The last day of the program, (Saturday, 6/24), was a bit more of a blur than some other days, if maybe only because we spent less time on the bus! In the morning, we heard from a couple of folks working on replacement housing. Six years later, there are still 100,000 people in temporary housing! And the social dynamics are real. Throw a bunch of fishermen among the farmers, a crowd of folks on government assistance among the still-working...it gets tense. The big breakthrough was assigning housing by neighborhood, rather than by lottery, which helped keep some group cohesion. Apparently that was an important factor, although I could imagine it going the other way, too.
After checking out the early construction phase of their new development (adding layers of dirt for a couple years, remember), we visited some of future residents at a local Shinto shrine. Then, off to the oyster farm! I gotta tell you, I'm not much of an oyster guy, myself, but getting out on the water, and watching these guys do their thing....an excellent way to wrap up the week.
Well, not totally wrap-up. There was a group photo or TWELVE that had to happen first....but eventually we were, reluctantly, allowed to leave. Our hosts were very sweet.
I'm looking forward to getting everyone's thoughts and revisiting with the group, who will be presenting our thoughts at PSU from 3-4:30pm on July 15th (Smith Student Union, #296/8), if you'd like to see the song and dance version ('Tohoku: the musical!'). RSVP here:
Flyer is here: