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Going Home Again

You can't go home again. Who wrote that? I'm pretty sure it was an American, all cookie-cutter and picket fences. Whoever it was, they were right; although I doubt they had nuclear disaster in mind.

Today marks my return to Namie; the first time since the tsunami swept our town and most of our lives away. But I am done with mourning, for now at least. I am returning to Namie with a single purpose: to find Noboru, my cat.

Until last week I had given up much hope of his survival, regardless of how many spare lives he had lying around, but something my neighbour Mrs Nagata said gave me hope.

Old Mrs Nagata and her four grown-up sons returned to Namie last week to collect the last of their belongings. They were lucky. Most of the town's residents, including my family, have made similar journeys back, only to return empty handed and shattered by the experience.

I was there when Mrs Nagata returned to the temporary housing, her grey head held high, clutching closely a bundle of her belongings. "Our town is finished" she said "Best leave it to the cats".

Story by:

Barry John Fletcher

6 August 2013