My hometown, Fukushima (  五行詩文 )

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Mar 25, 2012 00:35
" please correct the final edition."


My hometown, Fukushima 

Most Japanese people return to their hometowns and pray
for their ancestors before their tombs every summer.
This Buddhist tradition is called " Obon(お盆)" in Japanese.
Following the tradition, I went back to my hometown,
Fukushima, to pray for my late parents last summer. But
this time in 2011, I hesitated to return due to the
contamination caused by the nuclear leak at Fukushima
Atomic Power Plant on March 11, 2011. The wind has spread
cesium from the plant all across the prefecture. It is said
to be a cause of cancer for children and babies in the future.
After hesitating for a few days, I decided to go back there
in spite of this, for I believed I was too old to contract
cancer from the fall-out.
I went there by express bus in August. When I got off,
the fields spread out before me as far as the eye could see.

I can't believe
they have been contaminated
by cesium winds,
standing before the green, green,
brilliant rice fields.

I stayed at my brother's house and took a walk with my
nephews the next day. One of them said, "Oh, I’ve
forgotten to take a dosimeter with me. " He immediately
went back home and brought it back with him. Children
in Fukushima always hang dosimeters around their necks
whenever they go out so that their teachers can check
their radiation levels later. We walked to a park by a river.

Dosimeters
hanging from their necks
even when the children
play tag with me
in the green park.

But there were no other children playing in the park
except my nephews. Maybe the others were home playing
computer games or watching TV to avoid the cesium wind,
for teachers at schools advised them to stay at home
and play indoors as much as possible.
One afternoon it began to shower suddenly. Our cat
dashed into my brother's house in the rain and sat under
the eaves.

Our cat
ignorant
as it licks
cesium rain
from its wet fur.

Many residents living near the Plant fled away after
the leak. Some young parents with children or babies
sought safe shelter away from the area. But only the
elderly people remained.

Even though
some residents want to flee,
they can't move anywhere,
having no jobs, no houses
except in Fukushima.

In particular, some old farmers near the plant did not
wish to seek refuge elsewhere, even if they were wealthy.
They neither wanted to learn new dialects, new customs
nor leave their neighbors and friends. They remained to
live out their last years.

Though officials say
"Flee from your village!",
old farmers refuse
as they want to stay calmly
in their hometown, Fukushima.


The old farmers
like trees
have thick roots
deep in the earth
of Fukushima.


Through Fukushima,
the old farmers
want to return
to their true hometown :
The Earth itself.


The Earth
is the dark haven
where they revive
in the future :
their next stages.


Fukushima was famous for its fruits - apples, pears
and peaches. When we watched a soccer game on TV
together in the living room, my brother’s wife peeled
a peach for me.


I eat
the pink peach.
Though very delicious,
a trace of cesium
has just entered my body.

But

I can’t see cesium,
nor hear it,
nor feel it,
it’s an invisible
enemy.

However, honestly speaking, I didn't know whether the
trace of cesium was my enemy or not. Some experts said
that it may be good for the health as long as it's just
a trace. Others said it was very dangerous. I don't know
which is true. Strictly speaking, even experts don't
know the truth. In the future,I'll be able to see what
effect cesium will have, good or bad. But I want to know
now whether or not I will contract cancer."

This is the common,
latent anxiety
among lots of residents
living near the Fukushima
Atomic Power Plant.

I talked of the radioactive contamination with my brother.
What he told about a dairy farmer was a great shock to me.
I examined the details by reading lots of articles about him
in some magazines and newspapers. The summary was as
follows :

A 54- year- old dairy farmer lived in a small
village near the Fukushima Plant with his
Philippine wife and two sons. His family was
happy as he kept about 40 cows and worked very
hard with his wife together every day. He built
a new workshop to earn more money because his
sons were very young. He prepared a new satchel
for his elder son and expected that the entrance
ceremony at the elementary school would be held
in April.
But the Fukushima Plant exploded after a huge
tsunami on March 11. The wind from the plant
spread the cesium all over the fields, mountains
and houses of his village. The milk from his
cows contained lots of cesium as he fed them
grass which he had mowed there every morning.
He threw out all the milk contaminated by the
cesium every day.
Because of concern for the health of their sons,
his wife evacuated the village with their two sons
and went to The Philippines before the entrance
ceremony at the elementary school.
The farmer remained by himself and kept working
in Fukushima for a while. At last he gave up
milking the cows and joined his family in The
Philippines.
However, he was not able to understand
the Philippine language. So he could not get
a job there. He returned to Fukushima alone
in May. But he had neither cows nor his family
in the village. He was a cherry tree without
roots.

A dairy farmer
left this message
on a wallboard:
" If the Plant hadn't exploded,
I wouldn't have killed myself. "

One day I went sightseeing at a famous tourist
attraction with my brother’s family, but there were
few visitors due to a fear of cesium, though it used to
be crowded in the past with many children on summer vacation.

Come back,
come back,
my former Fukushima
where children could play
outside with their parents happily.

After the fall-out, many parents and public servants
began to clean cesium from the grounds of all
preschools, primary schools, and high schools in
Fukushima. The residents have been cleaning their
houses, gardens and roads. Farmers have been
sweeping away the cesium from their fields, forests
and mountains for months. Lots of inhabitants have
been trying to clean all of Fukushima.

Earth and wind,
pears and peaches,
cats and humans,
may all beings
revive in Fukushima.

I go to Miharu town near the nuclear plants to see the
beautiful cherry blossoms every spring. The famous tree
there is about 1,000 years old. It's very large and the
blossoms spread into the blue sky. The residents call it
"Takizakura" because "taki" means a waterfall and
"zakura" means cherry blossoms in Japanese. The
blossoms look like a pink waterfall cascading from the
azure sky. I will go there to get revitalized by the cherry
blossoms next spring.

We'll sing a song
and dance again
around the tall, spreading cherry
in our hometown,
Fukushima.
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