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Walking the streets of Ishinomaki

Sorry for the long delay! I’ve been busy with work, and hit HARD by jet lag. Plus, thanks to my ex, I have some really bad memories of Halloween. It used to be one of my favorite holidays, too. :/ What to do but write a blog post and try to work through it, right?

When I left off, Tamara and I had just arrived in Ishinomaki port.

We were on the corner of a large field.

It didn’t really look like something catastrophic had happened there. Grass fields stretched as far as the eye could see, with a few buildings far in the distance. What I didn’t realize then was that that tall grass growing all around was covering evidence of a great disaster.

I still hadn’t realized that this open space had once been wall-to-wall buildings. But that was before the tsunami had swept in and ruined it all.


We were on a street, misty and grey with a light rain falling. Even though it was only early fall and in Tokyo I’d been wearing tank top and sundresses, it was quite cold (it seemed a typhoon was rolling in).


It took a minute to figure out why the white paint was there, but I realized that it was to mark places in the pavement that still needed to be repaired.


And everywhere around us was open field, but there didn’t seem to be the damage that I had been expecting. I knew that a lot had been cleaned up in the last year and a half, but where was the real evidence?


Confused, we walked down a gravelly street, heading toward the closest building.


And then, through clearings in the grass, evidence started showing up. Piles of clothes, and bowls, roof tiles, wood, shoes..


And it began to be even more apparent when the house drew into view. I wonder if the owners made it, or..


There were huge puddles of mud that reeked of mold everywhere, and it was dangerous to get too close to the houses. I was really curious about what it was like inside, but it was way too dangerous to go in.


So, we retreated and across the way, there was a paper factory that was chugging away. It seemed to be working just fine, but the fence around the factory bore the signs of tsunami..


Look at that metal! Twisted beyond recognition by WATER!!


And all around were more signs of the devastation, which got clearer the closer we came.



Houses and businesses, completely cleared out.


This used to be a drug store.


And this probably used to be a sidewalk.


All around, if you peered through the bushes you could see concrete foundations. It hadn’t hit home yet, but this area used to be wall-to-wall buildings.


And then, we spied some buildings in the background that seemed to have been apartments..


The stench of rotting and mold was overwhelming. It made me a bit lightheaded.


It was especially eerie here, because look closely, I could see kitchens that looked just like mine. The same tired old yellow cabinets with metal counters, the same water heaters tacked to the wall. It was just the way that my own kitchen might look, and above that, it was strewn with the remnants of the everyday life of the former inhabitants.


Peering into the open halls was like looking into a mirror. It was unbelievably eerie.


…… and at that, I will leave you! I’ll have a new post up very soon. The time of year (Halloween) just seems somehow appropriate!

See you soon!



(131 geeks have read this)

Hi! This is Jamie Lynn Lano! I am a Washington State (USA) native who: ☆ Holds a Bachelors of the Arts in Media Arts & Animation from AiPx. ☆ Worked as an assistant mangaka in Japan for Konomi Takeshi on The Prince of Tennis. ☆ Was an essay columnist for Asahi Weekly from 2008-2013. ☆ Was the star of Asahi Pop'n Press on Asahi TV (Japan) from 2009-2013 ☆ Was a write for Metropolis magazine in 2010. ☆ Has kept a blog foreeeeeeeeever! First and Current blogs.

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