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May 28, 2011 / Mika Riedel

Ishinomaki Today, From a Tokyoite’s Perspective

-By Yokoyama, Tokyo Office

We in the Tokyo office reported our activity in Ishinomaki on this blog up to now and exchanged information every day between Ishinomaki and Tokyo, but like most of the readers of the blog, I hadn’t actually seen firsthand how Ishinomaki was until now, and had wondered what kind of impression the reality would make on me.

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It is hardly necessary to mention how enormous the damage was: heaps of debris; vehicles standing on end; manholes rising above the surface of the road due to the sinking of the earth. Residential areas were desolate, having been swept by the waves.

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While it looked like an asphalt road with stones, it was actually dirt washed down by the tsunami mixing with the broken pieces of earthenware such as rice bowls.

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Parts of the road were filled with sediment, bringing the road up to the level of the pedestrian walkway. Everywhere there were signs that people had certainly lived here. I made some such comments, but I felt there were no words and no ways to tell the gruesome sight before my eyes.

Despite such surroundings, I found that the kids showed cheerful smiles unexpectedly. In the activity “Rainbow Crayons,” the kids smiled to me, an unknown person from Tokyo. However, I also observed some kids bursting out crying, faces distorting suddenly over a trifling matter, or hitting and kicking and using harsh words if there was something they didn’t like.

It must seem common for kids of their age, but their feelings seemed to change greatly over a short period of time. Without having much expertise on the matter, I could not say that the kids seemed in a very healthy mental situation.

However, I heard that crying in the night and over-dependency decreased after the kids participated in this program. Although there are many factors involved, I felt certain that our activity “Rainbow crayons” was contributing to kids’ emotional healing.

I’m sure we continue to be needed by the children.

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Written by Kodomo Hinanjo Club on 5/3/2011.

Translated by Kayako Mukainakano & Eric Draper on 5/27/2011.

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Hiroya Muramoto / May 31 2011 8:55 am

    I also visited Ishinomaki. Very sad… Pray for Ishinomaki.

    • Mika Riedel / Jun 14 2011 11:10 pm

      Thank you for the comment! We also pray for Ishinomaki.

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