Friday, December 2, 2011

Toku for Matsushima [9”x12”, oil]

On November 3rd, we left Tokyo to spend a few days at “Tak”, a much loved haunt for Candice and Doug’s family.  Tak is a cluster of a few dozen vacation cabins on the south side of Matsushima Bay, Myagi Prefecture… just a bit north of Sendai.  I would have loved to see this area before the Tsunami!  It is hauntingly beautiful, and has a special place in the hearts of many Japanese people. 

Tohu for Matsushima When the tsunami hit March 11, these hundreds [~260] of small islands absorbed most of the damaging power of the waves and thus spared many of the treasures in the shrines and museums in town, not to mention the the threat of injury and death for the residents.  I know nothing of Kanji personally but I googled the Kanji symbol for shelter and found Toku.  This little painting is all about that protection and shelter so I added the Kanji.

I have very fond memories of the time we spent in the north.  We enjoyed spending time with the kids and playing the tourist.  We walked on the beach with the kids and listened to their stories and thoughts from March 11.  I’m so glad the kids weren’t at the cottage then!  The tsunami warning system did its job and saved thousand of lives – very few lives were lost in Shichigahama where we stayed, despite the horrific property damage.  The area called “Tak”, where Candice and Doug have their little cottage, is perched high up on the hill overlooking the ocean.  Only two cottages sustained damage – Candice and Doug’s foundation required major repair and their neighbour had water in the basement.  They got off very, very lightly. 

It was hard to grasp the horror of the tsunami when looking out to sea on those gorgeous November days.  But, when one turned away from the sea there was a surreal, flattened landscape of bare concrete foundations as far as the eye can see.  The trees at the beach are bent and twisted but most will survive…  much like the people of this area who are rebuilding their lives as best they can.  Stoically, steadily, slowly.  I’d like to help in some way. 

Here are a few photos we took in Myagi prefecture:

tsunami damage walkabout (2) 

Walkabout to introduce Grandma and Grandpa to the area

living on the old foundation

Living on the old foundation!

beach view from the cliffs of Tak

Beach view from the Tak cliff

 cottage view - the water made it this high

Beach view from cottage deck – note the damaged Tsunami warning siren just below the trees.  The water rose to the base of these trees.

 cottage and shed

Cottage and the shed that floated 15 feet from it’s previous home.collecting

Kiera and Kalista hunting for treasures near the beachlots of cleanup done lately

22 huge bags of debris awaiting pickup for recycle and garbagegreat cruise boat

Matsushima Bay – cruise boat and oyster farm


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