DISCLAIMER FROM THE TRANSLATOR: While I speak both English and Japanese fluently, I know nothing about medicine. These are rough translations made through tears (i.e., sometimes while bawling). Please take all medical details in particular with a grain of salt. These translations have not been proofread and will be revised on a later date.

Please note that I am NOT in contact with the original author, who has given general permission for translation in one of her entries.

I would appreciate it if everyone can refrain from posting these entries elsewhere and to share this address <http://jkts-english.blogspot.com> instead, as I will be making revisions to each entry directly (addresses for individual entries may change if I revise their titles).



Start reading here: 1) To the affected areas.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

13) Family

March 22

It's now our last day here at Rikuzentakata. We're very much like a family now.

I have seen countless people who have lost their families in this disaster, but I think we can call anyone with whom we've shared tears and feelings our "family," too, not just those with whom we are related by blood. That's why I've thought of everyone at the evacuation sites, hospitals and first-aid stations as truly being my family, and have treated them as such.

We still can't take baths here.

The weather was bad again today, so the people who are building temporary housing also took turns to come and see how the evacuation sites are doing, making rounds to see whether there were any problems.

My medical team decided that we want to leave some kind of a gift behind, and we came up with the idea of at least setting up a footbath with the help of the builders. The builders agreed immediately, and made a long, gigantic footbath that lots of people can use at once in no time at all. The's still no water, so we all went back and forth from the water truck and heated the water with fires and stoves.

We went to get everyone at the evacuation site, and when they saw the footbath, they let out a cry of surprise.

Everyone was using the footbath seated in a row, and instantly there were smiles everywhere. The water wasn't that warm, but I'm glad they were happy about it. There was even an old man who was so happy that he washed his face with the water, even though it's from a footbath.

"But everyone washed their feet in that water!" I said with a laugh.
"It's all right, we're all pretty much family anyway," he responded.

It felt great to know that everyone else thought we were like family, too. Yet again, I was the one being cheered up by everyone's smiles.

That night, everyone said their feet were still warm and fell sound asleep. I was so happy about this tiny little thing I was able to do and spent the whole night crying.

I want to stay here, but I'm sure the only reason why I can think that is because I have a place where I can go home. I actually made a formal request to extend my stay, but it was turned down on the grounds that it is clear that the medical team will fall ill if we stay for any longer, and that we must go back for now.

I'm sure all the evacuees want to leave this place as soon as possible. The feelings here are warm, but the gymnasium is very cold. I sincerely wish that everyone will have a place to live soon.

But I want to continue to cherish these encounters that are making me feel this way.

The work here has certainly had an enormous impact on my own perspective and future.

From now on, I will proudly say that I have a lot of "family" in Iwate Prefecture, too.

P.S. The self defense forces have set up a bath tent in the next city! It's limited to just several people each day, but there is finally an opportunity for everyone at the evacuation sites to take real baths!! It made me happy to see people coming back feeling refreshed, with smiles on their faces.

Next entry: 14) From Tokyo

Translated April 1.
Original entry in Japanese: 13、Family

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