Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Adventure Continued

A view from where St. John's Church used to be

The second week of my brother and sister-in-law's trip they visited friends around Japan, while I worked a little in Nagoya. After we left each other in Miyajima on Sunday, we met again the following Friday in Sendai. Two of my co-workers and I showed them around the devastated area. We went to Shinchi which was an area effected by the tsunami and now the radiation.

As we were getting out of the car to see the ruins of a St. John’s church, we came across one of the former members of said church. His house was destroyed in the tsunami. In fact when we met him, he was standing around a fire that was on top of the spot his house used to be. It definitely put the disaster in perspective for all of us. When the tsunami came, people in that area ran into St. John’s church for safety. The church was 100 years old and so it was somewhat of a miracle that it withstood the disaster. A year and a half after the disaster they tore down the church but its foundations still remain. As we looked out on the area it was hard to imagine that there was an entire community there just 2 years ago. 

discussing radiation problems while fixing dinner
After Shinchi we went to Ishinomiyaki to see one of the women I often visit. I was so happy that Mike and Natalie could meet her. After that, we had dinner with some of mine and Mike’s friends. It was great! All of the people we were with, works one way or another with victims of the disaster. They were able to tell us about some of the problems which I was not as well informed about such as radiation. Hearing Mike and Natalie’s questions and concerns awoke my curiosity/awareness of these problems again. After being around it and hearing the conversations so much the radiation problem just became another thing we deal with. I haven’t been as concerned about it as I should be. Another reason I am thankful for their trip to Japan. 

Me, Felix, and Natalie
Saturday morning we took our time getting up and eventually made it to the station to meet one of Mike’s friends, Felix, from Germany. He just so happens to be studying at the local university in Sendai. The four of us went to Matsushima. There are many small islands and a couple of shrines in that area. We spent most of the afternoon walking around and talking.

The next day we got up really early and went to Tokyo. The director of YASC (my boss), David Copely stopped in Tokyo on his way to a Peace Conference in Okinawa. So the other two YASCers, Jenny&Doug and I were invited to hang out with him for the day. Of course I couldn’t just ditch my brother and sister-in-law in Tokyo so they came along too. Mike knew David from when he was a YASCer four years ago. It was a nice little reunion for everyone. 

The six of us met up at the Provincial office in Tokyo Sunday morning with intentions for make it to church.
Natalie, Jenny, and Doug posing for our cameraman Mike.
BUT we got a bit distracted by good conversations, peanut butter and finding the best Mexican food in town. It might seem that our priorities were a little skewed but I think it was worth it. We eventually made it to a giant park in Tokyo. At Mike’s suggestion we rented duck boats and had a very productive meeting in the middle of the pond. After our adventure in the boats we explored the park. Then spent the rest of the day searching for food, playing yatzhee and trying to control ourselves from finishing the brand new jars of peanut butter. It was a difficult challenge believe me.The next day David left us really early to fly out to Okinawa. After a delicious brunch of Ramen, the rest of us parted ways, Mike&Natalie off to the states, Jenny&Doug off to search to kimonos, and I back to Nagoya.

going shopping is always an adventure,
especially when you are hungry
You can barely see the carvings in the cave but they are
there. They are burial caves from 828 AD.

It took us about 20 pictures to get one where
I wasn't laughing uncontrollably

fishermen we met on one of the islands in Matsushima

...and the fish they were fishing for

My brother next to the Shinkansen...isn't he adorable!

There's a bird on my swan boat!

Catching up with David
It was sad to see every leave but I had a great time stomping around Japan with family and friends. I am so thankful that someone from home was able to meet my friends and see my life in Japan. Thank you to everyone who made it possible!

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