A short extract of a post about Peace Boat in Tohoku that features in my book about the Great East Japan Earthquake, The Teas That Bind:
I have spent quite a bit of time over the last three weeks reassuring friends and family and readers of ten minutes hate that all was well in Japan, so much so that it now seems slightly perverse to be taking the alternative tack.
However, while things are safe and returning to a semblance of normality here in Kanto, the region of Japan that includes Tokyo and Chiba, it is a very different matter in the north of the country. Voices from the ground is the excellent blog of the charity relief effort by Peace Boat in Tohoku, the area most affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
Their photographers Dee and Trace have written of a recent visit to the region:
In the midst of a landscape now defined by trucks wrapped around traffic lights, fishing boats spectacularly moored into main street buildings, cars elegantly dangling upside down in trees or unceremoniously stuffed in houses, we find ourselves so small and shockingly helpless. There is utter despair combined with the scent of lingering death, bodies not yet found. The local cemetery so defiled, ancestors now shack-up with delivery vans, roofs and dinghies.
The toxic fumes waft our way from the port and industrial area. It was here on the bridges connecting Ishinomaki with the once picturesque Nakaze island, by the now tranquil flowing Kitakami River, that we understood. All we can do is make a difference on a human level. Try and help, assist, listen to one person. Touch one. If we could all affect this, volunteer even for a day, reach out to just one person then collectively tides of survival give way to those of recovery and life beyond.
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Photo from Voices from the ground, 37 frames here