Sea of the Singing Sand
2011.09.25 update 2011.08
White beach with the singing sand. Beautiful ocean. Wonderful nature.
Mr. Yoshida, a professional body-boarder was strongly attracted by the sea of Toyoma when he visited Iwaki from Tokyo on business, then decided to settle down there.
He bought his new house just near the beach and go there everyday with his bodyboard.
"Just like heaven. The time for floating on the water or staying in the water is so nice. I just need a good wave and the beautiful sea. Other things are not so important for me."
"Rocking Body-boarder"collaboration of music, wave riding and art. This is how he expresses his own life style.
Rock is music as well as wave-riding and art. This is the main theme in his whole life.
He, as an event producer of body-boarding, has carried out the championship of bodyboarding named "Emotion Cup" ten times in Fukushima. However, it is hard to hold such events in Fukushima now.
"Show my life as what I am. This is the only thing that I can do by myself."
* * *
In the morning of March 11, Mr. Yoshida went to the beach as usual. The sea was incredibly clear. The white sand was shining and the blue water spread far away. It was heavenly beautiful just like the sea of south islands.
The beauty of the sea that day deeply touched his heart so that he took some photos.
The sea was quite gentle. "I don't think I can get a good wave today." Waiting until noon, he gave up on riding waves and got out of the water.
He left the beach and drove into the city. Then, the big shake occurred. He hurried to his home, thinking of his dog and cat there. The shortest way was closed. He tried another way to Toyoma but the road near his house was already covered by rubble.
He parked his car and climbed up to the mountain of rubble on foot. It was getting dark. He stepped on the rubble very carefully to get home.
His house survived the Tsunami though the wave almost reached up to its entrance hall. So he went back to his car with his dog and cat.
In the next morning, the disaster like hell showed up in front of him.
"I might be in a bad dream." He knew it was real but his mind couldn't accept the fact so soon.
Nobody was there. Everything changed at a sudden as it got into the film.
Mr. Yoshida started to inform the people about the damaged areas and people's safety by Twitter. He took photos of safety lists. If he met other people, he asked them about the damage of their areas. When he was asked to check certain places, he went there and reported what he found. He was the only one who took such actions at the seaside. He kept walking around the rubble alone until it got dark.
"I've been in despair. The view of damaged areas, smells, and thousands of lost lives. The media couldn't give us enough information." He just kept moving so as not to lose himself. "Many people needed help, so I helped them as much as I could. I didn't think of myself but just did what I had to do for somebody."
As he devoted himself in some volunteering work such as supplying food and removing rubble, time went so quickly. However, even after 2 months have passed, he never felt like getting into the water again though his friends asked him to ride waves in another province.
The sea water was totally polluted. The sea of Toyoma got too dirty to get in.
The beautiful white beach became muddy and it shrank into the sea by earthquake.
As he got back to his daily life after several months, he thought on impulse, "I want to get into the water. If not, I must be sick."
The date was June (the 6th month of the year) 9. "6-9" can be read as "rock" in Japanese. Mr. Yoshida, a rock-lover man couldn't stand it any more.
He prayed to the sea, thanked for the chance to get into the water again, thought of the people who died there by Tsunami, and finally sank his body into the water.
"The sea is just great. It tells us that we have to carry the problems of radioactivity and nuclear plant throughout our lives. Our sea also tells us how we should carry those problems in order not to be crushed by their weight."
Not only Mr. Yoshida but also some of other surf-riders and body-boarders came back to the sea on their own responsibilities.
"We don't really talk about the risk of radioactivity among wave riders. Everyone might be afraid." Mr. Yoshida said, "I personally don't worry so much since I don't have any child. But I haven't seen either young girls or boys who get into the sea here.
Cesium was detected in Nakoso coast but not in Kita-Ibaraki. The distance would be a matter.
The research should be done at every single beach.
What I fear is to get used to everything.
To the sea, to the land (which is already polluted).
We can easily get used to unusual things as time goes by.
Here, we have nothing to worry. We can even have a cup of coffee as we did before, but the place just near here is shut off because of radioactivity.
It is quite shocking and unusual, truly like an atomic war.
This kind of thought really makes me cry. It makes me wonder what I'm doing here.
We never understand or feel the pain unless we experience it.
This disaster and nuclear issue hit me with a huge shock, lost and despair. My way of thinking and living has totally changed.
Fukushima, a sort of conservative province has been used politically. We thought we were living in the wonderful nature, but in fact, we were just deceived into such belief without knowing the reality. Now we see it. I feel angry about the situation that this country might take the same direction as before even after this disaster.
Why doesn't anyone speak out against the nuclear power?
I haven't joined any anti-nuclear movement before.
But I think we should change our minds by this experience just as we can change ourselves by wonderful music or fantastic waves.
It should be like this...We want it that way...Everyone desires but the reality never catches up.
People try to recover the place damaged by Tsunami but I can't go in without considering the nuclear issue.
We have to live here in this polluted land. Fukushima is already recognized as a sort of unusual place, isn't it?
What is done cannot be undone. The important thing is how we face and deal with it.
I, as a professional body-boarder, will keep saying "no" to any of the wrong things.
Riding waves used to be simply fun, but not anymore.
Tsunami might come. We might be exposed to radiation in the water. But I still ride waves.
Sadness couldn't be varnished, yet the culture of wave riding surely survives. Then there's something that I need to do.
I will be a transmitter of the new culture of beach life.
I almost lose any hope but I'll never give up.
I believe in a small light in despair at any time.
The change of the wave was already seen in the winter of 2010 according to Mr. Yoshida.
The wind blew from the west throughout the season and cold waves from the north didn't come.
The sea was like in the spring even during the winter.
When the earthquake and Tsunami occurred, he just felt that it was supposed to happen as one of the global changes in our environment.
The white sand on the beach never sings again.
It was only one of the three places in Japan, which had beautiful sounds of pure sands.
"The beach and the sea in Toyoma would not be returned during our life-time.
In the long history of the earth and the universe, even the earthquake and Tsunami this time must be a quite short moment. The sea tells me that.
The sea tells us how small we are.
If we realize that, we can be much nicer to everything. We can accept anything as long as it is brought by the nature.
However, a man-made disaster must be stopped by us.
Just stop all the nuclear plants. That's it.
It doesn't matter which political party is in power. I don't care even if the tax and the electricity bill rise.
Well, if we pay 1000 more yen, can we stop nuclear plants? Really? Then I'll pay 2000 more.
We cannot take back our lives in the past. Things will be even worse if we do nothing.
We used to live here without knowing the risks, but now all of us know.
This is not the issue only in Fukushima. Any province in Japan holds the same risk in the electric power generation.
The same thing could possibly happen anywhere in Japan."
(Translated by Shizuka Hayashi)