Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tsunami 3

In 2013, I decided to volunteer again. I contacted a local NGO: Magokoro, based in Tono, a town in the south-west of Morioka in northern Honshu.

Tono, in the circle.
I took a night bus from Ikebukuro, north of Tokyo, and the next day, early in the morning, I arrived in Tono.
Tono is a very nice and lively town in the middle of a large valley.

Even, it looks small from here, over there is quite large
The center was located on the outskirt of the town and was standing near a river. It was quite big.
The lobby (do you see the panels?)
 We were lodged, but we had to get ourself our daily meals.
The men's dormitory
The Tarami (those large rectangles on the floor) were considered to be our bed. One per person. But by then, there were not too many people (15 at most), so we had plenty of space.
In the evening time, they would write on the panels (see the lobby picture) next day daily activities (usually 4 or 5), and we would write our name under the activity we would choose.
The next day, after breakfast, we would meet in front of the center, each of us joining the group of the chosen activity, then we would wait. When the leaders would come, we would first do some fitting exercises (for about 5 to 10mns) and then, they would give a speech about the daily activities (which, of course I would not understand a word). I was the only foreigner, and no one was speaking English (not even to mention French...), and everything was written in Japanese. After two weeks my Japanese improved greatly (but not to the bilingual level).
After the speech, each group would join a minibus, then we would go toward the coast. The center was in Tono, but the disaster area were, of course, on the sea shore.
Tono in the square; in the circle, were we operated
First I worked in a factory treating seaweed (wakame in Japanese).

Here is the factory

 I also dig trench,
Here
And there
This was to plant flower
I washed and waxed the floor of a school gymnasium,
I put a fence around a field, which I dig afterward (not by myself of course),


 I cleared a field,

etc, etc...

Despite the fact that the area has been long cleared of its heavy debris, their was still signs of destruction.

The remain of a government building
The platform of a train station


Next: I will talk about my daily life, some stories and the how the place has become and a festival.