East Japan Earthquake    March 11, 2011

On-site report
Mobile Kick Back Cafe

May 28, 2011

As a result of the typhoon close to island of Japan, this trip that the mobile Kick Back Cafe made turned out to be the first time in the rain. Despite the poor weather, the people staying at Hirota Elementary School crowded around the mobile Kick Back.

"You came again!?" the children called to us.
"You know those ninja's that came last time? We're their buddies."
"Really!? Where are the ninja's?"
"Ah, they were a little busy this time, but they will come back, for sure!"
"Yeah, I guess ninja's have to train a lot, huh?"

Conversations like this started and flourished while the mobile Kick Back was doing its service, with the help from those evacuees.

There was actually a great encounter this time.
We were able to meet with a person named Tetsuya Matsumoto, the singer/song writer, and producer of the Iwate restoration dining hall who had helped provide food and entertainment(concerts) at the same Hirota Elementary School. 
He used to live in Komae, a town very close to Kick Back Cafe, and he told us that he used to always go to the popular bath house near Kick Back Cafe. He shared with the team of old stories he had in the Sengawa area, like the time he filmed his promotional video there.

The restoration dining hall is a multi-industry group formed by those living in the Iwate area, Mr. Matsumoto was the one that initiated this group and is enabling a huge caravan to travel to the victimized area and serve food and material over the weekend. With this service they perform a mini concert. It would be great if we could collaborate going forward!

This is the grandparents of Kana Hasegawa, the KBC staff.
Every time the mobile KBC travels to the area, they both stop by, and gave rice bowls as a present to the team. And these rice bowls are GOOD!

The people at Hirota were doing very well.
There is running water, so washing cloths, taking baths, and toilets are readily available, so the living conditions are imporoving, though electrictiy and drinking water is still scarce.

This would be the "Snack(pub) Hiroshi", that the men at the evacuation center relax in.
In the afternoon, it is a place of gathering and at night it serves as a place to get drinks.
Unfortunately, in the beginnning, no alcohol, no matter how strong, could get them drunk enough to forget the day o tragedy they found their lives in.  

After the brief stop at the Hirota penninsula, we went to Takada to the middle of the main city. The destination was to the Takata First Middle School, the biggest evacuation center in the city.

The biggest attraction this time was the original cheese cake called, "Hi,Cheese,TAKATA".
It is shaped as a stick so that people can eat it with their hands and the people loved it.

There are numerous and various types of evacuation centers. Schools are the largest, but there are city halls, temples that offer the space that serve as a small evacuation center.
Those staying at small evacuation centers decrease in numbers every visit.
There are those that decieded to move into the temporary housing provided by the government, and those who left the area to live elsewhere. Some went to larger evacuation centers, making the small ones unnecessary and the we were told that these small evacuation centers will be shut down soon.

A radio show for IBC radio was set up named after Marre's book, "The Sun Will Rise Again" ("Akenai-Yoru-ha-nai")" , which is being read by many people in the area.

At the end of the trip, a visit was made to the newly built municipal building and to the mayor and we gave some coffee and the "Hi, Cheese, TAKATA" to the workers there.We were allowed a brief moment with the mayor and expressed Committed Japan's desire to support through various ways.

Mrs. Hasegawa, the mother of Kana Hasegawa, the KBC staff.

The devastation of the vicitimized area still remain. However, little by little, the difference and the recovery has become more evident, as buildings such as the temporary housing start to be built.

On-site Report ----------------------

Kana's Hometown
A building stands in the rubble in Rikuzentakata, northern Japan after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 13, 2011.

Rikuzen-Takata:5,000 Homes Under Water and 15,000 People Missing

On March 12th, the Self Defense Force of Japan started its rescue efforts of most all of the households of the city of Rikuzen-Takata that has been demolished by the recent earthquakes which is estimated at 5,000. From the rescue efforts in Takata area, the most damaged area, 52 bodies were recovered on the 12th, and on the 13th, 114 more bodies, totaling 166 in the 2 days. The rescue effort, however, has been slowed because of the debris blocking all traffic to the city whose population is 23,000. According to the task force of the city, roughly 8,000 people are staying in emergency evacuated areas. The city is doing what they can to locate the the rest of the population. The City Hall, a 4-story building, was engulfed by the tsunami and out of 300 workers there, the whereabouts of 100 employees hav not been determined. Also, the city resident registry has been lost causing difficulty in identifying who the victims are.
There has been some positive news as the Self Defense Force of Japan has been successful rescuing 37 people isolated from roofs of buildings. Rescue efforts will continue. (March 13, 7:48PM(JST), NHK)



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