After participating for a few weeks in various efforts around northeastern Japan, it’s difficult to overstate how intense our daily work is. Cleaning up a huge fish plant, removing tsunami goop, sawing through ruined flooring, debris removal – it’s serious and demanding physical labor. I experienced the most malodorous day of my life at a local fish plant, only to be succeeded by a significantly worse one at the commercial plant the next town over (Ofunato).
But there are positives amidst the exposure and sore muscles. The team has been living at a beautiful campsite near Kesennuma. After a long day’s work, we get to enjoy daily trips to the onsen, a relaxing hot bath. I’ve noticed that Japanese people have a tendency to look far younger than they report their age to be. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover evidence supporting onsen being a way the Japanese stay young.