Monday, May 30, 2011


Miyuki san
Ok, need to get back on track after yesterday's little debacle! I have someone else I'd like to introduce to you. Her name is Miyuki, We met by chance while visiting evacuations centers. Oops! already I feel the need to go off on a tangent. All evacuation centers were not created equal. The one we met Miyuki at was a beautiful one, if those two words are permitted to be used in the same sentence. It was a Temple with hardwood floors, shoji sliding screens, carefully tended rock gardens, blooming Cherry blossoms and old moss covered stone lanterns. If a set researcher were looking for an old style traditional Japanese setting this place checked all the boxes. She was just stopping by and we were getting set to leave. I don't recall who engaged who but after 15 minutes we had a plan of action for the rest of the day.

Now best friends
Miyuki had grown up in this area and she knew lots of people, as small town Japan tends to stay small. She had two old Shiba inus and gratefully accepted the bags of food we gave her. She then spent an impromptu afternoon driving us around the local area visiting families with pets. She was an amazing person to be with as sometimes the locals were a bit wary of package laden grinning foreigners approaching. Miyuki broke the ice and was visibly able to relax people further when they realised she was a local and not another well intentioned outsider. We met Puru and Leon, another two Shibas (popular dog in these parts) who didn't not like each other at all before the tsunami but were now best buds and inseparable since the dreadful day. Belle who I told you about earlier. A small Shih tzu called 8 who had become despondent and wouldn't let his owner out of his sight.Goku, who hadn't barked much before but had a real issue with people in his garden now. The list went on, we met all types and heard many amazing stories from both ends of the emotional spectrum.
       We were driving from place to place and our stocks were running low. We would have to drive three hours back to get stocked up again. Miyuki said there was a shop that sold pet food up the way and if we wanted we could shop and stay over in her house and start up again the next day. We were low on funds and didn't want to impose. By staying over she may feel the need to feed us, and I wasn't having that after all her kindness. So we said our goodbyes and promised to meet again the next morning with a car stuffed to bursting with donations.Just one thing before we leave,

K:Ehm but well, sorry to bother you but could I make a quick toilet stop before heading out?
M:Sure but we have no running water, nowhere does. Luckily ours is Japanese style so it is deep.
K:Japanese style? You mean a squat toilet? Yes, I know them.
M:Ehhh.. well ours is old. Much older than new squat toilets.

Not a fence, they are the train tracks.
Miyuki drove us to her house, where we would have been staying had we accepted her kind offer. She lived two rows of houses and a train line back from a river bank.The debris got denser and higher.Until we came to the station. That was cleared because a station always plays a focal point in a Japanese town. When people meet they meet "at the station" however small or insignificant. It was starkly the only area clear because people had been using it for corpses.

We met her two dogs as you saw above and then inside because I wasn't sure if I could hold on any more. My attention quickly moved from my bladder to my vision as they opened the front door. The front door perfectly in tact was a complete and total facade. It was the shell of normality that faced the outside world.Once opened there was just a corridor to walk on, the entire front room had no floor boards and you could see into the bowels of the house. It was covered in white powder to prevent mold and rot settle in. They were all living on the second floor as so many  families in the area were. I'm glad we had said we wouldn't stay before seeing her family home because it would have seemed we were saying no because of it rather than genuine will to get back to our four-walled, with floor abode. I used the toilet, it was old Japanese style.

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