Friday, April 15, 2011
Conflicts continue here. Please see this amazing photo below. It is the only pine tree remained at Takadamatsubara, a picturesque spot in Rikuzentakata City in Iwate prefecture. A few days ago, I read that about 70,000 pine trees used to grow there.
Another beautiful spot for pine trees is Matsushima. At the seaside there, we can see many small islands covered with pine trees. It’s in Matsushima town in Miyagi prefecture.
In early 90s, I met a Japanese friend of mine at Los Angeles airport and travelled together on Korean Air to Japan. She was on the way to her home, Sendai city in Miyagi prefecture. I was on the way back to Yokohama. I told her I had never been to the northeastern Japan. She invited me to her birth home. Her house was at the foot of the former Aoba Castle. I couldn’t resist such offer, so I joined her and her family a few days later to a hot spring in Zaoh, a ski resort, and then she and I took a short trip to Matsushima next day. We had fresh oysters for lunch and watched many small islands covered with dark green pine-trees in a distance. The scenery was just like in fairy tales, photos and old paintings I had read and seen.
I haven’t seen the friend for a long time, but because of the disaster, I sent an email to our mutual friend and asked about her and her family. I received her email and confirmed that they were all well, but her college classmates lost their homes in the tsunami. I was glad and sorry about the news.
I wondered what happened to the picturesque Matsushima town. Its view is very important cultural property. It shows up often in old and current literature. Yesterday, I learned that those islands are still there, and maybe some are damaged, but they still have pine trees in Matsushima town. But 500 out of 1000 evacuees need new homes, and they cannot build where they used to live. They have to find their home in higher ground where many pine trees are standing. With prefabricated housing in mind, the reporter asked an authority which was more important, pine trees or people.
The authority replied, people. That makes sense. Now, do you think the authority will decide and cut those trees to build prefabricated houses for those 500 people? Stay tune. When I hear further news on this issue, I’ll let you know.