Translated Versions

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Life in Fukushima

I cannot deny that the time I have spent in Fukushima is  different than anything I have experienced in Japan.  While in Miyagi and Iwate the inhabitants had hope and worked in the present to over come the aftermath of the Tsunami, Fukushima has been very different.  In Soma City,  I experienced despair and confusion. The inhabitants were unsure of what to believe and could not even express their feelings at times without breaking down in tears. Most people felt that the government was holding back information and did not really care about their well being.   Other than one interview and a few pictures. I chose not to do much documentation out of respect for the city and it's inhabitants. People are not always ready to speak and in their case moving on seemed far away.  Most were stuck in a moment of despair  and confusion. It was still very much traumatic.

But the strange thing was  that Minami- Soma which is on the border and much closer to the nuclear site was  different. The city was pretty much abandoned not even McDonalds remained open. But the few inhabitants that I did find including the evacuees were positive.  They made it a point to believe that their city had life and that if they continued the good fight and hope that things would change for the better.  They would change.  It made me wonder what exactly was the influence behind the gloom in Soma City. Shinche, the city before did not seemed concerned about the potential radiation threat. They were concerned about growing Cotton and shortening the time before they would be able to grow rice again and feed their people.   And in Harimache people were still volunteering and going out to areas right on the border of the exclusion zone (Area with high concentrations of radiation) to work.

Iwaki  20 miles from Daichi has been surprisingly different.

Yes, people have evacuated the area.
Yes, people have suffered the destruction of the Tsunami and Earthquake.
And yes people are now living in small temporary housing and the evacuee camps.

But this city refuses to give up. They continue to focus on the positive, volunteers continue to trickle in from all over the world and Japan, even if it means the threat of radiation. Local people work hard for the future of their city. People here do not focus on the radiation like other cities I have seen. They remain present and hopeful that one day things will improve and even to an extent be better than before.

In the next few days I will be entering legally into the exclusion zone to do a few interviews. Unfortunately I arrived in Iwaki hurt and weak  I took the first few days to recuperate.  It is my hope that when I enter the exclusion zone to show through interviews the reality of the people within the afflicted region and show they are dealing with the crisis.

Beach in Minami Soma

No comments:

Post a Comment