Quick Update on Kyūbunhama

Sorry to jump from sightseeing in Ise to a serious topic so suddenly, but I’m in Sendai right now, just got back from dinner with friends from the time I spent here as an exchange student, and one of them is the coordinator of the volunteer work I participated in after the tsunami in 2011. Of course, I used the opportunity to ask her about the current situation in Kyūbunhama and the surrounding area.

Heavy machines flattening ground

The gist of what she told me is this: People live mostly in temporary housing, while higher ground is being prepared for permanent buildings. In some places construction of permanent homes might start this year, but she didn’t seem sure about that. Life in the temporary buildings brings some troubles, including lack of space and bad insulation, leading to cold homes in winter and hot ones in summer. A big social issue is that existing neighborhoods have been broken up, which means that people — especially older people — are at risk of getting socially isolated.

They currently try to help by offering tea time with everyone who wants to come to give people an opportunity to talk, and distributing vegetables (I assume to encourage healthy eating, or maybe just to be nice).

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