Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Post Tsunami: Sendai on the way to revival

I received an email from an old friend, Toru Tanaka, from Sendai, Japan, recently. Sendai is the capital city for Miyagi Prefecture in Japan. It is a city of a million inhabitants. Quite recently, we also got to know Sendai (and its vicinities) as being the area worst hit by the tsunami which overwhelmed the east coast of Japan in March of this year.

One would surely recall the images of destruction played out umpteen times on the television when the earthquake hit the area, only to be swiftly followed right after that by the devastating tsunami. The physical, social and psychological damages to to this island nation have been deep and profound.

But if there is one thing I have learnt from my three year stay in the Land of the Rising Sun, it is that the Japanese are a disciplined, hardworking people with a strong sense of identity.

They will rebuild, recover and rise up again from the disaster. And I'm talking from experience. For I have seen how they've rebuilt Kobe after the Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995.

Being located 10km from the coast, the Sendai city centre itself is not much affected by the tsunami. But the outlying town and villages in the coastal areas were devastated and some have disappeared completely.

Some people are still staying in temporary housing as they still cannot afford to rebuild their homes. But the good news according to Tanaka-san is that the revival plan for Sendai City has been approved at the City Assembly last month. So, a full-scale revival of Sendai is just waiting to happen.

Incidentally, Tanaka-san just got married last September and is building a new life for himself too. He is also now in charge of managing the budget for the road planning program for Sendai.

The beautiful pictures of autumn Japan above were emailed to me by Tanaka-san. It makes me miss Japan. Very much.

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