Voices from FUKUSHIMA Vol.7 Ms. Mikiko MATSUNO

“Makokoro Salon,” a space for study
During the summer vacation that year, I brought my children back and lived together again to ease the mind of my father-in-law who had been fighting against terminal cancer. And we were able to look after him to the last.
My children may take my decision of bringing them back from Hokkaido and all my activities in the community as their mother’s self-satisfaction of which they were put at the mercy. When they grow up, they may say that they wanted to remain in Hokkaido, I did not accompany them, or I did not attend their entrance ceremonies. This is the reason why I want to do something which I could be proud of in front of them. And if I could do something that would help others, there is nothing nicer than these, I believe.
I think the salon activities will help people build a new community. I have continued the activities in the hope that the salon “Makokoro” be a space for study so that even if somebody moves to somewhere else new, they will be able to speak freely to their neighbors and to participate spontaneously in local activities.

Mutual help that counts
Minamisoma city will change drastically. Temporary housing will disappear someday. I have heard that both people who rebuilt their own houses and who moved in public housing for disaster victims would recall the way they felt when they moved into temporary housing for the first time. However, those who settled in their own new houses will eventually be able to feel at home. Those who moved in a large public housing for disaster victims will continually feel the same way when they started living in temporary housing. They cannot find their place unless they communicate with others by themselves.
It was reported that the number of solitary deaths increased when the survivors started their new life after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995. Even if they bear a hard life in temporary housing and start their new life, it will be nothing but a life in solitude without any human relations. As far as I can participate in these activities, I want to support them in whatever small ways that I can. Meanwhile, I what to keep hoping for the future by making the most of my experiences.
Currently, “Makokoro” also supports those who have started a new life. People who left temporary housing pay a visit to the salon. It is not only because we have spent four years together, but also because only little by little they can get accustomed to a new life.
Even if one rebuild a house, one cannot find the same life that one used to have before the earthquake. And even if time passes, one cannot go back to the former life. I think those who have lived together in the salon want to continue to help each other until everyone can start his/her new life.