Monday, April 25, 2011

a young boy's voice from iwate

Today, I read heartbreaking  journal entries by Yuta Hakoishi, a twelve-year-old boy from Yamada, Iwate, a town that was severely damaged by the tsunami. Here's an English translation that I did on a whim (the original can be found here).

March 11, 2011

We were practicing a song for our graduation ceremony. A big earthquake came and shook us really hard. At first, I thought it was just an earthquake. There was a large tsunami warning, but I didn't think it was really going to happen. Even if it did, I didn't think the waves would be that high. I was totally wrong. I saw wrecked houses and buildings being swept away by water along Route 45. Mom and Dad were at my school before the tsunami. But then, Dad left in his pickup truck. I was worried about him. I prayed he wouldn't be swallowed by the tsunami.

March 18, 2011

It's been a week since the tsunami. Mom said she gave up on Dad because he hasn't been found after this long. Grandpa cried and said, "I'll build the house again and send you guys to school. Don't worry if your dad never comes back. I'll take care of you."

March 23, 2011

I graduated from Osawa Elementary. When we were singing a song, "Arigato (Thank You)," at the graduation ceremony, I was talking to Dad in my mind. "Dad, thanks to you, I finished school. Thank you, Dad." Then, somehow, my voice got shaky and I got a little teary. I had a dream that night. In the dream, Mom and Dad came home from grocery shopping at the supermarket in Miyako.

March 25, 2011

My relative got a phone call. They said Dad had been found near the fire department. We hurried there and saw him lying with his mouth open. My big sister cried so hard. Mom was speechless. My little brother was clinging to my relative. I touched Dad's face. It was colder than water.
In my head, I kept asking Dad, "Why did you leave the school?" I asked that over and over. I also told myself, "You gotta be strong." But my eyes got all teary. He still had his things on, like the titanium accessories, the charm for his feet that he had bought in Tokyo, the wedding ring and the cell phone. I was really surprised his watch was still working. It never stopped working when it was swallowed by the tsunami with my dad and even when my dad stopped breathing. It is my watch now. I will always keep it with me for the rest of my life.

March 26-27, 2011

I can't forget Dad's face. A part of me wishes I had not seen him like that. But because we found him, we can cremate his body now. I got to touch him, too. His chest was bloated. I think he swallowed a lot of water. I'm still glad we found him.

March 28, 2011

We cremated Dad's body today. My sister, Keijiro, Mom, and I all wrote letters and put them in the casket with him. When we said goodbye to him, I told him, "Don't worry about us. I'll take over your job." I got to hold his bones until we had to put them in the grave. I felt relieved when we finally buried him properly.

April 7, 2011

Today, I feel like saying thank you from the bottom of my heart. People who read the article about us sent us letters and photos of Dad from when he ran the Tokyo marathon. There were letters to my family, and to me, too. My dad is amazing. I'm really thankful today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

a month and a day

I wanted to say something yesterday, the day that marked a month from the quake. I couldn't make it in time. But now, I'm finally writing. It's taking me a while to remember how. It is five in the morning, and, again, it doesn't look like I'm making it by the end of my day. I will start again when I get up.

A month has passed, and it's not cold anymore. Days are sunny, and flowers are blossoming.