3 Years After the 3.11 -
a Reflection by Marife Sugawara
I am writing this two days before 3.11. Trying to looked back what happened 3 years ago. I am from Iwate Ken, Rikuzen Takata.
Everytime I passed by Rikuzen Takata compared 3 years ago, there is a big change. No more debris , no more “gareki.” It is clean. But the future seems so far from here. Where’s the city? I felt so sad for the people who are still living in the temporary shelter my relatives and my fellow Filipino friends who are still fighting to live after the tsunami.
Out of seventeen members I am the first one to rebuild my house. Instead of being fully contented, I still feel sad, because I was hoping too that my friends will also have their own houses in the near future.
Now that the “gareki” are gone, the need for job will increase from now on because the work in cleaning the debris will end by March this year. There are some who don't want to go back in the same company they've worked before tsunami. The memory still remains from most of them. It's been three years but the fact remains that the wound and the trauma of the tsunami doesn't healed yet for the people in Tohoku.
Many of them are still crying inside, traumatized, worried if they can still afford to have a new house. I know that some are contented to stay in the temporary shelter. I pity them but I know that the city is doing its job to be able to settle first and foremost the peoples' livelihood. It will take many years to wait and to bring back everything that was washed out. We can bring back the things that were taken from us, but the lives of the people especially the children who still have their future awaiting for them were already gone.
I was trying to reminisce everything. This is my second life. It was because of my children why I am alive. I tried to pick them up that day. But because of a miraculous mistake, my plan to pick them up was the best mistake that led me to save mine and my youngest son’s life.Remembering this, tears will flow down from my eyes.
Tsunami is not that bad anyway, it had done some good things to us and our community. We become one. And what is important is that, we found our way back to the Lord. From the church PAGASA was born.( We called our group PAGASA in Nihongo Kibou). Our group is not that yet strong there are many trials and difficulties along our way. Our group can be likened to the Miracle Pine out of 70,000 trees only one tree was left standing and trying to show us and telling us not to give up, we have to stand again and start anew.
Never give up.
There's always a chance. There's always a HOPE. Not only for the Filipinos like me but for all Tohoku people.
Baptism of Ryoji and Aera in Watari Church
We had a baptism of Ryoji Susuki the son of Eden and Aera Ishizuka the daughter of Marissa.
It was I believe the first baptism of the Filipino children in Watari. We did the baptism during the Japanese mass and it was celebrated in a welcoming atmosphere. The community are truly one to welcome and celebrate the baptism of Ryoji and Aera.
Ryoji receiving his baptismal certificate with his mother and his God father Mr. Yamasaki
Aera receiving her baptismal certificate with her mother.
|the Watari Community welcomes our newly baptised|
Noda Machi Mass
The community in Noda Machi has been celebrating English mass every first sunday of the month. We gathered together and offered thanks for the all the blessings we received. Last March 2, we were blessed to have a guitarist in our mass. We will try our best to inform all the people about the mass in Fukushima so that we can gather and pray together.
We would like to thank Kaye Goto for all the services she had offered for us as our leader here in our community. Kaye you are always welcome to visit Fukushima. We know Fukushima is also your home and leaving the place is sad for you. Keep on praying for our group here and we do for you.
Shirakawa Block Rosary
|melanie leading the rosary|
After lunch we prepare for the mass with the children serving in our mass. Then we went to Melanie's apartment to do our block rosary in her place.
|with Fr. Tanaka after our Tagalog Mass|
Mass In Kuji
After a five hour drive from Ofunato to Kuji, I am welcomed by the Christians in Kuji. We were waiting for the Filipino group to arrive. It was also snowing that day and they informed Fr. Sato that they will be late in coming to the church. While waiting, Fr. Sato told me that we will distribute the Ashes during the mass to remind them that it's the beginning of the Lenten Season.
After Mass in Kuji Church, I went to Hachinohe to stay overnight for the 1 pm Mass the next day in Hachinohe. I send a message to Pedro and ask him to inform those who wanted to take a ride from the station to the Church. There were four ladies who joined me going to the church. But i am surprised to see more when i arrived in the church. They were already preparing for the mass and were practicing the songs. Monica informed me that she cannot make it to the mass because it the graduation of her son. But she told me that he will inform the group about the mass.
With good singing and an organised choir, the mass in Hachinohe is really superb. I hope this will be continued by the group.
3.11 Commemoration and Events
Fukushima Hawak Kamay
Fukushima Hawak Kamay group had a reach out program for people living in Iitate Mura temporary housing in Fukushima Ken last March 9, 2013. The group entertained and brought food to be shared with the people.
These people are within the 12 mile radius of the Fukushima Nuclear Dai ichi plant. Returning to their towns is still not allowed due to high radiation in the area.
Hawak Kamay Fukushima was formed after the 3. 11 disaster and had been doing this reach out program for people living in the temporary housing.
This year as we commemorate the 3rd year of the disaster, the group decided to do the reach out again and bring smile to the people who are still waiting for the day to return to their towns.
Here is the Youtube link of the video of the activity of the group
PAG ASA "幸福の星” Charity Concert
|PAG ASA community with Nakagawa Goro, Fr. Haru and Garry|
|Yoshida Yoshiko san|
|Fr. Haru with Mizusawa Choir|
Thank You So Much FR. HARU
From the beginning of March this year, F. Haru had been visiting the areas to celebrate the mass and to say thank you to the different communities here in the diocese. Last March 29, the Ofunato PAG ASA community, the Ichinoseki Church, the Kessenuma Church, the community from Ryori had gathered together in Ofunato to give their farewell to Fr. Haru who is going to the Philippines.
The PAG ASA community prepared a video clip for Fr. Haru tracing his journey with the community. It ended with a speech from Erva Sugawara one of the leaders. It was indeed a short and meaningful journey with the community. Fr. Haru also expressed that if one or two of the members happen to be in the Philippines, don't fail to visit him in Manila where he will be assigned from next year.
This is a short note from Terada Sensei, who came all the from Tokyo just to be with Fr. Haru on this farewell party
"今日の大船渡教会では、午前10時半からロザリオの祈り、つづいて11時からミサの予定でしたが、ロザリオ開始が少し遅れたようで、私が12時半に大船渡教会に着いた時には、主の祈り (Ama Namin) を歌っているところでした。ぎりぎりで間に合いました（最近、東北新幹線一ノ関駅から大船渡までの60数キロの道程は混雑気味です。土砂を積んだトラックやミキサー車が列をなして走っています）。ミサにはフィリピン出身者が30人くらい、お子さんが10数人くらいだったでしょうか。「日本出身者」はオルガニストをつとめていた林愛子さんと私だけ（たぶん）。私が教会に着いた時には、すでに涙を流している人たちがたくさんいて、ノーテンキな私は花粉症かと思ったものですが、そうではなくその直前のハルノコ神父さんのお話がすばらしかったのか、あるいは今日はハルノコ神父さんとのお別れの会でみんな集まっているためなのかも知れません。"
Events and Matsuri in April
After a long, cold, and snowy winter, spring has finally sprung, and the beauty of the season is welcomed not only with sighs of relief, but in a wealth of haru matsuri, or spring festivals taking place all over Japan.
And of course the most common scene is the sakura where people go out for "hanami". Visit your local park areas and enjoy the sakura with your obento and a sip of sake.