Morning briefing and devotional. Jonathan took us back to the one year later 3/11 remembrance event given by the BeOne ministry. Among the activities, they brought up a singer to perform uplifting songs of hope. She neared the end of the program and began to sing "Furusato" (My Home Town). And as Jonathan looked around the old men were crying, because on top of the personal losses there is a sense that the "hometown" is gone--that even when or if things are ever rebuilt, it won't be the same--the place we knew is gone forever.
Last year we made several visits to Kitakami Cho, following the north bank of the Kitakami river toward the sea. Today we are headed to Okawa, driving on the dike road toward the Pacific Ocean along the south bank of the river.
On the way back we pass several complexes of kasetsu jyutaku (the portable modular buildings used for temporary housing), all outside the tsunami zone. (The government will not build any in the tsunami zone, but some companies are doing so for workers' housing.) Some commentators are pointing out issues with the temporary housing beyond the fact that they look depressingly like shipping containers (who knows? perhaps some of them are). When people fled quickly to the hinanjo (evacuation centers), they were in the same neighborhoods where they lived, with the same people they knew. But when the lotteries were drawn for the temporary housing, they drew from a larger pool and took people with special needs first--elderly, medical problems, etc. So you have concentrations of people needing a lot of services, and old neighborhood relationships have been lost. Further, the rows of housing are all laid out facing the same way--back door to front door, row after row.