ROAD vol.2 Evacuees' Short Comments
by Voices from the Field Admin - Tuesday, 4 October 2011, 07:24 AM

Read the prologue to the evacuees' comments listed below

1. June 2-3, 2011: Kōriyama, Fukushima

I almost got a job, but the salary was too low. Are they low-balling me because they know I am an evacuee? At least I got temporary housing in one shot [in the lottery]. (Man in his 40s)

I found out I didn’t win the lottery to get temporary housing yesterday. I wonder if I have to stay here [in the evacuation center] forever – really. (Woman in her 50s)

What shall I do if my temporary housing is located in Ohtama ? I have no choice, do I? My friend who moved to an apartment says she is lonely – she has nobody to talk to. Here [in the evacuation center], we are all friends. (Woman in her 60s)

I got temporary housing near here. I’m glad, but I would prefer it in Tomita town. But at least I got something. I’m going shopping now, to take a walk. I go out only on fine days. I receive tasty bento-boxes for lunch and dinner. There used to be only bread and rice balls for breakfast, but lately we receive bento-boxes instead. Although, I had gotten used to having bread. I wouldn’t have had any of these inconveniences if I could have stayed at home – TEPCO is such a liar – we can’t trust them at all. (Man in his 70s)

I really want to return to my home – but I guess I may not be able to do so for at least 20 years. (Man in his 60s)

I haven’t slept on a tatami mat for the last three months – I just sleep on the floor here, it’s so stressful. It’s irritating, too. I just came back from the temporary housing lottery. I wish they had just let us drawn ourselves [so we can test our own luck], but they have someone there who draws for us evacuees. Thank you for your time, even though you must be busy with your studies. (Woman, age unknown, to a student volunteer)

June 21, 2011: Kamaishi, Iwate

I will never go back to the sea.

If an earthquake strikes now [as I’m having a foot bath], I’d run away bare-footed.

June 20, 2011: Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate

I live in a temporary housing unit with six people, so we quarrel. But we reconciled because a tsunami might come again.

If we live in temporary housing, we have to pay utility costs. So a lot of people decline to live there.

Everyone is pleased to have this temporary housing [on the grounds of an elementary school], but nobody is thinking about the children [referring to how the temporary housing has occupied the school children’s playground].

June 19, 2011: Shichigahama, Miyagi

These days, I am very anxious about the future. (Woman in her 50s)

After I was in the hospital for a week, I went to see my house. I saw many dead bodies. (Man in his 60s)

I wasn’t sure which way to escape when the tsunami came. I went straight and luckily survived; those who went to the left were swept away by the tsunami. (Man in his 60s)

If only I could catch fish, I would be able to make a living. I want to start fishing again from this September. I can be busy again after I fix my fishing nets. (Man in his 70s)

I came here yesterday. It really felt good and I slept well last night. So I came back here today. (Woman in her 70s, on the foot bath service)

I really look forward to coming here! (Woman in her 80s, on her third visit to the foot bath)

Picture of Judith Cuadra
Re: ROAD vol.2 Evacuees' Short Comments
by Judith Cuadra - Friday, 23 September 2011, 04:26 PM
Dear Translation team
Thank you very much for your efforts transmitting this comments. I think it is really valuable, the evacuees talk frankly and obviously is not what we read in the news.

I had read some of these in the Facebook Newsfeed, now that I read them here I noticed some of them (specially the long ones) appeared as separated posts in the Facebook screen but they are really from one person. If it was possible to make them together then the continuity wont be lost. I think some users will read the comments in twitter others in the webpage, and others like me Facebook addict would enjoy read them in Newsfeed so I think it would be very helpful.

Warm Regards
Picture of Sharon Corologos
Re: ROAD vol.2 Evacuees' Short Comments
by Sharon Corologos - Saturday, 24 September 2011, 12:42 PM
I really appreciate the honesty of these comments. When I read about volunteers providing a footbath, a regular bath, or a place for tea I realize how important these small comforts are. These are the things that allow victims to feel human, to feel respected and cared for. They are just as important as food and shelter. And being good listeners to the comments of the victims is just as important, also. Thanks for writing the comments in their raw form.
Picture of Melanie Lawn
Re: ROAD vol.2 Evacuees' Short Comments
by Melanie Lawn - Sunday, 2 October 2011, 05:49 PM
Your blog shows very well how people have to deal with the disaster even months after it happened. Not returning to a normal and stable life must be extremely energy-sapping and exhausting.

To me the first comment was especially impressive, when a man is telling about trying to get a job but feels like being taken advantage of. Actually I would like to hear more about people who are looking for a job or already got a job. Is it possible for survivers to stand on their own feet, step by step, or do they have to leave the region for that. Where are the younger people, in their 20s, 30s?

It was mentioned that people have to pay for expenses at the temporary housing. Where do they get the money from? Savings? Working?

Thank you for keeping us informed!
Picture of Karly Burch
Re: ROAD vol.2 Evacuees' Short Comments
by Karly Burch - Monday, 3 October 2011, 08:36 PM
I really appreciated this post. I feel that it is easy for all of us to forget how difficult it is for the victims of the tsunami to live each day. The post nicely depicts the current pleasures and obstacles of every day life and how important it is for people to be active in the process of moving forward. I was especially touched by the woman who said that she wanted to pick her own lottery card, as it was her future at hand. Also by those who mentioned that being in a new apartment is nice, but without the support and company of friends and family, it will be quite lonely and depressing. It is important to listen to the voices of the people and include them in decision making processes that affect their everyday lives and future opportunities.
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Re: ROAD vol.2 Evacuees' Short Comments
by Yoko Matsuda - Tuesday, 4 October 2011, 09:03 PM
Dear readers,
Thank you for your comments and positive feedback for the raw words from survivors.

The original Japanese version of these comments are on this website. If you know some Japanese, you may understand the comments are issued by specific themes. Actually Team VfF now working on "men's comments in his 50's or 60's" and "comments on money, work and life". 

They are coming soon. Melanie's comments reminded us that our sympathy and interest are at the same area. Please look forward to the next update.

Yoko Matsuda
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Re: ROAD vol.2 Evacuees' Short Comments
by Cathy Hillman - Sunday, 23 October 2011, 11:11 AM
A warm hello to all, Have there been any CO-Housing developments constructed for permanent housing? If so, how do you feel about this? It seems to me that co-housing would allow people to share time, space, chores, and utilities. In addition, residents would benefit from ongoing social activities and interactions. http://www.cohousing.org/cm/article/japan
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Re: ROAD vol.2 Evacuees' Short Comments
by vff admin - Thursday, 1 December 2011, 05:54 PM

After the 1995 Kobe Earthquake, there were many co-housing project, in Japan, collective housing is more popular words. It starting from temporary housing for elderly peoples. About the 3.11 East Japan Earthquake, we do have termporary housing based on co-housing concept. For the permanet housing, I don't know any co-housing projects. However, I hope a co-housing project is emergeing for permenent housing project.