Monday, March 11, 2013

Women & Their Tougher Side

And, it's time to make you meet those two women, from Japan whose life changed drastically when their town Minamisanriku faced the disaster on 11th March 2011.

Meet Miura Sakiko, from this town, which saw twin disaster struck first an earthquake, and then huge tsunami waves. This old lady, who run a restaurant, still remembers 1960 tsunami, caused due to Chile earthquake in the same town where she lives now. This time the waves took away everything. Her restaurant got swept away, including three decorative buoys which had one Kanji character, a Japanese script, each. Interestingly, three of these make the name of restaurant when put together. And, two of these buoys had initial letters of her husband and son. The emotional connect with these buoys was quite obvious. But, call it fate, or a coincidence, one fine day she noticed one of these buoys, precisely the one carrying her husband’s initial, on a television show. That Buoy has floated and reached coast of Alaska, other side of Pacific. Miura contacted the TV channel, and with some efforts it was planned to be return back to Minamisanriku. Finally in June 2012 she got back her buoy, 15 months after the disaster. She was thrilled and emotional at the same time. Her happiness knew no bounds. 
Miura is currently busy planning to re-open her restaurant and it is expected to start by April 2013. Main reason behind reopening it is to start economic activity of town and revive local economy. In her own words “If a buoy can come back to me from across the ocean, I can surely rebuild my restaurant. There is still hope,” So true, as till the time we have hope in this world, no natural disaster can take over human spirit. We are born to fight back, and smile against all odds!
Minamisanriku Town in 2013...

This other woman, Mayumi Kudo, is a young lady, who has a 5 year old kid. She is a wife of a Shinto priest, who decided to tell her common experience in an uncommon way. Like many other, she too faced the nature's disaster that day. But, she expressed that disaster via sketches. She told her story to world in the form of Kamishibai. Kamishibai, literally paper drama, is an old Japanese art of story-telling through pictures. Her pictures and narration are so perfect that viewer feels the devastating tsunami and its after-effects like a first-hand experience. During the narration she also gives valuable advises for disaster preparations. " Decide in advance among family members to move to high grounds in case of tsunami warning. No one should keep looking for others and waste precious time in searching," she says. Many inquiries and observations even from her little one after the disaster make important turning points in her story. Her emotional and appealing story has been told on 35 different occasions in last one and a half years. Japanese version of picture book is already published and also being translated in countries as far as Spain and Israel. Bravo!!

This feature has been contributed by Mumbai-based Ashish Sapre. An engineer by profession, who started shooting dilapidated buildings for professional needs, Sapre trained himself to look for opportunity where none exist. Travelling is his hobby and professional requirement, giving ample opportunity to capture whole spectrum of images. He met these two women at his recent trip to Japan!

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