ROAD vol.5 Evacuees' Short Comments
by Voices from the Field Admin - Thursday, 17 May 2012, 10:54 PM



Read the prologue to the evacuees' comments listed below

I’m always trying not to bother my daughter too much. I was taken to many places to join various events, but I could not enjoy myself without my friends. So I would like to go where my friends are. (Woman in her 80s, Koriyama, June 26, 2011)

Though I’ve already gotten old, I still have a dream. I would like to move to a certain town and grow rice there. Since I may never be able to come back to Tomioka, I would like to continue growing rice in that town. (Man in his 60s, Koriyama, June 26, 2011)

Because of the accident at the nuclear power plant, my daughter had to evacuate and lost her job. She has 27 years of payment left on her housing loan. It had been only three years since the house was completed. (Man in his 60s, Koriyama, July 2, 2011)

I don’t have a place in temporary housing yet. I don’t even know how to fill in the application form. I had been assuming people over 75, like me, would be given housing automatically. (Man in his 70s, Koriyama, July 2, 2011)

I am anxious about my son and grandson who are working at TEPCO. (Woman in her 70s, Iwaki, July 3, 2011)

I don’t have a chance to talk to anyone at my temporary housing unit, so I come here [to the evacuation centre at the Big Palette] to talk about various topics with others. (Man in her 60s, Koriyama, July 3, 2011)

I have two daughters. It is very hard for me that my family has to live separately because of this disaster. At least if they lived near me, I would be at ease. (Man in his 30s, Koriyama, July 2, 2011)

I wish I can do my hobby.I want yarns and fabrics for handicraft. (Woman in Kesenuma 60’s)

My hobby is skiing and I used to be an instructor of competitive skiing. I want to do things like skiing and ballroom dancing, but I feel that’s inappropriate when I think about the people who are still suffering from the earthquake. (Woman in Kesenuma Shelter 60’s)

I love flowers. I used to do flower arrangement. It was nice to be able to enjoy my hobby. ( Women in Iwaki Shelter, age uncertain)

I cannot do farm work so I feel bored. I am grateful to all kinds of people who visit me here. (Rikzentakada Shelter, age and sex uncertain)

The temporary housing is equipped with everything, all brand new, too. Now what I need is a car. I had to leave it at home [when I evacuated]. When I was allowed to go home for a short visit, I checked the car and the engine started, so I think it still works. (Man in his 50s, June 25th 2011, Iwaki)

There seem to be burglars entering our homes [which we had to evacuate]. I am so sad that I cannot eat locally grown food. I was growing vegetables and rice. I had some rice stored in one of the machines, but they say we should not eat it, even though it’d already been harvested. The rice you grow yourself is the most delicious. It is frustrating that I have to buy rice to eat. I wonder how many more years it will take till I can grow crops myself. I wonder how long this will last. At least if I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. (Woman in 70s, June 25th 2011, Iwaki)

It will be a very critical time for us from now on, as we must start everything from scratch. It’s very nice to have the volunteers come here every day as they provide a pleasant distraction. (Man in 70s, 25th June 2011, Iwaki)

I cannot even go back to my own town or home where I used to live without permission from the national government. (Man in his 70s, 25th June 2011, Iwaki)

After the earthquake I stayed in Tokyo only for two weeks that I could put up with that life because, in Tokyo, I couldn't get any information I wanted. When I was allowed to go home briefly, I was relieved to find that nothing had been stolen even though there had been so many thefts around Naraha and Tomioka.(Woman in her 60s, Iwaki, June 12, 2011)

I am about to go to Uchigo for fun. I don't think it’s good for me to stay here all the time. I’m getting on a bus that leaves at 27 minutes past the hour. I had to leave my car behind when I evacuated, you see. (Woman in her 60s, Iwaki, June 12, 2011)

I went to TEPCO once to talk to them directly. I couldn’t help myself. Each and every one of us in the temporary housing is really stressed out. (Man in her 40s, Koriyama, June 12, 2011)

I worked at the nuclear power plant when I lived there. I’ve been looking for jobs here but they are not easy to come by. (Man in his 50s, Koriyama , June 12, 2011)

