[Haruichi Report 4] Elementary School

Day 2 started at 2:30 p.m., so we had the morning to ourselves.

There was an idol group event in the outer park, but we decided to visit a place we really wanted to go.

The venue for this event, J-VILLAGE, is located across the towns of Naraha and Hirono in Fukushima Prefecture, while the other co-host, Namie town, is about 15 km away from these towns (about 40 minutes by car).

It is the base of the "Namie Joshi Hatsu Kumiai (JA-NAMIE)" in which AYAKA is active.

In Namie Town, the only "earthquake remains" in Fukushima Prefecture, the "Ukedo Elementary School" damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake, has been maintained and left behind for tourism purposes.

It was not until last fall, 10 years after the disaster, that the general public was able to visit the school.

On that day, visitors to the facility were almost all Mononofus.

Many colorful Mononofus also visited on official tour buses and so on.

While there are many similar disaster sites and remains in eastern Japan, Fukushima Prefecture is unique in that the nuclear accident that occurred the day after the earthquake and tsunami made it impossible to search for survivors, and those who were able to evacuate were unable to return to their hometowns for a long period of time.

In Namie Town, where JA-NAMIE operates, more than half of the eastern side of the town is still designated as a "no-return zone".

- Inside the facilities, classrooms that were damaged by the earthquake and tsunami remain intact.

- The gymnasium, where a graduation ceremony was to be held, had its floor destroyed, leaving behind the preparatory decorations.

The children of this elementary school were able to evacuate the building quickly with proper guidance, but some of their parents lost their lives.

This elementary school is featured in the music video "Aruke Aruke" by JA-NAIME. (around 0:50).

The fishing industry is thriving in this area, and the fishing port has just been rebuilt.

The tour shirt (AYAKA wearing below) for this live performance was inspired by the flag of this port (the big fishing flag).