March 11

It's been very hard to find the time to write blog entries during my time in Japan. I have not stood still long enough to get something down. Now I am back In Kamaishi, and it is March 11, 2014. In 2011 on the same day, the small, industrial region was hit by a earthquake measuring 8.2 on the Richter scale, 30 minutes later a series of waves, 7 in total pounded the coastline with a force that swept away buildings, trucks, cars, forests and people at a rate that is beyond belief.
To commemorate this day there will be a ceremony in the bay where I am staying. I have been invited to go aboard the locally run rescue boat which will sound a horn at the very moment the disater took place 3 years ago.
These are tough people, they have suffered badly and are still nowhere close to living a normal existence. Many people are still living in temporary housing, there are areas of city that remain completely flat and the plans for the reconstruction of the region from the government are at odd with the need and desires of the local people.
We are here as a strange band of merry artists, designers and a musician with an ambition to help with developing a new future for the people living here. We have come to provide some advice, show some work and to have some fun. It is an amazing place, there is an incredible atmosphere that is mixed between a sadness for the past but a hunger for an exciting future. Future Lab are at the early stages of a big and ambitious project.


Ichiro Endo


Future Labo

This is the name of the project that I'm working on in Japan. I am with a group of Japanese artists traveling around the Tohoku region, one of the most badly effected areas during the tsunami of March 2011. The coastal towns and villages were all but destroyed and many people lost family friends and their homes. Three years later and a lot has changed, however the signs are still clear and damage is very present. People are still in shock and finding it hard to come to terms with what happened to them. There are many people still living in temporary housing with no fixed departure date or news of being rehoused. Plans are in place to build large sea walls to protect against another disaster, however the proposals seem to be at odds with the lives and livelihoods of the people living here, not many of them want to see their views and relationship with the sea obscured, plus there is a lot of evidence to say that a wall would not work.
I am currently staying in a hotel which is directly on the seafront, the woman who runs and owns it is somewhat of a local hero, she survived being swept 3 times in the sea whilst saving the lives of others. She survived by being pulled to safety, at the time she was unconscious. 
The hotel is the main building shown in the clip linked;

It is a lovely place and hard to think that just 3 years ago a 30m wave ploughed through this place and caused untold damage.
Last night there was a small earthquake here and that scared the hell out of me, just a tiny tremble. What a full scale quake and tsunami must feel like dose not bare thinking about.

I wont post loads of images of the destruction, you have seen them all before, so instead I show you the crew:

Haruka Ito

Hiroshi Ashikaga

Ichiro Endo

Mototoshi Abe

Yoi Kawakubo

Tomo Yukimashi

And below is an image of the "Go For Future" bus that we're traveling around in.


The way forward in Japan

This is me looking for trouble and finding it.

In Japan

I haven't had much of a chance to post yet, so here's the first one.
This fine creature is a deer, and was part of a performance put on just for our group, which is made up of a jolly band of Japanese artists and me. I am now being called to get involved with some more crazy activities... more later.



I'm off to Japan for a month, I will be post some updates here.