Next, during a question and answer session with the Mayor Toba, we heard more about the city’s current projects. I was particularly impressed by the inclusion of youth ideas into the city’s reconstruction. Mayor Toba explained that he didn’t want the youth to grow up while the city is being reconstructed, and at some point see a rebuilt city and realize it is not the city that they wanted, and no longer a place they want to live. After the presentations I was overwhelmed by the strength of the community and couldn’t have been more pleased with the time I had spent there. I learned so many lessons, from tsunami evacuation procedures to the importance of family and community in times of disaster.
As our bus pulled away from Rikuzentakata, a restaurant owner whose restaurant we ate lunch at, ran alongside us, waving as we drove away. Moments like these really made me feel the warmth and kindness of the people of Rikuzentakata. I hope someday I can return and see the progress the city has made.