Melody of Bach began to quiver the air of the silent concert hall and everything was filled with a high-spirited performance of the orchestra. That was the first concert of Mito Indoor Orchestra after the 3.11.

Playing the music instrument every week, going to a concert every month...things like those which used to be just usual clearly came back to Hitomi's mind. Music has been lost from her life since the disaster happened. She has devoted herself to her job and volunteer activities for several months.

The harmony of orchestra kept sounding inside of her body and made her cry. Then, she felt something piled up in her for a long time has gone with her tears.

"I'm so happy to listen to the music like this again."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Finally I finished my work! I can go on a short trip tomorrow and go sikiing next week. The Hilary Hahn's concert is coming at the end of this month!"
Tons of tasks for a year were just done in the end. Hitomi smiled happily while enjoyed her coffee.

At the next moment, at 2:46 pm, her daily life, holidays...everything disappeared.

She went home right away and listened to any kinds of information carefully with her husband.
"My grandmother and uncle's family live near the nuclear power plants. Are they safe?" "How about evacuated people near there? Are they alright as well?" She couldn't stop thinking. The stock food at her home was just a little. She gathered anything eatable and consumed them little by little.

Then, she heard that her grandmother and uncle had a car accident while they tried to evacuate.

When the explosion at the nuclear power plant occurred, they heard a bursting sound with
earth rumbling. People got scared and tried to escape from their town. Thousands of cars rushed to the narrow road and caused terrible traffic jam. The car accident just occurred in such an unusual occasion.

Everyone was survived; however, the car was totally crushed and Hitomi's grandmother needed to be sent to a hospital. No ambulance could come to pick her up. They had no way to send her to a hospital by themselves. Finally, her grandmother got a bed in a hospital in Koriyama City. Hitomi's uncle and his family changed their plan to go to Shizuoka and headed to Koriyama.

After the second explosion, many people started to evacuate from Iwaki City. Hitomi and her husband got mails from their friends one after another. All these mails told them to evacuate. On the other hand, radio kept informing them about shelters in Iwaki--"Heaters are not enough in any shelters", "spoons are also in short"......

"Many people are coming here from the area in danger of radiation or the area damaged by Tsunamis. How come we can escape? I want to help those people." However, she still had fear for another big shake.

Hitomi visited her mother living in the same town. Her mother said, "Grandma would come here from Koriyama after she gets out of the hospital. I'll stay here until the area leader orders us to evacuate." When Hitomi heard that, she also made up her mind to stay in Iwaki.

"Once decided to stay, I just do the things as much as possible. I want to help people in trouble now."
That was Hitomi and her husband's decision. Hitomi joined the volunteer activities inside her town, and her husband began to work as a volunteer for fixing water pipes broken.

"I just wanted to help somebody and started some volunteer works, but if I needed some help, somebody extended the hand. When I was short in food at home, I got some rice from others. Anybody could help somebody and ask for some help as well. Such actions or bond of people surely roll around us.

My relatives and grandmother cannot go home because of the nuclear accidents. I cannot visit my father's grave near from the nuclear power plants. We had to cancel the twelfth anniversary of his death this spring. How sad...however, now we can use electricity because
of nuclear power. We need to think about many people working there. We need to reconsider what would be truly necessary for our lives. And also, the risk and cost of shifting energy system should be considered.

For me, life would be more regrettable if I give up something for avoiding radioactivity. I'd rather enjoy my days as usual than change my style due to the danger of radioactivity. I'm not giving up having a baby with the same reason. I'm very happy to have my own child and if it really happens, it must be just a destiny. Why do I have to spend my life with full of anxiety? I might die tomorrow. To be myself means a lot more to me.

Our lives don't always go well as we expect. It would be changed by external factors. My childhood was full of sudden changes. I had to change my school several times a year due to my parents' business. From that experience, I learned that we could not take back anything. Once the change takes place, we can never return to the place where we used to be even though that change suffers us. If so, I just accept any changes and enjoy my life at any occasions.

I took everything as granted before. My life became more enjoyable now. I feel that every single thing is so precious and it makes my life fuller. I can enjoy listening to the music. I can eat. I can get water supply. I can live. Everything is so blessing. Daily life with such things is truly priceless. I come to think what is truly important for me. I just thought of my job before, but now, I'd like to do both my job and my favorite things."

Hitomi recently started hiking. In the morning of her day off, she goes for a hike on the mountain near her house.

"We can reach to the top of the mountain sooner or later.
I'm so grateful for my daily life, for this beautiful nature, and for everything supporting me to live here and walk like this.
I've been physically weak since little, but I'd like to train my body and see how much I can do."

(Translated by Shizuka Hayashi)