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A year has passed, however….

A year has passed. This weekend that included “3.11,” I visited Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture.

The visit over this weekend was not for a monthly visit for “Komo’s English Reading-aloud Club,” but it was for my very personal purpose to meet, talk, and spend time with those whom I came to know in Rikuzentakata over the past several months. Schedule was very tight, and initially I did not plan to go there on “3.11,” but I finally could not help going. I was pulled by something.

 

I had some loose commitments to help various events over there, and I did participae to some of them. However, the ultimate purpose was just to be there on that special day. Luckily, I could meet those people I wanted to meet. Also, I could get to know some new people there, the relationship with whom would surely be positive and meaningful for me in the coming years.

 

While working with the event preparation, occasionally I had chances to support those who lost their relatives on that site to pray… An old woman went down on her knees and started sobbing, and she called her lost relatives’ names for a while. I could not find anything to do but to just stand beside her. Just could not find anything I could do with it… A year is not long enough to wither their memories away. Never.

 

I also played a kind of a local guide role for a team of TV crews from Australia (Seven Network), and I introduced two of the participants to “Komo’s English Reading-aloud Club” to them. Some media rushed to interview the “victims a year after” and often hurt the interviewees’ feeling, so I wanted to play an intermediary role between TV crews and the interviewees. The film shooting went quite well. It became in fact a very good English-speaking / listening experience for the interviewees, too. They looked happy after the interviews. So was I.

 

It takes very, very long before we would see a tangible recovery in those tsunami-stricken areas. Various kinds of media came to those areas on “3.11,” but they will not come that often after a year anniversary. I am sure they would not. Likewise, the public attention to those areas will also shrink from now on….

 

On the ground, in the real lives at those areas, talking about a “recovery” can be still regarded as premature. There are many places where a mere clearing-up has not yet been completed. But general public would gradually forget what happened and are still continuing to happen. Well, that’s the life of human being, and blaming or criticizing it would not produce anything. What I should do is that I myself should not forget them, to begin with.

 

At 2:46 p.m., many people around Japan (and maybe all over the world) closed their eyes and prayed. That was the moment when the devil quake hit us a year ago. But I did not do so, and I just kept driving my car outskirts of Rikuzentakata. I intentionally ignored the ceremonial monemt. In turn, I swore to my self to keep coming back here for a decade, every month. I said to myself: “I will keep increasing my level of commitment to those areas as time goes by.”

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