As a mother, educator and a Rotarian, I am particularly drawn to Rikuzentakata due to the uniqueness of the area and the kindness and perseverance of its people. I visited Rikuzentakata in January 2016. One of the first buildings rebuilt is the beautiful Takata High School. It stands stoically on the mountain and is a constant reminder that education is of great importance to the people of Rikuzentakata. They have invested heavily in their future by providing a wonderful learning environment for their children.
During my visit I had the pleasure of meeting Rotarian businessmen and women who are in various stages of rebuilding. The oyster beds located in the bay are a main staple to the economic recovery. It was particularly heartwarming to see the pride in Katsuji Chiba as he took us out on the smooth waters to see the off bottom oyster farming he and his sons are doing. There is a strong sense of community in talking with Katsuji. His passion for the town and the importance of providing a stable economic future for his employees and his family is very evident.
The kindness of the people of Rikuzentakata is inspiring. I am unsure if the people are close knit and care about each other because they have lived through a devastating disaster or because it is a rural town but the people are very close and help each other.
Coleen Parker, California, USA