By Kim Kyung-hoon
“Time flies so fast.”
I can’t count how many times I’ve mumbled this phrase while traveling in Sendai and Fukushima last week for the six month anniversary of the March 11th earthquake and disaster that left tens of thousands dead across Japan and caused the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.
With the scenes of fear and hopelessness from the areas devastated in March and the hardship of the assignments still vivid in my memory, I feel like the disaster happened just a few weeks ago.
Six months had passed when I hit the road again with my TV colleague Chris Meyers, who traveled to the area with me in March, in order to document how much the tsunami-hit areas have recovered. As I once again traveled around the northern part of Japan, some areas have recovered at a pace I didn’t think possible in March.
For this trip, we drove north from Tokyo to Sendai using the highway system, taking a total of five hours. In March, the same trip took over 25 hours, and involved using a helicopter to fly north to Fukushima. From there we drove using small local roads as many of the major highways had entire chunks of the road missing due to the earthquake.
The port of Sendai, where I documented the disaster’s damage for the first time in March, is once again operating normally. The lines in downtown Sendai to find food, water, and gas have disappeared.
Certainly, those who lost loved ones and property are still suffering. but the damage to property has been tidied up in hopes of providing a guide to those affected to help them manage their sorrow and hardship.