Certainly not me.
I was so sad that I didn't stay for longer. There are so many other students that I wanted to see again. Well, I won't be a stranger to Miyagi these next 2 years, I'll be back no matter what!
Forgive me the lack of pictures, but I just didn't feel the need to pull it out the entire time I was there. It was more than enough for me to physically see that everybody was safe and that was all that mattered to me.