Magnolia is in really full bloom now. As if shining in the background of blue sky.
The magnolia in the garden has bloomed. It always surprises me. The flowers come out almost as if synchronously.
It has been 10 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake today.
A few years prior to that disaster, I and my wife have visited our mother at a hospital in Miyagi. She has welcomed us with the usual gentle and affectionate smile. I was saddened to hear her saying repeatedly she would like to come home here in Tochigi.
On the way back home, we have driven along the coast in Fukushima. I might have written about this trip in this blog before. But it is still an important event for us and I remember of that trip in this anniversary.
It was a peaceful rural area along the coast. Farms and forests were lying on the gentle slope toward mountains in the west while houses, mostly of farmers, were scattered among them. At that time, no one could imagine there would be such a tragic disaster hitting that area. More than 20,000 people have been killed while more than 2,000 are still missing. In Fukushima, that nuclear power plant accident has left ever lasting tragedy to the people there. More than 1,600 died due to causes related with the nuclear plant accident. Tens of thousands of people have lost their homeland, that is, their job, community and the place they had lived for decades. There are more than 40,000 people evacuated from that area at present. Most of them would lose their homeland throughout their lives.
We have learned, rather should learn two things from this disaster.
One is that we should expect such a devastating disaster any time and get ready for that to minimize the damages. They say there is still geological distortion left along the Pacific ocean off the coast of Iwate Prefecture north of the epicenter or in the northern part of the epicenter. There are a few places which could be hit by big earthquakes all over our country. Typhoon and torrential rain are becoming more serious year by year. It might be related with the global warming.
The other is that the myth nuclear power plants are safe has been totally turned out to be false. The long operation of the plants was not expected when they were built. While they were constructed with the expectancy of usage for 16 years in the beginning, the government is trying to elongate it to 40 years and longer. The plant structures are worn out and the neutron exposure on the pressure vessels must has fragilized it. Such aging issue would bring forth another devastating accidents. Those old plants were designed to tolerate only lesser seismic intensity than the real earthquakes our country have had.
Our government has restarted a few nuclear power plants just in order to let the power line company get profits. The people won't vote against them in elections as if they have forgotten the crisis in Fukushima. The myth of safety in nuclear power plants seems to be reviving in this country.
We relearn these things from the experience 10 years ago. In the next disaster, we might lose everything and won't recover from it. It is not only for ourselves but for the victims and evacuees from Tohoku/ Fukushima.
My mother has died from GI tract bleeding at a hospital in a month possibly due to the stress of the disaster.
The beautiful mountains of Adatara in Fukushima. It was taken a couple of years before the disaster.
John W1ITU has been an old friend of mine since '60s. He has uploaded a photo of his old log in facebook. It shows the record of our very first QSO in August 1966. It was when he had put up a decent antenna, a 3 element quad, for the first time as he said.
I was using a quad, 2 element on this side, made of bamboo spreaders. The pole was also a bamboo rotated by hand! It was fragile and won't last too long. By a typhoon or some storm, it has been broken very easily. It was only 5 or 6 meters high. But with the excellent condition in the peak of the solar spot cycle, I could have much fun working world wide on 15m.
The log reads that I was signing as Sin and introduced my age as 17 years. It also says my antenna was that quad. Yes, I was living in a suburb of Tokyo with my family. In a small house. I wish I had kept some photos taken my shack etc those days. They were gone. But this short description of the QSO is good enough to bring me back to those days.
It was in '80s when I met John again when he was still K5PKA in, possibly, Louisiana. I have, possibly, mentioned of that QSO after long absence somewhere in a past post. I was driving to the med school hospital where I was working as a staff in the Dept. of Pediatrics. I still remember feeling so thrilled to work such an old friend from mobile.
Later, he has moved to MD and changed his call to WG3U. I could not talk to him so often but sure from time to time. This is one of the photos he sent to me those days. I still feel time has flied since his children have grown up and have given him some grandchildren now. He is called "Grumpy" in stead of grandfather by his granddaughters.
The log book on the photo shown above sure made me go back to the good old days.