If the first half of the program were quite depressing, the rest of the half were completely uplifting and touching. It felt different from the first half. Again, note that just like my previous blog, this sequel only covers a brief summary of the second half of the program.
While feeling more like a free time, we were still learning how Fukushima gradually overcame the major social and economic issues post-3.11 with tours and visits. Feeling unexpected, I was surprised that we visited the temporary house of locals who were still displaced by the impact of 3.11 and celebrated International Day together, the Waraji festival that I thought it was one of many unique festivals in Fukushima and Japan, the organic cotton farm and peaches, the Aquamarine in Fukushima (it is a huge and beautiful aquarium), the JAEA Naraha Remote Technology Development Center, and again, the list goes on. These visits and lectures taught a lot more about Fukushima post-3.11 than what the media has covered and I was astonished that these folks are the hope to the future of Fukushima.
The two final days, it was time for us to prepare going home country – except me that I had to go back to Tokyo because my flight to go home was on August 29 and I had about three weeks to wait from that day. Anyway. The final days include a closing lectures, workshop, and farewell party. At this point, I started to ask myself “why we have to end this program?” All of us were quite emotional. Although the program was short, we created a long-lasting bond with the local people of Fukushima.
I was hoping the program to be extended because it surely taught me a lot of undiscovered aspects about Fukushima post-3.11 and still, I want to learn more about the prefecture up until just now. Fukushima never goes away from my mind and heart. Personally, Fukushima feels more like “home” than Tokyo does although my stay in Fukushima was brief of 12 days. I could not imagine what would happen without participating in this program. It is an honor for me and I am grateful to be able to participate in this program that I will, of course, recommend it to anyone. It broke my heart the fact that August 11 was the final day we had to wave “see you in the future” to our super friendly and resourceful coordinators and Fukushima University friends. The program may be very short, but I realize the experience lasts forever.
Fukushima has taught me everything, and now it is my duty to promote Fukushima and overturn the entire negative stigma and beliefs from the media.
Photographs: Immanuel A. M. Sinambela
*these photographs do have something to do with the content above. It is also for decoration purpose.