So for the next few weeks I'll be dropping 4 parts of an interview with a fellow traveler named Hannah as we discuss race, privilege, and travelling. It will be broken down into 4 parts. If you loved the discussions you heard in our anniversary episode 50 pt. 2 and Black Panther (which you can mos definitely can check out right 'chea), then hopefully you'll dig these. And if you're interested in more interviews during my travel or have topics for discussion drop us a line on our contact page!
So at the beginning of the month I had the opportunity to travel to the Fukushima area in Japan to see some of the work and changes being done after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. For those who don't know much about it, or since it has been almost a decade already (Lord it is almost a decade already...I'm gettin old lol) March 11th 2011 is when a huge magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit Japan causing a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Without going too much into the history of the disaster it called for an evacuation of over 30 km immediately, and other surrounding areas as the radiation and such in the air spread. Fun actually-horrible-and-low-key-evil fact, some parts of the area were told to evacuate within 3 days. Other parts...weren't told until a month later so just think what the families in those areas were ingesting or subjected to without knowing. Or even worse the effects it may have for generations to come from this, that could have been possibly averted. Also interesting to find out is that if the wind that day and the next or so was a south wind instead of west (or is it east...Japan directions confuse me lol), majority of the Tokyo area would have been directly effected, and that is a scary thought to have. Even though it's 7 years later, only now are you really seeing life come back to the area with just a few years ago lots of small towns or cities that were evacuated completely still empty being effectively ghost towns.
So how do you know when civilization comes back after years of abandonment and fear of radiation poisoning? Convenience stores an community centers. Seriously I spent a solid day in the area and the newest things that I saw with the most people even around were either 711s that were just built, and the community centers near or close to these 711s lol. Which makes sense if you really think about it since what's more common, safe, and everything is almost back to normal for people traveling through than convenience stores?
Yet for the people who live in the Fukushima Prefecture, whose livelihoods were heavily effected, families separated, and basically the Japanese people who lived in the disaster area and now have turned into refugees in their own country, it's not as back as normal as they would like. However, the hope of one day a new normal coming from this horror is apparent from those still in the area working to find a silver lining from all of this. One of the most awesome things to hear and see is that when a lot of the farmers, especially the cattle farmers, realized all this land they had was going to be useless in terms of how they used it previously, they decided to try something new with solar power energy. Which is genius and speaks on the people of Fukushima's resilience and hope. Right now the batteries can't hold enough of a reserve to be used as generators for the area, but they do use the energy produced and tie it to the electric company being able to have every huge panel setup work to give energy for up to 15 homes. Their hope is in 10 years at least not only will they be able to go back to farming their land but to continue the process of being more renewable energy and see how the old and new can turn into something really remarkable for the people of Fukushima.