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.
About one week ago I arrived in Kessenuma, Japan. I’m volunteering with the help of a non-profit organization to assist with recovery of the hardest hit areas of the country. So far that means urban areas on the eastern coast of the Tohoku region, including Kessenuma, Rikuzentakata, and Karakura.
The damage is unreal and the work ahead of us incredible.
At the moment the team has limited internet, but I will be making an effort to post content to onpaws.com/helpjapan. For the latest information from the scene here please stay tuned. The site RSS feed is a good way to automatically stay on top of new posts.