Monday, April 11, 2011

Visiting Rikuzen-Takata--Hikaminoen Handicapped Center and Gymansium

April 10th  4月10日

Then we visited the Hikaminoen evacuation center, which turned out to be a small gymnasium belonging to a government facility for the mentally disabled. So we did a few songs for them too.

This woman had been put in the facility a few days before. She wasn't handicapped, but she had difficulty speaking. She wept and wouldn't let go of me as she told me that she lost her house and her entire life in the tsunami.

This is the Hikaminoen evacuation center. Here again, many of the people were out in the wrecked town, but the people who had stayed were so excited to hear us sing and invited us inside right away.

To show their gratitude for our visit, they sang the song of Rikuzen Takata for us.

It's not a very good quality video, but it captured the moment--probably the most emotional moment of this entire trip, for me. I took a picture of the words to the song pasted on the wall of the gymnasium, because I felt so strongly the love that the people of Rikuzen-takata had for its town, and I wanted to remember it.

This woman, my dad met outside, earlier on in the day. She was outside laying out photos that she'd picked up from the rubble of her home, to dry in the sun. Later on, after we sang for them, she told me, "Today is a good day. You came and sang for us, and I found the body of my son." She told Horii-san that she's looking for 2 more family members.

This is the view of the town from the top of the hill--one last photo before going home.


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