The amount of growth I was able to accomplish within a week in Rikuzentakata is unfathomable. I learned so much about the importance of unity as a community and the sacrifice of personal stability to help create a better life for the others around you. Like Mr. Kohno, the amazing “Soy Sauce Guy,” who kept his employees on a payroll with basically no income coming from his business, or Amya, who has dedicated many years helping Rikuzentakata recover from the disaster.
These selfless acts have inspired me so greatly to create my own happiness by helping others and working hard to create a difference in the world. Big or small. I learned that if any town like Rikuzentakata or Crescent City decide to turn the ocean and its natural resources into an industry, there has to be a well thought out plan to keep the citizens safe. Natural disasters are random. No matter how hard scientists try, natural disasters can never be calculated or prevented. Humans need to be more aware when coexisting with nature.
Before arriving at Takata High, I assumed that the teenagers in Japan would be nothing like the teenagers in America. I couldn’t have been any more types of wrong. Like WOW. Realizing that I related to many of Takata’s students on so many levels brought so much excitement and joy into my heart. The language barrier didn’t stop any of us from establishing a genuine and unique connection, while finding many lifelong friends. One of the purposes on the trip was to make sure the people in Rikuzentakata knew that the world hasn’t forgotten about them, and that people still care. This feeling was unexpectedly reciprocated and during my time there, I had never felt so welcomed and purposeful in my entire life. None of the caring actions between students were faked. There was no trying to think extra hard on what to say next. The feelings were just so powerful and you could feel in the air the importance of our interactions.
– Carter Costello, 17, Crescent City, CA