No students in my town

By Kikki - Last updated: 水曜日, 5月 18, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

[From Ofunato city-my stricken home town]

-Great East Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Disaster-

Restaurant ‘Gohan’ in Sanriku town, Ofunato


Caused by the disaster, The Sanriku Campus of Kitasato University has closed for next five years. Ms. Mitsue Yanagimoto (56), the owner of restaurant ‘Gohan’, feels lonely every day, because her regular guests of students all left from the town. 

Just after the disaster, a large number of her customers, including graduates of the university visited her and brought relief supplies. She thanked for their kindness like a real dutiful sons and daughters, but feels lonely now. ‘I feel something like lost all my family.’

Restaurant ‘Gohan’ has run its business in 9 years at Namiita Beach in Sanriku town. Her dishes cooked with local seafood were very popular among students. Her frank personality attracted students and they called her as ‘Micchan’. The restaurant was common place for students from noon to the evening. Usually students call out ‘I’m home!’ when they arrived. Micchan send them off in saying ‘See you later’ when they leave her restaurant. She used to cook ‘Sekihan’ or steamed rice mixed with red beans and celebrated students for their graduation from the university. The wall of the restaurant is fully decorated with a large number of photos sent from her old customers introducing their fiancé or children. ‘They were like-minded people who love of the sea. There are many unforgettable memories with students in special surroundings in our town.’ She misses them.

Her restaurant depended totally on about 10 student guests a day. Basically, she hates the month of March, because her regular guests depart from her restaurant every year. And this year, the disaster was occurred. Her restaurant left unhurt fortunately, but life line such as electricity, water, and telephone had not been provided. No local seafood was available for her restaurant.

‘Are you safe, Micchan?’ Many her student customers visited one after another her restaurant from the next day of the tsunami. They brought relief supplies to her such as fresh water in tanks and food. One graduate drove from Osaka on a long way. During a long holiday season, over 10 old customers visited her restaurant and stayed over night at her house. ‘I could not suppose of their arrival. I wouldn’t be able to survive without their supports.’ She deeply appreciated them.

She accepts the decision of the university because safety of sea has not been guaranteed yet. Even that, she reminds of students words. ‘We really like to support our town, Sanriku now.’ She also has a question that ‘Is there any better way of education than participation to the reconstruction of our town?’

She has closed her restaurant since March 11. She tries her best to restart her restaurant as soon as possible. ‘I am all right now, because I have many things to do. However, I worry about real loneliness coming for future. I really hate tsunami, because it washed away everything.’

Although, she is expecting many old customers during summer holiday season, she may not prospect of her restaurant better. ‘I won’t be able to expect regular guests to my restaurant daily even after reopen.’


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