4 days after the Tohoku earthquake of 2011, we resumed our Japan trip. The next destination was Naoshima (直島). We were coming from Yamagata. Due to the earthquake, Shinkansen the bullet train was not running, so we decided to take a train from Sakata (酒田), a town by the Japan Sea. After hours of busy train rides, we arrived at Uno port (宇野港) in Okayama. From there, we took a ferry to Naoshima. I remember the tension that has been built up over the past few days was loosening, as we we traveled farther away from the north, where Fukushima power plant with nuclear radiation leaking.
In Naoshima, We stayed at a guest house Oomiyake (おおみやけ). This was truly a unique experience. During our stay, we were the only guests, and Miyake san, the owner welcomed us with Shochu, Japanese vodka and lots and lots of talks, finished with some drum session. Next morning, I was waken up by the sound of a house rooster. During the day we strolled around town. The town was quiet, warm, and peaceful. What a contrast from where we were a few days ago.
I felt lucky that I picked his guest house, not just for his hospitality, but also the architecture and historical details of the house. Again hats off to the craftsmanship of our older ancestors. The main guest house was registered at a Tangible cultural property by the Agency for Cultural Affairs (文化庁登録有形文化財).
It has been 10 years since we visited Naoshima. The town must have changed a lot, with more art installations and projects throughout the Setouchi area. It would be fun to revisit the area. Feb. 21 2021
This is a set of photos from our trip to Yamagata, for my grandparent's memorial service(法事). Within the first hours of our arrival at a train station, the Tohoku earthquake hit this snowy village. We arrived at my aunt's house after stopping for a soba lunch. I was showing my husband how to pray at my family's altar, when we felt a big shaking in a room. It was the first time my American husband felt the earth moving. I told him "This is an earthquake, it'll probably stop soon." But it wouldn't. The room itself started to feel too wobbly to feel safe. Quickly we decided to go outside, and we crouched in the middle of the road in front of the house. The sky was in grayish orange, surrounded by the walls of snow. A surreal moment. That night, we managed to have a feast with our family in an intimate candle lit setting. Luckily they had oil stoves. I felt warm inside out. While I slept, I tossed and turned the feeling between a threat of the aftershock and optimism. The next day, we carried on holding the memorial service for my grandparents, despite the loss of power. My aunts was worrying about the dinner being served cold, among other things.
This March will mark the 10th anniversary of Tohoku earthquake and Tsunami. There has been many loss and suffering, especially near Fukushima nuclear power plant.
With the cost of disaster, we were reminded that we are yet a part of the nature, and we can’t ignore that fact when we want to design our future. Since the earthquake, I’ve attended lectures within the topic, such as safecast and disaster preparedness. May our future innovation bring a harmonious world. - 2/23/2021
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