Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On the Provision of 500 Meals of Bangladeshi Curry (Hitomi Katsuta)

Hitomi Katsuta (A. P. F. S. / Padma)

Including me, I think people who watch TV in Tokyo all have an urge to “do something (go to the site and help)” but it cannot be realized so easily. If you are in Tokyo you feel awfully worthless. You do not know what you should do. I am grateful that I had the chance to go like this.

- Were preparations difficult?
It was a great amount, there was simply no time (departure was decided on March 25th and we left on March 26th) and the circulation of goods is also limited, so the preparation of ingredients was quite difficult. It was difficult for me but there are other people who are in much more trouble than me, so it was not such a big deal. However, if it had been an ordinary (for-profit) event or job, I think I could not have done it.

- How did you felt after departure until you arrived to the site?
A part of me was excited. It was a long drive but my body did not get tired. Though, I was worried because of the fuel (limited supply), because we were heavily loaded and the road was bad. I was also worried because if we had not made it (to the site) in time, it would have been a big inconvenience to the locals.

- What did you feel when you saw the state of the disaster on site?
Although I had seen the circumstances on TV every day, when I saw it in real … how should I put it … what was it … what can I say … it was shocking. We only think that it must be difficult but people on the site have lost everything they had put together until now through their life, they have to clean up and secure a home for themselves. I think it is a task what makes one wonder. I might not be of great help but I thought if there was anything I could do.

- Your biggest impression from the site?
The mutual helping spirit of local people. In Tokyo, we complain about the buying up of water or that “there is no rice” or that “there is no milk”. For example, there is no water there either, still if they (people on the water supply truck) say that “I give you two bottles of water”, locals help each other by saying “one bottle is enough, give it to others”; it was very impressive. Meanwhile, Tokyo feels like a contest (for goods). I was deeply moved by this mutual help (on the site). For example, I felt grateful for the welcoming attitude of people there when they gave us pocket warmers, shio-musubi (salty rice balls) and seagull eggs at the shelter. It was rather us who were encouraged and supported by them.

- Message to the citizens of Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture
Even if there were oil stoves, the gym’s floor was very cold. Already two weeks have passed, so the initial excitement was over too and fatigue is supposed to start to kick in, still, even if this all happened, most of the locals are thinking positively, so I want them to go on and hope that I was a little bit of help. I think they are all very humble (towards supporters), so I think they could as well complain more.

- What would you like to do in the future?
We see it every day on TV but I could go right to the site and look at the circumstances, so I think it is up to me to tell others here what I saw, heard or felt. Now, I have put up a photograph (in the restaurant I manage) and whenever I speak to the customers they want to hear about it. If only I could somewhat communicate it to people here. If I had the chance, I would like to provide meals again too.