Sunday, 3 July 2011

Granny's Place

Back in Fukushima yesterday with Team Heal Japan to clear out a much older house directly opposite the whisky collector's house from 2 weeks ago. There was no way to save this wooden house so we were clearing it out so it could be knocked down. About 2pm a woman and her mother turned up who were the daughter and grandaughter of the owner. They told us that the grandmother who lived here had died some months before the tsunami but they hadn't been able to clear out the house before. There were a lot more personal items around this time and they both quietly went through the huge pile of photos, letters, documents and trophies etc finding photos of the grandaughter as a kid with her grandmother and who knows what else.

We also managed to save about three beer-barrel size barrels of miso paste from the back room which her grandmother was famous for making. We opened the first barrel to check the miso was still useable and it was fine. The fact that we'd been able to rescue her last batch brought and so many mementos brought both of them to tears.

The fourth barrel though had been knocked around and had been open for nearly four months so couldn't be saved. Miso is basically fermented soybeans and that last open barrel stunk to high heaven. Sometimes it's good to wear your mask...

Once again, met some great people and forged some hopefully lasting friendships. It's Sunday now and the grandaughter has just emailed THJ to thank us as she just couldn't believe that 26 people came up from Tokyo and beyond to help her and her mother. The clean-up effort covers many activities, sometimes you clean houses up and get them fit for living again, sometimes where the damage has been too much, you just have to clean them out and save what you can so the owners can knock them down and start again. Either way their reaction is the same and I'm really glad to have chance to be a small part of it with all these folks.

This time we made sure to take longer readings in the same places with the geiger counter. We let it settle for at least the full 160 seconds, usually more and the readings were around the 0.25 - 0.30 microSieverts per hour as opposed to about 0.15 when we left Tokyo, as expected. We ate lunch inside the local shrine building where it was back down to 0.13.

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