I'm home after spending a few days in Ofunato City in Iwate Prefecture. First, I must say that I plan to go back. The people there are very strong, but they will continue to need help and support for a long time. You can watch the news, watch YouTube videos, and read the paper, but there is NOTHING like seeing the devastation with your own eyes and meeting the people who have lost so much.
I met a woman who lost her home and her livelihood. She pointed to what was left of her home and her photo studio.
I didn't know what to say. I couldn't believe something so horrible could happen to so many people.
Delivering the messages and occasional hugs seemed like trying to put tiny bandages on gaping wounds.
But, I went with a group of people who were also doing their best to bandage the wounds.
They prepared and served udon noodles.
They donated and delivered partitions (temporary walls) for the shelters so people could have a little privacy.
I tried to help as much as I could, but mostly, I did my stuff.
I handed out picture books and coloring books to the kids. I showed the messages of hope to as many people as I could. I gave out hugs.
For more information and more pictures of our trip, visit the websites below.
Miyashita-san's and YAS-san's blog are both in Japanese.