I evacuated from Tomioka. My uncles are living in Chiba and Saitama [prefectures in the Kanto area, away from the disaster-affected region] but I am not used to the complicated train system in those cities. I am afraid of having to make train transfers and such, so I cannot live over there. (Man in his 50s, Koriyama , June 12, 2011)

I used to raise cattle but I set all of them free. I couldn’t just kill them for nothing, right? (Man in his 60s, Koriyama , June 12, 2011)

I am exhausted from making the temporary visit back home, which was permitted. It was extremely hot from wearing the [required] protective gear and hat. I could only bring my car back. I wish I had loaded the car with my things. (Man in his 50s, Iwaki, June 25, 2011)

I’m trying to save on my electricity cost. I have too much spare time because I don’t have my vegetables or flowers to tend to. I’ve never seen my next door neighbor, you know? I don’t know who lives there. (Age & sex unknown, Rikuzen-Takata)

I’ve worked a long time as a nurse. When I’m alone and have nothing to do, I have a lot of flashbacks. I’m afraid I might have a nervous breakdown. So, this is nice [referring to the foot bath]. I used to keep myself busy with things like taking care of my rice paddy, taking classes, teaching, etc. But suddenly I have nothing to do all day. I even read all the pages of the newspaper. (Women in her 60s, Evacuation center in Ishinomaki)

There’s a grocery truck that comes around and I also have someone to give me a ride to go shopping. I don’t use the public bus service [provided after the disaster] because it’s inconvenient. I don’t know its schedule or where it stops. (Women in her 60s, Temporary housing in Rikuzen-Takata)

As I lost my car, someone who has a car gives me a ride to go shopping for daily necessities. I’m able to go shopping about twice a week. (Women in her 80s, Temporary housing in Rikuzen-Takata)

My hobby was classical Japanese dance. But all my kimonos and cassette tapes were swept away by the tsunami. Recently, I received a beautiful yukata [a light summer kimono made of cotton], but I can’t wear it because I don’t have a sash for it. What a pity! (Woman in her 80s, Temporary house in Rikuzentakata )

It’s hot in the temporary housing unit, so I keep all windows open to let in air. My house and fields were swept away by the tsunami, so even though I want to work in the field as I did before, I can’t. I don’t know what to do because I have no hobby. (Woman in her 80s, Temporary house in Rikuzentakata )

I have 50 cats. I don’t have any hobby. I always spend time doing nothing. (Man in her 70s, Shelter in Koriyama )

I didn’t have any hobby. All I did was work. I had various jobs, but none of them were particularly enjoyable. (Man, unknown age , Shelter in Iwaki )

Picture of Anatoli  Vassiljev
Re: ROAD vol.5 Evacuees' Short Comments
by Anatoli Vassiljev - Sunday, 26 February 2012, 03:00 PM
Very impressive!
Picture of Glenn FERNANDEZ
Re: ROAD vol.5 Evacuees' Short Comments
by Glenn FERNANDEZ - Monday, 28 May 2012, 06:29 PM

All of the short stories featured here tugged at my heart. I am particularly intrigued by the situation of the lady who lost her job and still has 27 years of payment left on her housing loan. That must be quite stressful for her.


But supposing that that lady’s house is within the evacuation zone (within 30km of the nuclear power plant), is she still required to pay her housing loan or was the loan automatically canceled when she was forced to move away from the damaged nuclear plant?

Picture of Yoko Matsuda
Re: ROAD vol.5 Evacuees' Short Comments
by Yoko Matsuda - Monday, 25 June 2012, 12:47 AM
Dear Glenn,

Thank you for your question, and I apologize for the belated reply. Basically the victims (both from tsunami and the nuclear accident) can postpone the payment of their housing loan, but it is not canceled under the current law.

Since after the Kobe Earthquake, the problem that the victims bear two loans for the lost and new housings is pointed out as "double loan" problem. In the wake of this earthquake, Japan Bank Association and the government announced some new relief measures but it is not popular yet.

Please find the further explanation provided by Japan Federation of 

Yoko Matsuda, a member of VfF