Rugby World Cup: How Japan 2019 host town Kamaishi is using event to rebuild after tsunamiCat:未分類
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By Chris McLaughlin
BBC Scotland sports news correspondent
For one coastal city, 500 km north of bustling Tokyo, the Rugby World Cup’s presence means more than a celebration of game.
Kamaishi is located in the province of Iwate and used to be best known for its steel business, fishing as well as the 35,000 residents’ fascination with rugby union, since it had been home to the bar that dominated rugby that is Western .
This was until March 11, 2011, however. This triggered a tsunami and was the day the country hit.
News footage at that time shows automobiles bobbing through the streets and homes floating about like matchsticks in the rain, as well as the sight of people on a hillside desperately crying for their fellow townsfolk to run because the ocean invaded the roads, crushing everything in its path.
A total of 1,300 people died and the town was utterly devastated. Survivors took what they could salvage and abandoned, never to return. But were decided to reconstruct.
One of the numerous buildings to be washed away was the college. It lay in the very heart of town, both physically and emotionally.
Because of some tsunami evacuation procedure that was well-established, the majority of the students made it but nothing remained of the construction.
In the months that followed, a plan which would offer the city and restore some pride was invented by locals – and – rugby was at the heart of it.
The Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium stands on the specific place where the faculty was washed away, having been built with the help of government investment built to aid in the recovery of the area.
It is going to be the tiniest of their World Cup venues, but many think it’ll be the most significant.
“We wanted to build something which would symbolise hope for its near future,” said arena director Takeshi Nagata.
“It isn’t simply rebuilding something physically – it’s all about rebuilding hearts”
That opinion is evidenced. She owns a small inn that sits at the sea’s border. When recounting her near fatal encounter she smiles broadly.
“There was a feeling that’today is the day’,” she remembers. “We’d been anticipating it since we had been told that a big earthquake could one day come our way.
“As I attempted to run to the hills, I was captured under water.
“I looked at the sky and remember thinking it seemed so pretty before I lost consciousness.”
Iwasaki was trapped below a van but had been pulled clear by one of her clients who had made it. She wants Kamaishi to be remembered for rugby rather than a period of tragedy.
“I really don’t believe this city and the folks could have made it during the previous eight years when we did not possess the World Cup to concentrate on,” she said.
Not everyone is in complete agreement however. Some locals point towards those forced to live in housing as government investment is ploughed into roads around World Cup infrastructure and the arena.
Those who visit won’t fail to notice the athletic event will take place where tragedy once struck, although the arena will sponsor Fiji v Uruguay and Namibia v Canada.
The tsunami memorial situated just outside Akiko’s inn also serves as caution.
The words etched right into the tall black granite stone read, simply:”Just run! Run uphill! Do not be worried about the others. Save yourself. And tell the generations that a tsunami reached this stage were the ones who ran. So run! Run uphill!”
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