Friday, June 17, 2011


Nemo and I have given Florrie permission to use our blog to give you all an update on the earthquake/tsunami. One of her students insists it’s not an earthquake it’s an earthquick “cause the earth moves really quick.” Florrie and her friend Susan camped in some coastal areas last summer over Memorial Day weekend and they and another friend, Ingrid, decided to check the area out this Memorial Day. Here is what they saw.


This is the  seacoast not to far south of us. This Memorial Day you can see was kind of overcast but the place is still beautiful. There was not much evidence of tsunami damage here.


This was the only clue that anything had happened here.



Not too much farther down the road we could see some damage to both the road and some buildings. Do you see the cute little guys that are supporting the barricades? They are all over the place here; sort of whimsical aren’t they.


This is one of the port areas on the way down.


This is close to Noda. Remember Noda? That’s the town we went to with our car full of rice and water. It wasn’t enough, it’s not possible to do enough here right now we can only keep trying.


Part of a tsunami gate, in many coastal areas the Japanese plant pine trees to help act as a buffer if there is a tsunami, that may be what the trees up above and in this picture are. I’m not sure.


This is Noda, parts of the town are still standing towards the back. Our kitchen cabinets live there now.


More of Noda.


There are huge trash heaps like this all over this part of the country now. To me this picture represents hope; notice the rice fields that have been planted here.


This is a sign pointing the way to the tsunami safe area.



Last year when we camped here we drove through this tsunami gate, which has some huge doors that are open in times of safety. This picture is the landward side of the gate; as you can see there was some damage on this side.


I climbed up the wall because the gate is closed on this side now. Last year most of this area was trees, bushes, and grass. A little farther down were so many trees you couldn’t see the ocean.



This is what you see now. You can tell clean up is going one because most of the downed trees have been cut and stacked. It’s overcast but there’s the ocean. I stood on top of the tsunami gate and cried. The gate did save many lives however. My new friend Akinori posted this story on facebook in response to a question from my sister Nancy:



The roof you see was on top of a nice little shelter down by the water. It had grills and running water. My friend and I slept there in our “camper cars” on the first night of our weekend last year. It was a beautiful area.


The next day (in 2010) we hiked for hours along the Kitayamazaki portion of the trail. It took way longer than it should have because the trail was totally washed away in places and most of the bridges were gone; but that’s another story! Any way we spent the day hiking and then went to an Onsen. I was supposed to head back to Misawa that afternoon but the mountain road was also washed away so I spent the night in order to be driving home during daylight hours. We slept in our cars in another beautiful area. My good friend Susan (a wild woman for sure) continued on with the adventure and I drove back up to Misawa.


Susan found this beautiful little “pocket beach” that you could only get to by going through this cave during low tide. This picture and the next are Susan’s from last summer.


She also met this very nice man who was gathering seaweed and sea urchins for his restaurant just up the road. When she asked him in Japanese if he spoke English he said something like, sure, I studied at Texas A&M! In case you haven’t guessed this is my new friend Akinori. He was actually at the beach doing a beach clean up when the earthquake hit. Part of the cliff fell but didn’t hit any of the high school students he was working with. Everyone got out safely and then because he is a volunteer fireman he went and helped with the rescue. He and a few other’s brought some wounded people down off a cliff and worked for over 24 hours straight saving who they could. His wife and daughter didn’t know whether he was alive or not since no cell phones worked. He is just one of the hundreds of heroes we never hear about in situations that require heroes. Just knowing that there are people who step up when needed gives me hope for the whole human race.


This Memorial Day weekend Susan, Ingrid, and I found Akinori again and had lunch at his restaurant. He has a little gift shop there. Business is not so great since the earthquake/tsunami because tourists are afraid and staying away. I want to encourage all my friends in Japan to go to his restaurant in Kitayamazaki; you can get good directions from Susan. Spend some money at the gift shop and eat some good food in the restaurant. The seaweed and uni are fresh, probably everything else is too.


After our lunch we went down to the beach where Susan showed us the cave that leads to the other beach. We didn’t go through it.



Last summer when Susan was here you walked up this little pathway on these rocks and stepped right onto the sand, this summer the sand is quite a ways down, it was rearranged by the tsunami.


This is what’s left of the road that goes down to the beach (we hiked in). That is my friend Cooper with Susan.



This is the way we hiked in, that yellow is Susan standing at a ribbon tied to show how high up the water went. You can’t really tel,l but I am standing at the bottom of the hill taking this picture.



I’ll turn the blog back over to Nemo and Jesus now, Before we leave here they are going to share some of the “unique” things we all love about Japan. This is them with a friend they met in Sendai in October when I took them to hear the Tao Taiko Drummers. Sayonara!

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