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

2) Myself on Day One.

March 16

I was told where I will be heading.

"You will be sent to Rikuzentakata."

I was assigned to join the medical team heading for Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture, where the damage was severe, and traveled by air.

The other nurses from my hospital were sent to Fukushima and Miyagi, all in different teams.

Each team sent along intravenous drips, medicine, bandages, wet packs, diapers, pads, gauze, masks, etc.—tens of thousands of each from the hospitals in Tokyo using various means of transportation. We didn't know at this time that these tens of thousands of medical objects won't even come close to being sufficient.

We will not be wearing our usual white coats, but rather a sort of a smock that looks like a sweat suit, a uniform printed with the words NURSE/Kangoshi.

Watching the ground from the airplane, I could guess that we were passing Tochigi. When we were above Fukushima, I could see more and more houses and towns with fallen roofs. I could see the nuclear power plant, too. The leading doctor said, "You can tell if you keep an eye on the coast." "That looks like Sendai over there."

The landscape of Sendai, where I have visited friends many times before, had changed completely.

Everyone sent me messages saying that they're "fine" or "okay," but they aren't fine or okay. It's so heart-wrenching.

As we learn up in the sky more and more about what the situation is in Sendai, the whole plane gradually became silent.

Eventually, we could see the landscape of the Sanriku region in Iwate. I felt weak at my knees. It looked like burnt-out ruins immersed in water.

This might sound like I'm thinking about this as someone else's problem, but I thought, "This is Japan, too—it's not even that far away from Tokyo," and I felt truly afraid of where I was heading.

At the same time, I also became strongly worried about whether I might just get in everyone else's way.

Once we arrived, each day was so full of hardships that I couldn't even bother to feel worried any more.

Next entry: 3) Red flags

Translated March 27.
Original entry in Japanese: 2、初日の自分。

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