Couple days ago, my Chinese friend had asked me if I had ever been to Fukushima Prefecture as he wanted to get a better sense of what this whole region is like. Chinese media has been covering the radiation levels as much as western media and you could easily find an article or two on the front page of the major news source for the last couple weeks. Putting aside all the talks on radiation, Fukushima to me was a place full of nature and beauty, attracting tourists from all over the country. Last summer, when I briefly visited Fukushima what stood out to me the most was Mount Bandai. Mount Bandai is located in the outskirts of Tohoku’s second largest city of Koriyama and is famous for its “goshoku-numa” or the 5 color lake (see photo below). These lakes were formed with the volcanic eruption imparting mineral deposits to the Five Colored Lakes giving each of them their own delicate color. In China, there is also the famous Jiuzhaigou Valley in Sichuan Province, which also has these colored lakes in a much larger scale. From what I know, the vast majority of Koriyama residents have not evacuated and are trying to live their lives as normal as possible but it’s just a shame that these beautiful sceneries won’t be seen for some time until the radiation levels lowers in the region. It’s a pity that Mount Bandai and Jiuzhaigou were both located near where the natural disaster had occurred. I wanted to share some of these images since you rarely see any news on Fukushima but the radiation these days. I thank you for your continued support for Japan. Japan still needs friends.
Dear friends and families,
It’s been a while since I have made my last post on my site. I’ve been busy making sure that all my family members and friends were okay in Japan. Fortunately, my relatives and families reside in the western part of Japan and so everyone was okay. But this devastating earthquake which took tens of thousands of lives away will not only affect the North-eastern(Tohoku) part of Japan but the entire population of Japan and the interconnected world. The aftershocks continue at this very moment and Japan’s largest challenge to recovery will take time.
Living in China, I can feel that the Chinese population can relate to what Japan is going through at the moment as there was an earthquake in Yunnan last week and in Sichuan in 2008, which is still new in everyone’s memory. I was happy to see so many of my Chinese friends and colleagues ask me if my family and relatives were alright. I also saw a video from the Sichuan earthquake victim’s telling Japan to not give up. It left me in tears when I saw this. Everyday I am touched by the people who are praying and trying to make a difference to help Japan from around the world.
Here’s my heartwarming story from Beijing:
I walked out of my apartment to grab some breakfast this morning at the usual vendor who sells eggs and sausage for about 5RMB(about 0.75USD), prices went up from 3RMB about a week ago. I enjoy having a 1-2 minute conversation with him in Chinese since he’s curious about me and what I think about China. He knows that I’m from Japan and this morning he asked me if my family was alright and told me to never give up. He said he is originally from Sichuan and he lost a family member in the 2008 earthquake. “Times like this, we need each-other”. I was really touched by his simple remarks and gave me power to push on.
Living in China, it is hard for me to contribute directly and help with the relief efforts in Japan and I though that I could help by spreading the word on how everyone can help out right in your living room. It’s been 4 days after the earthquake but Japan is still in need of your help. At this very moment, the survivor’s of the earthquake at the evacuation centers are starving and are lacking warm clothes and blankets. Please make a small donation at the Red Cross’s website here.
I am also continuing to translate and interpret Japanese media and useful information on my twitter feed at @gokatayama. I will also be making daily posts on my thoughts and photos I took from Sendai and Fukushima in the following days from last year when I was in Japan.