Visit to Tohoku

Last Wednesday my friend Issei picked me up here in Hiyoshi. Loaded with several boxes of wool, needles and handmade knits, we got on out trip to Tohoku.

A shelter in Minami Sanriku, one of the worst hit areas by the March earthquake, was interested in a knitting event. Many of the victims are locals, who have lost everything they owned in the tsunami. They barely escaped with their cloth they were wearing. Everything else is gone.

On the highway the only signs of the earthquake were hundreds of trucks going north and repeated signs that roads around Fukushima are closed. Leaving the highway, we made our way to the coast.

Even there, driving through the mountains, we couldn’t see much damage. However, that changed, when we came out of the mountains and into Minami-Sanriku. The contrast couldn’t be bigger. Roads winding barely visible through mountains of rubble. Not one building was left. Most reduced to their foundations. One could only imagine, where the town once was.

We arrived shortly after 10am at the shelter and a group of about 15 ladies were ready to cast on. We unpacked the wool and needles and everybody was impressed with the range of yarn I got from all of you. Some of them have never seen anything like it before. No wonder, there were hardly any left to take home.

I had also brought most of the summer items I had received and some of the ladies were trying to copy them, which I found quite interesting. The hats and scarves soon were take and put to good use, especially during this summer heat.

We pretty much knitted all day until around 4pm, with a 1 hour lunch break in between. After lunch a few more ladies joint and even one of the husbands got interested to cast on, but later found it was too difficult for him. He told me that their house and all of their belongings has vanished in the tsunami. Luckily all family members survived and are well. He said, he will rebuild his house at the same location.

Later walking through the town Issei and myself stopped at several locations. I saw huge rocks of several tons weight, which have been moved inland. Roads already have been cleared and there was a petrol station open.

What I found interesting was, that among all the rubble there was hardly any recognizable object. I could see some plates or broken mugs, but everything was just one big mass of rubble. I can only imagine the force that had crushed the houses  and cars.

I guess, everybody had a good time. My friend Issei had brought his guitar and played some songs during our knitting session. He is planning a concert there, probably next month.

After the event, we drove through the city again and had a closer look at the damage. Seeing it on TV is on thing, seeing it in real almost unbelievable.

Thank you everybody, who has help making this happen.


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