journal, ofunato, volunteer

day 8, back at the K’s house for gutting and cleaning

today I went back to the K’s house, where all hands is working on mudding under the floor and gutting the walls. the team was split into 2 groups–the gutting folks and I was on the dishwashing team. there are A LOT of dishes in that house, although apparently many broke during the earthquake–the best ones, as the china cabinets tipped over.
Mr K is a craftsman, who makes the stone blocks used in calligraphy. today under the house, they found a picture of mr and mrs K, with a display of his stones at a big department store in Tokyo. Mr K’s back was hurt during the disaster, either by falling or something falling on him. Because of his hurt back, he can’t make the stones anymore.
Before the disaster, 8 people lived in the house, I would guess 3 generations. Now the K’s live in temporary housing, which is close enough to be visible from her house. There are 65 units, and the people from this local area moved into them. But Mrs K says the temporary units are cold, and they are deep in the valley, so they don’t receive much sunlight. She said that coming to her old house makes her feel comfortable. But I think she has good connections to friends/neighbors, since today after giving us snacks, she left for a while and didn’t come back until the end of the day, saying that she got caught up having tea and chatting with 7 friends.


About liz

from the u.s., recently moved from kobe to sendai, japan, researching community-based housing recovery after disaster.


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