evacuation route for disasters. There were pictures retrieved and rehung, trophies. Graduation was scheduled for the following day and the program was written on the blackboard. Students of the graduating class had come back to write on the blackboard - a tradition of Japanese students.
My classmates had taken the day off because they are up there for longer than me. I made a decision not to take photos of the students messages. I didn't know how many students there had survived or not... and I wanted to be respectful. Talking to one of my classmates that evening, I got a different perspective on it..."They wrote on the blackboard because they want people to read it"... Very true. They want their stories told - they don't want to be forgotten. There are some pictures here of the students' messages. Kato san, one of the other volunteers who was up there, kindly shared some of his photos with me. He took them on a previous trip when he was working in the same area.
It was a very small school and I am sure it won't be rebuilt. The students and teachers who would have gone there this academic year will have been merged into another school. I hope they are doing well. In the elementary school next door there are messages of encouragement from across Japan hung in the gymnasium. The new floor suggests that the tsunami made re-flooring a necessity. The support is appreciated. May it continue.
|The JHS is no longer being used. The school gym is filled with salvaged|
|The clock stopped at 3.13pm. Twenty seven minutes after|
the earthquake struck. The clock is above the height of
the tsunami and I assume that it is powered electrically.
If so, there must have been power after the earthquake.
|The corridor of the top floor|
|The high water line in the stairwell between the first and second floors.|
(or ground and first if you count that way).
|Pictures, drawn by students retrieved and rehung,|
excellence plaques leaned against the walls under the mirrors.
(Kato san's photo)
|The entrance. There were still some shoes in the shoe boxes.|
(Japanese students change to inside shoes for being in the
school buildings.) (Kato san's photo)
|The Graduation program in the staffroom (Kato san's photo)|
|Messages of encouragement from Ichinoseki, from inland Iwate prefecture.|