We won:t be able to post photos of today at this time, but we wanted to share about our journey to Ishinomaki in the Miagi Prefecture where Colin was teaching on the day of the Tsunami. Words cannot express the deep sadness in this place as you drive into the ghost town of Ishinomaki`s once bustling town. There is life still present but there is a lot of destruction that is still in place with the wreckage piled high in mountains of ruin. Homes completely washed away and some just a skeleton of the frame. An entire high school of three floors completely wiped out every window and many students inside. Beside it a cemetary with memorials to the many lost souls. A hospital completely destroyed, and you wonder about the day, and the weeks following the waves and what people did to survive. My Cousin shared his story of running up the hill away from the water as fast as he coud to avoid being swept away. The hill soon became an island and the water did not retreat for a few days, and in some areas for weeks. Today you could see visible caked mud as a reminder of the destruction. Some things we learned about the culture today are things that news reports don`t follow up on. The coastal towns are being barricaded at night by the government so that ghosts do not get out. There is a strong belief in Ghosts here. People refuse to go swimming in the once pristine beaches and ocean here becasue there were so many thousands that died. Colin estimated that 50,000 people died here. Another estimate says that they are missing, not dead. There are so many things that still need to be done in this town and the many that were hit along the coastilne. Yet there aren`t enough workers who are able to do the work. And then the mountains of wreckage have no where to go...imagine thousands of rusted out cars piled high on top of each other, and the wreckage of houses and buildings just rotting there. People who lost thier homes and survived have been offered small government trailers to live in while they rebuild. These are about 10 feet wide and 20 feet long. They are placed much further inland in the event that something like this happens again. The Fukushima power plant is much further south, but Colin was telling us that all the towns within a 25 mile radius have been evacuated to avoid problems. My Cousin says that life goes on here, and the Japanese people are resillient in the face of adversity and disaster.
This has been an eye opening expereince, one that I will never forget.