Warm hearted families in Okirai

By Kikki - Last updated: 日曜日, 4月 10, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

[From Ofunato city-my stricken home town]

-East Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Disaster-


Provide own house as a temporary shelter for tsunami victims 

Mr. & Mrs. Hayashi enjoy eating dinner with tsunami victims

One community, called Tomari in Ofunato city lost their community center where could be the temporary shelter for tsunami victims. Tsunami victims had no place for living so neighboring houses are used as their temporary shelters.

One of the neighbors, Mr. Akira Hayashi (65) says, ‘We are living in the same community so tsunami victims are considered to be new members of my family. We must deal with the situation through united efforts.’

About 4:30 in the afternoon, while outside is still light, inside of the house is getting dark because no electricity is provided since the disaster. ‘Dinner is ready!’ Mrs. Hayashi (68) called out to the whole people including 4 temporary family members in the house. About 10 tsunami victims had lived in Mr. Hayashi’s house just after the disaster, but now only 4 victims left on this day. Other victims have already moved out to their relatives houses. They stretched their legs in a ‘kotatsu’ warmed by briquette. Just one kerosene lamp or candle lights up the room.

Relief supplies of rice is steamed by a gas cooker, and other local dishes are served on the table, such as ‘shio-taki’ or boiled white radish and cuttlefish seasoned with salt, boiled and seasoned abalone, and slices of raw cuttlefish and tuna. Ingredients are taken out form the two big freezers which has been preserved before the tsunami occurred. ‘Everyday is something like a big party, so most of ingredients were run out.’ Mr. Hayashi says.

About one third of 65 houses in the community were washed away by the tsunami.

According to Mr. Kikuo Konno (71), the chief of the Tomari community, most residents in the community are engaged in fish farming of scallops and oysters, however, about one third of 65 houses were washed away by the tsunami.

Although, Mr. Hayashi is providing his house as temporary shelter for tsunami victims, he is also one of the tsunami victims because his two fishing boats were washed away. And his fish farming racks for scallops and oysters were also completely damaged. Even that, he says in smile, ‘I withdrew all my deposit from the Taiheiyo Bank and invested to my aquaculture, but the tsunami washed away my racks completely. There was nothing for my fishing works. But, I am better than others because, my house is left unhurt.’

‘We are afraid of rebuilding our house along the seaside again.’ Mr. Tsuneo Onodera (77) and his wife Suzue (76) who lost their house, muttered while seating in the kotatsu.

Mr. Hayashi replied to that while enjoy drinking a glass of beer, ‘When you build your new house, you can use my land around here. You can stay here until your house is ready to live. That is only I can do for you, but build your house on the safety place and stick it out!’

‘It will be the best support for us. I won’t ask anymore. It’s too late to regret it.’ Mr. Onodera nodded meekly. Mrs. Hayashi agreed in saying, ‘It’s not worth risking your life for.’ ‘It is only human who knows what human feelings are.’ Mr. Hayashi added. They went on talking in cheerful laugh till late at night.

They usually go to bed at about 9:00 at night after turning off the lamp. Their empty housing area in the community was in darkness under a light snow fall.

At about 6:30 in the next morning, Mr. Hayashi picked up three pots of steamed rice to his light truck, which is cooked by his wife, and delivers to other tsunami victims who are living temporarily at other surrounding houses.

‘Here is steamed rice for you!’ Mr. Hayashi calls out. A lady replies in smile, ‘Thanks a lot every time.’ ‘I would like to encourage these people who lost their houses with providing hot rice.’ Mr. Hayashi says.

He stopped his pickup truck in front of the fishing port on the way back home. It was first time to inspect his working site after the tsunami. ‘My fishing boats were here, but they may be washed away….’ He breathed a sigh. He shocked at seeing completely damaged site, as such collapsed water gate and crashed buildings of the fishermen’s union.

Even that, he gives a hearty laugh in saying, ‘Meanwhile, there is something good coming, we hope. Everything is not so bad after all. We dreams like that.’ There are many smiles in the poorly lighted room under the kerosene lamp.

<Reference: http://mainichi.jp

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