Far From OverPosted: April 20, 2011
This article was written by Megumi Nishikura for Metropolis magazine.
As a documentary film producer, foreign media crews eager to swoop in and capture the 9.0 magnitude destruction contacted me immediately after the quake. They wanted me to translate for their reporters and act as a coordinator, but I was in too much shock. I kept on saying, “I’ll reply to them tomorrow.” Towards the end of that week, I began to emerge from the sense of helplessness I was feeling. I wanted do something, but the question was—what?
As I began to collect goods to donate, I learned that the international NGO Peace Boat was planning to send weekly busloads of volunteers up north. I contacted them offering to video document their relief efforts.
We departed Peace Boat’s Takadanobaba offices on a Friday evening and arrived in Ishinomaki, Miyagi-ken early the next morning. Peace Boat had set up a tented office on the premises of Senshu Daigakuin Ishinomaki. The university campus is perhaps 2km away from any of the noticeably affected areas. I had tried to prepare myself for what I was about to witness prior to departure by looking at as many images of the destruction that I could. Yet at first glance, the university’s neighborhood appeared perfectly normal. The houses were still standing. The local neighbors were driving around in their family cars.
That first impression, however, would fade quickly.
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