Goodbye Japan

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During the last three weeks, we explored some of the major parts of Japan. We drove about 1300 kilometres south until we reached Mount Aso, the largest active volcano of Japan. From there, we made our way 1700 kilometres north again. If you add this to the daily driving, then you come to a total number of about 5200 kilometres. Our bearings endured this distance as easily as they did the previous 17000 kilometres.
Whilst driving north, we passed the Miyagi prefecture. Miyagi is north of Tokio and hit the headlines in 2011, when the Tsunami damaged large parts of the coast. Ishinomaki was one of the cities that suffered near the sea shore, about 80% of the buildings got destroyed.

The sign marks the height of the 2011 Tsunami wave

A lot of work has been done within the last three years with all rubble being removed and new building being erected.


The sign shows that this house can stand a possible Tsunami. In an emergency case, people can climb up the roof

Life goes on. At the first glance you can’t tell that this city grew out of ashes again. However, if you know about the tragedy, then you can still see some leftovers of the Tsunami with huge parts of the former urban land still abandoned and some of the remaining houses derelict.

As some citizens never turned back, neither did some employers. Many facilities that got destroyed were never built up again (or at least not in the city). Some people not only lost their homes but also their work. Some of them are still living in temporary houses that are often too small to provide sufficient privacy.
The Hatachi fund is one of the foundations that are helping in particular children with the aftermath of the disaster. Hatachi means in Japanese “twenty-years-old”. They accompany children until they are twenty years and therefore officially adult. Hatachi serves as an umbrella for a various kind of foundations. Each is specialized on a certain aspect of aid. One of them is the “Chance for Children foundation” (CFC), which focuses on education.

igus Japan will support their work with one euro for each driven kilometre.

The money will be used, for instance, for study rooms where children can learn, play and get help with their homework. Also, they give out an “education-voucher”. The children use this voucher as a method of payment. A wide range of institutions such as cramming schools, sport clubs, music schools, museums etc. accept the voucher. They change it later with CFC to actual money.

This section of the tour has come to an end. I want to use the chance to say “adigato gozaimasu” to my Japanese colleagues, who were showing me great hospitality and support. It was a great tour.

We are on the way to Tokyo. From there the car will departure to the other site of the world. The next time I will write to you will be from Brazil.

Yours Sascha.