Tuesday, 7 June 2011


Back up to Iwaki last weekend with Team Heal Japan this time clearing out smashed up houses near Hisanohama. One of the owners was a big bear of a bloke, someone you'd be glad to have on your side in a pub-fight. 

He was telling me his family was originally from a village just up above on the hillside. He'd always loved the ocean as a kid so saved all his money and finally moved his family down the hill, into his dream house by the beach about 9 years ago. Now he's going to have to rebuild back up on top and his insurance probably won't cover it. He still loves the ocean though, despite everything... just can't live next to it any more.

We found a couple of unopened bottles of whisky in the rubble. One was a supermarket cheapy but the other was a 17-year old Nikka, a surprisingly fine drop. He made us take them both home and waved us off jumping up and down like a 5-year old kid with tears in his eyes. I'd say we're even.

I think I've mentioned before how similar Fukushima and Iwaki is to S. Wales. Same size towns, similar countryside, same cold winters, (NOT the same hot summers) same grey/green/blue sea, ex-coal-mining community... till the government closed all the mines down in the 60s. And on top of all that, I couldn't help think of Aberavon looking at this.

THJ with the owner; middle row camouflage jacket. Whisky bottles: bottom left.

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