Sep 29, 2012

In the tsunami zone

Here you can see that the first floor of this building was completely devastated.
Just a bit nearer the ocean, I came to two more houses that had had the first floor destroyed. However, as you can tell from the car, some one was doing something in the left hand home.
This shows the power of the tsunami. This metal pole was bent over horizontal to the ground.
Getting still closer to the ocean, I found a house where the damage was not just to the inside of the ground floor but also to the roof.
The entire contents of the first floor of this grade school was violently washed away. Hopefully, the students and staff made it to the roof on time.
It appears that the building over this statue was washed away, but it and some of the stelae remained. Someone has done some repair work, putting some supports under the remains of the concrete floor, for example.

Sep 28, 2012

Entering the tsunami zone

 This is the Hirayama Fish Market. At first glance it looked fine, and then I looked in the windows and realized that the entire first floor had been destroyed. This was the first place where I saw real damage from the tsunami.
 Here you can still see the Fish Market in the upper right corner. The road passes over a small bridge over the canal but much of the bridge was badly damaged. The bridge itself was still usable, however.
After crossing the bridge, the first thing I found was this Buddhist sight. It looked like it had been rebuilt and maybe the statues collected from wherever they ended up.
 I stood and looked at this grade school for a long time, wonder if the kids had been saved and, if so, where they had gone to avoid the tsunami - maybe the roof.
 These houses were still standing but they were a complete loss and someone was gradually tearing them down, as you can see from the piles of stuff that they were removing. It looked like they were separating anything that might be reusable from stuff that would have to be thrown away.
On the far side of the above houses, I came to this field. If you look carefully, you can see the remains of house foundations scattered throughout the grass. I imagine that a lot of people died here. Again I just stood and stared.

Sep 27, 2012

Nearing the sea

 I have passed the last bridge and for the first time see clear evidence of the tsunami. This rice paddies were destroyed by the flooding and will not be able to grow crops for at least five more years - until the salt leaches out of the ground.
 All of a sudden I arrived at some construction that completely blocked the path along the levee. You can see the usual blue sheets and lots of survey markers that are guiding the reconstruction.
 I decided to walk back to the final bridge, cross the river and try to get to the sea on that side. This is part of the bridge. In the background, if you enlarge the picture, you may be able to see the statue of Kannon that is on the hill near a few kilometers from my apartment. From  here, both are at least 15 kilometers away.
 From the bridge I was able to see a ship that had just left Sendai Port (a little to the north) and was heading south.
 After crossing the bridge, I started seeing more evidence of the tsunami. Here the white fence was knocked down and has not be replaced.
This pile of concrete used to be the bank that separated the road from the small canal.

Sep 26, 2012

Nihon Jinja and then onward

 This little sub shrine had offerings of food and drink in front of it.
 This seemed to be the main building of the shrine and was quite new.
 Two bridges over the river.
 This man was fishing with a net. I do not know if he was a commercial fisherman or just someone who was trying to feed a large family.
 Another fairly large river entered the Nanakita River for the south and I had to cross it on a bridge. This shows the view toward the ocean.
Turning around, I took this picture of the smaller river. Actually it was so straight that it looked more like a canal, but looking at my map made me believe that it is just a natural river that has been straightened a bit and confined by levees.

Sep 25, 2012

Still heading toward the sea

 A little further on I came to a large playground, all at the level of the levee top path. I rested for a while under the roof on the left and then continued. I was never able to decide if this was an artistic jungle gym made from ropes or an artistic sculpture that the kids could climb on.
 At the east end of the part there was a small unnamed shrine.
 This is what was under the roof in the above picture. Inside the miniature shrine there was a piece of wood with faded writing on it. The box in front is for small gifts of coins and the rope connects to a bell that you can use to make sure that the gods realize that you are there bribing them.
 This is a large pile of flotsam and jetsam that washed up during the flooding.
 Nihon Jinja, or Two Tree Shrine if you read the kanji or possibly Japan Shrine if you hear it, is nestled in a small grove of trees on the inland side of the levee.
The paint was getting old but it must be quite garish when the traditional bright red paint is fresh.

