NAGATSURA – HOME WITHOUT LAND

By Kazuko Moghul
Kazuko Moghul
It has been almost four years since the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th, 2011. I was born and raised in the small town of Ishinomaki in Tohoku. My father ran his own business there and had lots of interaction with most of the people in the community. Therefore, as I grew up, I felt part of one big family and I was being treated just like other people’s own children.

Then on that day, the town sank under the sea in the blink of an eye, and members of the one big family were faced with life and death. The town is now vacant land and during high tide it is submerged under the sea. I can see no trace of what had been there before.
Four years has passed since the people, who lost their long-cherished homes as well as their loving families, have started living in the tiny temporary housing. Initially they might not have thought that they would be there for such a long time. My former neighbour who lives in one of those houses e-mailed me saying: “Within only 10 steps, I can reach everything in my house. I have just about been near the end of my life and have lost all ambition. I am satisfied with my life, taking each day as it comes. I feel like I have no strength left to resist the current or create the friction, and I’m like a half recluse. I have nothing to complain about. I even feel that I don’t mind if my life ends here.”

Four years are long enough to make him feel that way. He seems to face his life philosophically but I have heard people, who are not like him, are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), because they are forced to live in such small temporary houses. I wonder if they receive appropriate professional psychological help.

The town has decided to relocate the community and build new houses in the rice fields near my former neighbour’s temporary house. However, due to the ground strengthening construction work, it would take two more years to be completed. It is now going on six years from the earthquake and the tsunami disaster. Most of the residents living in the temporary housing are elderly people. Some of them prefer to stay rather than move to a new place because they are not sure how long they would be able to live there.
Nevertheless, there is good news. The Senseki Line, the train connecting the city of Sendai and Ishinomaki, which had been cut off by the earthquake and tsunami, was repaired and opens on May 30th. It used to be a busy line with many commuters and students, however, after the disaster, only part of the line was useable and was replaced by buses. Now there will be crowds again to use this line.

When I hear the word “Great East Japan Earthquake”, I feel like that was long time ago although it has only been four years since it occurred. Even I feel this way, despite having a family member who was a victim in the disaster. This shows that memories, no matter how vivid, will fade over time.
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We are screening a documentary film “NAGATSURA–Home without Land” on March 19 at JCCC and March 21 at Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto. I hope everyone has a chance to remember people who are still hurt by the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Notes:
http://www.nagatsurahomewithoutland.com/
Admission: $10 at the door Contacts: 647-297-8028 (Moghul)/647-784-6141(Nakao)
For details, contact: makiko.ishihara@gmail.com

Thursday, March 19: doors open at 6 pm Movie starts at 7 pm <strongSaturday, March 21:doors open at 2 pm Movie starts at 3 pm
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC)
6 Garamond Ct., Toronto
Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto,
2 Sussex Ave.
3月19日(木): 午後6時開場 午後7時開演 3月21日(土):午後2時開場 午後3時開演
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC)
6 Garamond Ct., Toronto
Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto,
2 Sussex Ave.

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