Visiting a town next to the destroyed nuclear power plant

My parents used to move from Tochigi to a suburb in Tokyo in late  '50s, where they have raised us as I wrote somewhere in this blog. My mother had worked as a nurse at a Salvation Army hospital there for almost 30 years until she retired and came back here in '80s. My parents have become close friends to a lady who was a noncommissioned officer in the Salvation Army. At almost the same time as my mother returned here in Tochigi, that lady, a little bit older than our parents, retired from the Salvation Army and came back to her birth place in a seaside area of southern Fukushima along the Pacific Ocean. Having been single throughout her life, she seemed to have spent her retirement with her family there. When my parents were settled down here, they wanted to visit her. It was to give her a kind of comfort but to share the memories of the old days together with her. It was about 25 years ago, I had no reason to deny their request to bring them to her place on my car.

It took us 3 or even 4 hours to drive to her place. At that time, the high way ran only to a city more than ten miles south of her town. We had to run along a rustic countryside for some time. It was a rather small and humble farmer's house located among rice paddies that she lived. Our parents have had a pleasant time with her there for an hour or two. I was impressed so much at the peaceful and quiet country there at that time that I still remember that visit as if it was yesterday.

Three years ago, the earthquake occurred just east of there. It has caused, together with the Tsunami, the nuclear power plant accident some ten miles north of her place, I have not forgotten of her and her home ever since. That lady must have already passed away for now. I wondered, however, how the place has suffered from the disaster.

Last week end, I decided to drive to her place and the adjacent areas and to see what happened there by myself. It was a sunny day. Everything seemed to sing for the pleasure of spring in the countryside. The highway ran to the town of the crippled nuclear power plant now. But it was forbidden to enter the town. The town of her place was located next to it in the souther direction. I took off the high way at that town. As soon as I got out of the high way, I found a sign showing the level of the radioactivity in the air. It told about 3 microSv/hour. It was several times higher than that in the normal place.

                                        There was some traffic on the high way in Fukushima.
                                        Only a single lane as soon as it entered Fukushima.
When I went in the town, it looked very quiet. No pedestrians on the street even though there was some traffic running there. I knew it was not an area that the people should evacuate. The windows or the entrances were all closed or shuttered. The gardens were closed with a piece of wire etc. I could not feel vividness of residential area. The drive in style restaurant was closed. No cars have parked. There were a few restqaurants on business along the truncal road, which seemed to be for those working at the decontamination sites etc. No habitants or visitors.
Since I had no record of her place or even her name, I could not identify her place. But, being close to the rail road, there was a place which likelily used to be her home. It has been renewed to a modern house. But, again, nothing suggestive of anyone living there. Even if I would try to ask about her there, I should not be able to find anyone around there. 
I turned toward the coast two or three miles east of there. There was spreading out a desolate field which must be paddies or farms in the past.
This house should be destroyed by Tsunami.
Along the road, there were numerous vinyl bags lined in rows in the field. I was sure they were packed with the decontaminated soil. Those bags must be kept somewhere for years until the radioactivity is lowered enough. Who knows how long it will take? The main contaminant, Cessium, has the half life of about 30 years. I bet it would take even longer. How will it be possible to keep them unbroken and not hazardous the people around them? Who will be responsible for that? The debris from the collapsed nuclear power plant is much more hazardous to us. It should be kept away from us for thousands of years or even longer. How and where is it kept? Noone knows that.

At the bank of the shore, I found a structure which was bent, probably, by the Tsunami. Without it, there was nothing which reminded me of that disaster there. The Tsunami must not be so high as in Miyagi Pref, north of here. But this bent structure told me how destructive it had been.
On the same bank, I looked at the way where the destructed nuclear polwer plant was located.  Inbetween, there should be another nuclear plant. I could not see either. The waves were quietly breaking against the tetrapods along the coast as if there had been no such disater only 3 years ago.
Put simply, it was a town of death that I have seen there. Everyone was evacuated. There were no ordinary lives, works or laughters of the people who used to live there. In evacuation, they have lost the community. As I have described in a previous post around 3.11, it is a socialized murder. I could not find any other words expressing this situation. We should never forget we are alive and enjoying the ordinary lives at the cost of their socialized death.
On the way back home, I wondered what my parents would say seeing those landscapes at the town their old friend used to spend her retirement.   

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