Sep 24, 2012

More at Atago Shrine and then on my way again

 If you ignore the fence, and the Japanese are very good at not seeing stuff like this, this little shrine is very nice.
 Cattle and horses are often depicted in statues in the Shinto shrines. This is a cow or bull of some sort. The decorations are quite traditional and you will see such things on live animals during festivals or other events.
 I was not sure what this little building is used for. If this were a Buddhist temple, I would say that it was a meditation room, but this is a Shinto shrine, so I guess it must be used for some kind of ceremony.
 On my way again, I found this sign on the land between the top of the levee and the river. It says that this is protected land for a kind of insect, suzumushi, bell-ringing crickets in English, that make a very pleasing sound.
 A little further toward the sea and I found this strange object sticking out into the path.
I stopped to look at it and found that it is a long slide that goes down the side of the levee into a playground. I was very tempted to try it myself, but it looked very dirty, so I passed up the opportunity. I did, however, us a bench that was behind me to take a five minute break from walking.

Sep 23, 2012

At the Atago Shrine

 This is the entrance to the shrine grounds. I was a bit surprised at the size of the building (straight ahead) that appeared to contain the administrative and meeting areas.
 This is the main shrine building.
 Up close I could see the access route to the admin building and also more small buildings in the back.
 Putting my camera up against a hole in the door, I was able to get this picture of the main altar.
 This sign, which was beside the main shrine, seems to give a different name for the shrine, here it is the Yasaka or maybe the Hachisaka Shrine. The sign also retells an old story about how a Prince lost his crown while crossing the Nanakita River. In the past this river was called the Kanmori River, or Crown River.
Walking around the back, I found this nice little shrine, however the doors were closed so I could not see inside.

Sep 22, 2012

Along the Nanakita River

 As I walked, I noticed this truck on the far side of the river. From the looks of it, flood waters must have carried it here during one of the heavy rains we had during the summer. The truck is on top of what is obviously a tree that was also brought from someplace else.
 Near my condo, the river is fairly deep, or at least it  has a fair amount of water in it. Here there is almost no water and they are using the occasion to work on the bank.
 This is a large chunk of concrete and reinforcing rods that appears to have come from someplace else. It may have been part of an old mostly destroyed bridge that rolled along in the flood waters.
 Although there was flooding earlier in the year, now the river is unusually low. These lumps in the river are actually the remaining ends of wooden posts that used to hold up a bridge. A new span is about 100 meters to the right.
 This is a bus stop at the point where the river and the road come together again. I bought a sports drink from a machine and sat on the bench resting for a while. When I got up to continue, I noticed the long, deep crack that had been caused by the earthquakes.While resting, I had decided that it was cool enough that I would actually walk to the ocean, a trip of at least 15 kilometers. On my map there were a number of bus routes that I thought would get me home. I had some problems in relations to this but I will wait until the appropriate time to discuss them. Also, according to my map, there were paved bicycle / pedestrian paths along both banks. At first I had thought to follow the north bank, but from the bench I could see that they were working on the north bank of the levee and I could not pass. So I walked back to the previous intersection and crossed the bridge to the south side of the river.
After walking a kilometer or so, I came to the Atago Shrine. Actually there are many shrines with this name around Sendai. I think they are all related in some way, probably to the same branch of Shinto.

Sep 21, 2012

Beginning of a walk to the ocean

 This is in downtown Sendai. Before I arrived here, there was some kind of activity that left trash on the streets. Now, the people involved are sweeping it all up. I think that this may have its roots in Japanese grade schools where the students clean the buildings and rooms, rather than paid janitors.
 I decided to go out for a long walk. The day was a bit cooler than the hot weather that we had been having. For no particular reason I decided to walk east. A few days ago (remember the fishing pole?) I showed this construction from the other side. It is on the bank of a stream that enters the main river. There is now construction from here to the bridge to Yaotome. My apartment is in the middle.
 I followed the paved path along the riverside. At one point I found all of this stuff that had been washed down river piled up against a bridge.
 The river swings a way from the road which is off to the right. The area is quite fertile and there are large fields. I think this might be soybeans.
 There are also green houses.
 This is a field of green onions, not the small American kind, but the large ones that are an essential part of Japanese cooking.
This is a bridge for a pipeline, probably gas.