East Japan Earthquake    March 11, 2011

On-site report
Mobile Kick Back Cafe

June 18, 2011

The debris was less than what we saw last time.
We drove on Prefectural Route 45 to Hirota.

It wasn't too hot, nor was it too cold. The rain that we were worrying about never came, and Mobile KBC started its service with good weather.

Hirota Elementary School

Temporary housing is being built and people are moving in resulting in less people in the evacuation center. In addition to less evacuees there were no volunteers at Hirota Elementary School making it a very quiet place.
The only sound there was the sound of people and machinary cleaning up the debris.

Mr. Kasai, who calls himself the manager of Kick Back Cafe in Hirota City helped out with Mobile Kick Back.
Hazelnut cookies, and cheesecake called, "Hi, Cheese Takata", which was a hit last time Mobile KBC visited Hirota, was prepared for this occasion.

In addition, pound cake, muffins and the original coffee blend that Key Coffee made to support the victims of the earthquake/tsunami.    

The victims of the earthquake/tsunami staying in the evacuation centers have all been fed processed food, which consists of chemical additives that puts a burden on the digestive system. The food from KB is very healthy and does not have those additives making it good for children who have allergies.

Auto-campground Mobiria

We visited the evacuation center "Mobilia" for the first time. This evacuation center is in a mountain camping area. This area has become a small village with temporary housing and
a temporary Aeon supermarket. All those living in this area are now able to get daily necessities.

The leaders, Mr. Senda and Mr. Gamo, greeted us cordially even though we had only called them the day before.

Mr. Senda who is also a city delegate is the caretaker of Mobilia and we had a short conversation with him.

"Life in the evacuation center has been hard without privacy, but now those who have moved to temporary housing face new challenges as they must begin life again without anything. These people are under great pressure. There is a chance that some may not want t move out of the temporary housing and others who will completely isolate themselves from others. We really want to avoid these things from happening."

Takata High school

We then went to the temporary housing located at Takata High School to meet Mr. Sugawara, a former classmate of Kana (KBC staff).

Mr. Sugawara has a wife and 3 children with one on the way.
He almost died when he was swallowed by the tsunami. He was injured but miraculously survived.
He told us how he and his wife had pleaded with relief personal to receive some baby formula for his soon to be born child, but they never received any.
We were able to provide them with baby formula donated by the Japanese American group "Relay fo Life", which one of KBC's staff is part of.

Right before we left, we gave the Takata high school baseball team some of the sweets that we had and als the "The Sun Will Rise Again ("Akenai-Yoru-ha-nai")" book that was freely published in support of the victims.
The lively spirit of the baseball players energized us.

Yonezaki Elementary School

Evacuation center at Yonezaki Elementary School is managed by the Japanese Self Defense Force and has a public bath.

The school parking lot is now being used for temporary housing.

We opened Mobile KB a little behind schedule and we ran out of dessert and Marre's book very quickly.

All those who came and ate our food said with smiling faces, "This is good!", "Thank you!"

Being there made us realize the impact the workers, especially the leaders, have on all of the people through their attitudes and the atmosphere they create in operating the facility.

We met with Mr. Kenji Kane from the city government education department at the city office's temporary building and asked him for his thoughts on what we have planned to do in the near future.
When we talked to him, it was clear that he was attentive to what KBC was doing and that he had looked at KBC's homepage.

"With KBC, it's not some a spur-of-a-moment thing. You guys have been supporting us all along. I feel your honest and sincere sympathy. What you have proposed to do, we want to do what we can to help it come about." He not only gave us permission to carry out out plan, but provided his overwhelming support as well.

Afterwards, we went to Takata 1st Middle School and then to a government office and gave them some goodies. We also went to the disaster countermeasures office and gave them some goodies and talked with them about what we are planning.

The rebuilding efforts have progressed, but there are still more than 600 people missing.
There are those that have not been able to identify their family members.
All of these people have not been able to start rebuilding their lives.
Soon the missing people will be declared legally dead.

We think that people need to start moving on, but we realize that it is easier said than done.
There is not much we can do given all of the extenuating circumstances, but what we can do is to prepare good sweets and coffee and go back to Takata as soon as we can.

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)



Back to main page