While Western news sources continue to obsess over the Fukushima nuclear issue, or have moved on to fresher, more “interesting” news, today’s episode of Nihon Terebi News shows efforts to rebuild lives in Japan after the tsunami and earthquake. In Iwate Prefecture, you can see efforts to provide trailer-style temporary housing. Basic needs like running water are finally starting to come back.
Around 9:00 it shows how children are dealing with the tragedy. As one lady comments, the children are OK, but it’s still a huge change in lifestyle, and this will certainly have effects on them for many years. Some children in northeastern Japan are now orphans. Last week, my wife found out about a donation drive to send clothes, school supplies and certain staple food items to Japan through the U.S. Armed Forces based in Misawa, Japan to an orphanage nearby.
My wife and I went to Target the following Saturday and loaded a big shopping cart of blankets, supplies, basic clothing, and such. The young lady at the counter was very nice, and had lived in Japan before, so she didn’t mind scanning so many items. To Target’s credit, we were able to purchase quite a bit for the orphanage for a reasonable price.1 From there, we drove to the drop-off point and were surprised to see a HUGE pile already donated by other people. Very nice to see.
But even if people have the basics, it will still take a long time for people to adjust to a completely different lifestyle. Around 14:00, it shows the story of one lady, a single mom, who came back to her home. You can see it’s completely gone. The news segment mentions that she divorced late last year and came back to her hometown to find work, and now has to deal with this.
Like any natural disaster, solving logistical issues is one thing, but it’s also a long, slow process as parents, children and the elderly learn to adjust to the change. The only direction is forward, not back.
Namu Yakushi Nyorai
1 Obviously price doesn’t matter here, but it was a pleasant surprise.