24 Nov 2016

Yuriage

While we stayed in Sendai, there was a quite strong earthquake in the morning. I jumped up from the bed and urged the big mouse to evacuate to the narrow space. It wasn't the first time for him, but the situation of shaking of a wooden house is different from tall buildings. It was the earthquake originating from the coastal Miyagi prefecture, but there was no fear of a tsunami with it. It brought back awful memories. Nowadays, earthquakes happen all around the world. Perhaps it isn't an exaggeration to say that everyone is a victim of earthquake or natural disasters.

We visited Yuriage district, Natori city, Miyagi, where was flatland and was hit by the catastrophic tsunami in 2011. Since I moved to the UK, it was the first time for me to visit the seaside after the Great East Japan Earthquake. I could have visited there earlier, but I felt something scared. Now, rubbles and mud were completely cleaned up, but still nothing was around there. And still you can see some damaged foundation stones of house.


There is a hill, just 700 meters from the coast, with an elevation of 6.3 meters. On March 11, 2011, a 8.4-meter tsunami from the earthquake swept over this hill and washed away shrines that were located on top of the hill. Some people evacuated to this hill because this was one of the evacuation areas. Who could have imagined tsunami wave which was higher than this hill would come? Here is flatland and this was one of the highest places around here, but only a handful of people who climbed the tree, held branches, endured cold weather till rescue came, survived.


Now there is a memorial monument near the hill. It was built to demonstrate resolve to restore the damage from the earthquake, in memory of its victims. Even now, people visit here constantly to make a prayer. The top of this tower located in the middle of the mound shows the same heights of tsunami.


Near the monument, an old building remains. It is said some people evacuated to the top of this building and had a narrow escape with being leg‐deep in water. Their fear and coldness with wet body is beyond imagination.


Not only Yuriage, but coastal cities, towns and villages are moving towards the future and achieving reconstruction a bit by bit. But I felt time passed very slowly in that place. They are going to raise the ground level by the sea, but haven't started yet. The Port Morning Market was held in Yuriage on Sundays and holidays. Which boasts a 40-year tradition and reopened in 2013. You can get very fresh fish and other products there. It's good to see it was crowded with many people. I will never forget about that day.