katzsong (katzsong) wrote in aramatheydidnt,

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Another inspirational story from Japan: Murky waters fail to deter dogged dive team

ISHINOMAKI, Miyagi--On Sept. 13, just over six months after the Great East Japan Earthquake, four men clad in wet suits disembarked from a small boat at Ishinomaki's fishing port.

They were members of the voluntary Diving Search & Rescue Association, and had just finished their search activities for the day.

A woman waiting on the pier asked Mikio Ota, the team leader, "How did it go today."

"We found nothing," he replied quietly.

The woman's husband, a volunteer firefighter, headed to the port to close its floodgate immediately after the earthquake. He never returned.

"I can't stand this. The tsunami took everything from me," the 38-year-old woman said. "I want to see my husband again, even if he's at
the bottom of the sea."

Despite her slim hopes, she has great faith in Ota.

Ota, 46, originally from Kobe, has bitter memories. After the Great Hanshin Earthquake 16 years ago, he attempted to return to Kobe from
Chiba Prefecture, where he was living at the time. However, disruptions to public transportation forced him to return to Chiba.

When the massive tsunami ravaged the Tohoku coastline, Ota asked himself, "What can I do?"

Ota, who now operates a dive shop in Saitama, gathered fellow divers and set up the volunteer association in May. He and his team have so far made about 50 dives, but have found only two bodies due to poor visibility in the water.

Whenever they find photo albums and other personal items, they bring them back to shore, and then try to find the owners.

The dive team includes local people from the devastated areas. A 33-year-old firefighter from Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, who lost two colleagues in the tsunami, sacrificed his holidays to join the team.

Another diver, 31, after learning that his hometown of Minami-Sanrikucho was devastated in the disaster, returned from Australia where he had been studying.

"I'd like to find my relatives, who were swept away by the tsunami," he said.

Nearly 4,000 people remain unaccounted for, but the Japan Coast Guard continues to search for them.

Ota is determined to continue diving in search of missing people. "We'll keep looking as long as there are people who need us," he said.


hope I tag this right :P or if not, please enlighten me

Tags: japanese culture, news

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