Kurikoma, Japan, May 2014
Dear Family and Friends,
Kurikoma is in Miyagi Prefecture, northwest of Sendai. It is not near the sea, but rather lies within the mountainous backbone of Japan.
Despite those horrific events, the survivors immediately picked up their lives and focused on rebuilding. It has taken more than five years, but slowly the locals and government have cleared up the debris and are bringing life back to a sort of normalcy. In fact, the amount that has been accomplished is impressive.
Usually in rural Japan the variety of houses is a fascinating pleasure of discovery. But now with farmhouses and entire villages reconstructed, everything is new, and most often uniform. But even so, they still maintain the tidy dignity of Japanese farm life.
Being part of a collective culture, many Japanese feel a deep necessity to help their people in need. That support may not be as direct as the outpouring of the assistance that happened in 2011. But even so, individuals do all they can to help fellow citizens in trouble. One way that this is expressed is, surprisingly, through tourism. Now that many of the roads have been repaired and places are slowly beginning to reopen, people from far away are kindly choosing to go to the Tohoku area for their vacations.
Early spring can be very beautiful anywhere. And this year Kurikoma was blessed with soft new greens inter-dispersed with a shimmer of flowering trees.
Also, that weekend was the time of rice planting. So many farmers were out turning and flooding their fields, while others had already started planting their vivid green sprouts.