Day 1: Arrived in Ishinomaki / by airi katsuta

After a 2 hour flight to San Francisco, and then a 10 hour flight to Narita Airport in Japan, and then a 7.5 hour bus ride... I have arrived to Ishinomaki! To show you where exactly it is, it is in Miyagi prefecture and right next to Sendai. Here's a map.

My sister, Riho, is with me and she is taking pictures of me while I photograph the city :)

 

And then we got to our hotel, called Casa de Costa. They used to be housings for students before the tsunami, but they converted it into a business hotel. Everyone has been very kind, and its very clean in here. And free wifi! Yay!

After a little bit of rest, we decided to meet up with Ted, who I know from volunteering last year. He was the leader in the branch that I was in, and he's from Florida but he's been in Ishinomaki since April with the recovery relief.

He's very wise and kind, and he was like a father figure to me last year. So in the afternoon, he showed us around town and visited the places I helped out at.

Last year, I dug sludge out of the drain gutters for Saito-san's neighbors.

So today, the first place we went was Saito-san's residence. She likes to garden a lot so she showed us her beautiful flowers.

She gave us lots of cucumbers that she grew in this garden to take home. She was such a nice lady.

And afterwards, we went to the town homes that we cleaned.

And after a year later,

The big house right behind it was left untouched. Sometimes the house isn't salvageable so they have to tear it down.

 

There were many houses that we, Peaceboat volunteers cleaned, but sometimes they end up tearing it down, or left alone where the owners move. Everyone has their reasons, whether if its the money, family, or work, or they're scared.

 

After taking in the first day, I was reminiscing the memories from last year. Some things seemed like they were frozen in time, where nothing has been touched, but then I saw more and more people moving back into their homes.