It has been almost six months since March 11, yet our hearts are still ache as we see the current state and slow recovery process of Fukushima prefecture.
As mountain enthusiasts, we can engage in the process by introducing the beautiful nature of Fukushima mountains. I believe inviting more people to climb the mountains, talk to local people, and enjoy local food and local souvenirs is a means to support the recovery.
I also hope that walking in nature can serve as refreshment for those who have evacuated. On June 13th, with the cooperation of Ashinomaki Onsen Tourism Association introduced by Kazuyoshi Nagashima, a congressman who visited Fukushima evacuation sites after the earthquake, I walked the Urabandai Goshikinuma Tanjoro together with evacuees from around the Ashinomaki Onsen area. And on July 11th, again with cooperation from Tsuchiyu Onsen Tourism Association introduced by Fukushima Minyu Newspaper, we climbed Kimenzan, one of the peaks of Adatara Renpo mountain range. We prepared spare shoes and backpacks. The weather was nice on both days, and we were able to see the beautiful greenery and, enjoy our rice balls while having pleasant conversations.
“I never thought that I’d be able to go hiking while in evacuation. The tide might have wiped away my house and all of my possessions, but that is the past. Now we have to think about the future.” We, the organizers, are the ones who are more encouraged by the positive vibes of those who have evacuated.
“I feel very rejuvenated and refreshed, there is no use brooding over things all the time.” a participant said. On the way home he thanked me again and gave me a mobile strap as a souvenir. I was so surprised.
I also manage a lodge in Inawashiro Numajiri Onsen hot spring, but the earthquake broke the hot spring piping and we were forced to close for two whole months. We also have a 28-passanger bus, and when my husband was driving the hiking participants back to the evacuation site, they give him a case of ‘Oronamin C’ energy rink. He was so touched. The power of the mountains and nature had an amazing effect on the participants. Their expression changed astonishingly during the trip. I hope we can continue these kinds of trips in the future. I am also planning a Tohoku support trip to Nishiazumayama in October, inviting people from the Metropolitan area. From August 21st, along with three disaster victim families, I had a 4-day, 3-night climb of Mt. Tateyama in Toyama Prefecture sponsored by ICI Ishii Sports. The event will be aired on BS Nippon Corporation on October 8th starting from 7:00pm. Himalayan Adventure Trust of Japan (HAT-J), an organization that I’m attached to, also runs a Tohoku Support Project. We will continue organizing hiking and climbing trips. Feel free to contact us. We welcome all support. Let’s refresh ourselves and enjoy the beauty of Fukushima together.
Mountaineer: Junko Tabei