Thursday, March 31, 2011

March: What I Learned

This has been a hard month, but I learned a least 31 things. After feeling so depressed this week, I thought it would be good therapy to make a my Word of the Year scrapbook pages based on the earthquake/tsunami disaster.

You can click on the images to make them bigger and read the journaling.

Explanations of photos from top left: 1. Makuhari, in front of the Excelsior Cafe and movie theater. Adie and I were standing here just after the first one hit.

2. The sidewalk was splitting before us, people were stranded on the rotary in front of the station and salarymen were walking over the cracks, but mostly everyone just stood frozen in place.

3. Buses were attempting to get into the rotary even though the road had split and buckled up. Water was quickly seeping up onto the pavement.

Bottom left: 1. We returned to the high school soon after, driving while the big aftershocks occurred, and we saw that the sports ground had split and now looked like a river.

2. After a short while, Adie accompanied me to the daycare so I could pick up my kids. I could not take photos at that moment because it was chaotic. Several teachers were outside trying to keep the liquifaction at bay - an impossible task. The intersection had sunk down, and liquid clay was pouring out of various holes in the road and sidewalks. We managed to get across the street but our shoes sunk down into the "quicksand". This quicksand was later shoveled out, the road was fixed, and the mud that remained soon turned to dust as you can see in this photo.

3. The liquifaction at a park near my house. This park's ground has since been completely torn up and new grass has been laid down. This park was originally an evacuation site. Not anymore.

 From top left: 1. We came home to this sight. First, the master bedroom had the most damage. A dresser fell over and all the knicknacks in the room had smashed to the floor. A glass vase filled with sand produced most of the mess.

2. My multi-purpose room had no major damage but several books and knicknacks fell down. Luckily, the computer was safe!

3. A lamp that will now be garbage.

From 2nd row left: 1. My mother-in-law's apartment building and grounds had extensive damage due to cracking and liquifaction. Their parking lot was unusable for two weeks. They had no running water for several days.

2. and 3. A neighborhood shopping area near our house called Inage Pat also had extensive damage, as if it sits on a fault line. The earthquake ripped through the ground like a tornado rips through a town. The light poles sit at a an angle now. The sidewalks are ripped apart and have waves going through them. The restaurants are closed for now. It is a low priority for construction work.

From top left at bottom: 1. After a natural disaster, people have a tendency to hoard. This instant curry aisle stayed empty for days. Rice, bread, eggs, milk and other staples were (and in some cases) difficult to come by and when they did start stocking the shelves, items like this were rationed.

2. Black-out schedules were made to force people to conserve electricity to make up for the losses in Tohoku as well as the troubles at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. This black-out schedule was posted at our daycare so that parents would know when the black-outs would occur in the daycare area. Areas of town that were especially damaged and require a lot of reconstruction have been left out of the black out schedule.

3. Donations to the Chiba-city government will be transported to the evacuation facilities in the north. They requested items like toilet paper, diapers, adult diapers, sanitary napkins, and wet tissues.

4. The kids and I at the park near our house. I will never look at the park the same way again.

I will never look at anything the same again.

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