Saturday, 10 March 2012

1 year on

Well I thought I had better get around to writing something and why not on the eve of the first anniversary of the Tohoku triple disaster. 

So one year ago, I was 6-7 months pregnant when the giant quake hit Miyagi, which we felt here in Fukushima as a 6 on the Japanese scale. Just recalling that day gives me heart palpitations, even now. My house was not affected by the tsunami nor was there any damage from that earthquake which is still completely unbelievable to me. We lost the water supply for a month to our house but the power was always connected, lucky for us in our all electric house! All I can say is that we were so lucky to have built a home that did withstand it. Even more lucky for us was the fact that the wind was blowing the radiation from the Fukushima power plant away from us in the days after the explosions happened. That means that we are able to still live here, when other cities such as Fukushima City and Koriyama are dealing with much higher levels of radiation and other towns are now uninhabitable. 

It took a long time for things to get back to some kind of normality for us - if you could call it that. We have been back in Fukushima for over 6 months now. Geiger counters are a part of daily life. So is checking where the food in the supermarket comes from. However, I expect there are people all over Kanto and Tohoku doing this, not just in Fukushima. I have a constant supply of rice, fresh vegetables and fruit from DH's family in Tottori which is so helpful as I never have to worry about that. 

All around our neighbourhood there are mini communities of people from the evacuation zone. Our neighbourhood still had a lot of undeveloped land which was quickly utilised by the city as a place for prefabricated houses for the people who fled the power plant. Our city is so popular at the moment there is somewhat of a boom going on here. Houses are being built around us, empty land is being snapped up, all the apartments in town are full, help wanted signs everywhere, hospitals overcrowded and I can't get an appointment at the dentist till May... people are on waiting lists to move here from other parts of Fukushima. It is a very bizzarre situation for us here indeed as it certainly was not such a popular place to come to before the disaster that's for sure!

As the anniversary of the disaster approaches the Japanese media has been working itself into a frenzy of rehashing the whole thing. Being here in Tohoku and seeing the devastation on a daily basis, seeing the people living in the prefab housing every day, I think we kind of need a break from it. I would be nice to turn it all off for a few days - not possible I know, but boy do we all need a holiday from it! 

A couple of reporters from Canada here in Fukushima at the moment. I was asking them if they were sent here by their employer or if they came at their own expense. They said they were here off their own bat, as their agency was reluctant to send reporters to Fukushima because the Canadian government doesn't recommend people come here...All I can say is thank you for coming and seeing what it's like here and letting people know what's going on as the situation is certainly not all fixed and many people are still seriously affected by what happened at the Fukushima Dai Ichi Nuclear Power Plant.