Reopening of beach welcomed by surfing couple（地元の海復活信じ続け清掃）
FUKUSHIMA-- A couple living in Shinchi, Fukushima Prefecture, on July 20 welcomed the reopening of a local beach, a location the two have been cleaning monthly since it was closed following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.
Makoto Kawakami, 43, and his wife, Terumi, 44, saw a number of precious items taken away in the tsunami -- brought on by the quake -- and also lost Makoto's grandmother, 86, along with friends and the family cat.
They also lost their house, which was located about 100 meters west of Tsurushihama beach.
After the quake, Makoto thought he would never fancy going to the sea again. Although he loved the beach and was a competent surfer who participated in competitions, he was not able to venture near the beach where his grandmother and friends lost their lives.
Terumi thought she must find a way to get Makoto back to the sea next to where he grew up. To encourage him, she came up with an idea of cleaning up the beach, which was awash with debris.
She embarked on the cleanup effort in August 2011 with her three surfing friends, and the number who joined the activity gradually increased.
In the autumn of 2012, she organized a volunteer group to clean up the beach with those who supported her idea, and she took the lead as its representative.
The group pick up waste along the shore of Tsurushihama and other beaches on the fourth Sunday every month. It now has more than 250 registered members nationwide.
More than eight years and four months have passed since the disaster, but items such as clothes, and even a drawer -- all are believed to have been swept away by the tsunami -- still wash up on the beaches.
Makoto, who serves as a leader of the volunteer group, has slowly softened on his attitude toward a return to normal life. "We need to live just like before the quake."
Three years on, he resumed surfing with Terumi. Recently, he has been able to smile at the beach.
On July 7, about 30 volunteers were on hand to clean up Tsurushihama.
"Thanks to many people, we've managed to come this far," Terumi said, on a day when the group collected empty cans and other waste.
There were other beaches in the prefecture that reopened prior to Tsurushihama, but they have seen fewer visitors since the disaster. Terumi thinks many people have stopped making routine trips to the beach, and they feel uncomfortable being in the water there as a result of the disaster.
"I want to continue our activities until the place becomes as cheerful as it was before," she said.
（ Translated by The Japan News ）
【 ２０１９年７月１４日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】
- Tsunami-ravaged school passing on lessons of disaster（津波の教訓伝える学校）
- Plastic waste converted into fuel oil（廃プラから燃料油）
- 'Sunset' strawberry introduced as new variety（新品種イチゴは「ゆうやけベリー」）
- Art festival planned to boost reconstruction efforts in Fukushima Pref.（芸術祭で復興後押し）
- UFO lab in Fukushima City receiving many sighting reports from around the world（UFO研究所に世界から目撃情報続々）
- Student aims to graduate at major U.S. dance competition（米の著名ダンス大会で高みを目指す学生）
- Post office destroyed by tsunami reopens 11 years later（津波で全壊の郵便局、11年ぶり再開）
- Teenage soccer player determined to chase glory on German team（ドイツで栄光を目指す）
- ３ generations work to restore confidence in fishing（親子３代、水産業復活に挑む）
- JR East to farm shrimp at station to create new local industry （駅でエビ養殖、新たな地場産業に）