We spent two days making lanterns. After the first day, Brother Asano took us to a number of different locations to view the devastation. We also got to go to Matsushima.
Matsushima is known for being one of the three most beautiful places in Japan. We were there on a foggy day, but it's a coastal town. Out in the water are hundreds (maybe thousands) of small islands. Because these islands took the brunt of the tsunami, Matsushima came through it all fairly unscathed.
I thought this was a great object lesson on choosing your friends wisely, and in return, being a faithful friend to others. I know I've had friends growing up who would take the brunt of any tsunami that would come my way and help me weather the storm.
There were a few shops in Matsushima that had posted photos and the story of their clean up after the tsunami. They weren't completely water-free, but they had nothing like Ishinomaki or Kessenuma had. I also think that since Matsushima is such a tourist trap, that it was priority for them to get up and moving again and quickly to bring some money back into the area.
|Even the sights from the parking lot are great.|
|I couldn't help clicking this picture as I walked by.|
|The waterway around the shrine.|
|The islands--hard to see on this foggy day.|
|From the earthquake?|
|One of the shops at Matsushima. See, the cat is calling us in.|
|The shrine from below. The islands in the background.|
|A bonsai tree as we're heading in toward the shrine in the woods.|
|#1 in the phone booth right in the middle of the forest. If only Red Riding Hood had had one of these.|
|These kids were JAZZED about getting their photo taken with the blonde gaijin.|
|This shop had a poster with photos showing the clean up they underwent after the tsunami.|