TOHOKU REVIVAL CALENDAR

Touhoku's recovery schedule is a website created to send the message that Touhoku is great, to Japan and the rest of the world.We want to add the story of Touhoku's recovery to Tohoku's recovery calendar, and by doing so, we want to show our support to people who are moving forward, and for「what's next」for Touhoku.

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Walking and Connecting — an Australian in Japan’s Tsunami Zone

Greetings from Andy, ariTV’s resident American.

 

A free spirit blew into our studio the other day.

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Meet Australian Aaron Morellini, a 22-year-old college student who has walked Japan for the past two months.

 

His first visits to Japan were on a Sister City homestay and participation in the JENESYS Project.

He was in Japan in February, 2011.

 

The great earthquake and tsunami struck just after he returned home.

 

“I was just there! To watch that was incredibly excruciating.”

“I had a big emotional reaction because this is my favorite place. Honestly…[I feel like] these are my people. It hurt.”

 

Unsatisfied with sensationalist media reporting, Aaron unplugged and stopped following their coverage. His connections with Japan were his studies and personal friendships.

 

After some time, he met a group of students from Miyagi who told him their disaster stories.
And he joined a 300-km walk supporting solar energy in South Australia.
That led to the idea to walk from Tōkyō to Miyagi.

 

He made his way up the coast—


And he stopped to interact and join in volunteer work on the way.

 

In Onagawa, he looked out over a town that had been suddenly thrust 20m below sea level, right where he stood.

Seared into his memory are the words of a man he met, spoken in English:
“I lost five friends, this tsunami.”
The man said nothing else.

 

Eventually he went just beyond Miyagi and reached Rikuzentakata, Iwate, which would mark the end of his trek—600km from where he started.

 

Along the way he met so many people who showed him unbounded kindness.




“Every time the people just touch me—I’m always just blown away.

“I realized despite experiencing all that they’re still head up high, walking and enjoying life. I was inspired by that.”

 

Aaron explains that the experience was draining, much less physically than emotionally. The scale of the disaster was just too overwhelming.
“I’m just so glad it’s finished, and that fortunately for me, I can go home. I go home, but these people don’t.”

 

Back in Australia, Aaron vows to make sure Tōhoku’s story is known, and personally he already has plans to come back to Japan himself.

He wants to return to Tōhoku and join the community, and “help in any way [he] can, just making people smile.”

He’s off to a good start, spreading cheer at ariTV with a sweet little impromptu sing-along concert.

 

 

Tokyo to Sendai Walk – Aaron Morellini

18

Wed

September,2013

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