Ookawa Elementary School

Author’s Note: This was intended to be the last part of my Tohoku series, when I went to the region 2 years after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. However, it wasn’t an easy series to write, and I’m going to leave it unfinished – much like the work in Eastern Japan.

There was one many among the group of volunteers who was clearly a little different- he was silent and looked at us with weary eyes. One of the volunteers introduced us and in that introduction, we learned that he was one of the survivors from that town. It took some time, but he eventually warmed to us, seeing that we weren’t just there for the money shot, to do unhelpful volunteer work for self-satisfaction and definitely not on a disaster area tour like many of the others he had seen pass through the town. In the interest of full disclosure, I was chatting with some of the volunteers, the following is what was relayed to me from other members of my group.

The following vignettes are this local man’s concerns:

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