In October, Kenji Araki, a director from NY came to Tohoku to film a video as part of another project, and joined the It’s Not Just Mud crew for a couple days. This video is addressed to international citizens as a thank you message from the people of Tohoku, and really conveys a warm and encouraging message.
To the people of the world: there is a video we would like you to see.
On March 11, 2011, at 2:46pm, the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region of Japan was hit by the most powerful earthquake the country had ever experienced. As the overwhelming scale of the destruction from the quake and resulting tsunami became clear, and the number of lives reported lost continued to climb to reach over 10,000, the people of our country were devastated with grief and a sense of dejection.
It was during this time that you, the people from different countries across the world, called out to us with a message of strength and support: “Ganbare Nihon!”—Be strong Japan! You lifted out spirits and gave us the courage to keep our heads up and move forward.
Nowhere is this feeling of appreciation stronger than it is with the people of Tohoku. Anyone who has spent time helping with the rebuilding efforts knows how strong these people are, and how thankful they are.
This video by Kenji, titled “We Will Always Remember You” begins with a series of video footage showing the terrible disaster the earthquake wrought.It then turns the spotlight to Taylor Anderson (then 24), an American assistant language teacher (ALT) in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture—one of the areas hit hardest by the disaster.
Anderson, was teaching at an elementary school when the earthquake hit, stayed with the frightened children until they had all been safely evacuated. However, on the way home, Anderson herself fell victim to the tsunami that came rushing in after.
Anderson’s students appear in the video and speak of their memories of their teacher: “Taylor sensei was really nice. She really cheered us up when the earthquake struck.”
There were many other touching scenes in the pre-production footage that Kenji showed the It’s Not Just Mud crew when he stayed with them in October, and it’s great to see the wonderful final product. As Jamie of INJM puts it “If you have been to Tohoku post disaster on any kind of relief mission, this video is relevant to you. Feel free to share.”
It’s only 7 minutes, but definitely worth watching. I’d recommend having a box of tissues handy nonetheless.
Here is an earlier video also by Kenji Araki filmed on March 17th, and conveys a message of support and solidarity for Japan. Ice T and Robin Williams also make appearances in the film.