CandleNight– In Memory of Victims of 3/11/11 (2018)

Every year in Fukushima City (and other places in Japan) candles are lit in memories of those who lost their lives, or have gone missing, due to the huge earthquake of March 11, 2011.  And also in memories of those along the coast whose homes and communities were destroyed.

This is in the evening in front of Fukushima City train station (East Exit.)

Lots of people praying and remembering…


Free of charge, people can receive a candle holders and markers to decorate…I enjoy looking at the messages from my fellow Fukushimers.

The vertical sign says “Candle Night”

These candles says “3.11” because March 11 (in 2011) was the day the earthquake occurred.

Lots of messages for Fukushima. They’re mostly in Japanese, of course.

Middle one says (at top) “Don’t give up!” The red cow is a traditional Fukushima symbol, the Akabeko.

The candle on the right says in red (vertically): “Healthy Fukushima” (Translating “Genki” to “Healthy” although it is often translated as “In good spirits” or “Lively.”)

This is the candle that I drew on.

I talked to a young woman from Osaka who recently moved to Fukushima City.  Her candle says: “From Osaka. Happy Smile & Healthy”

Once the sun set, the candles really are very beautiful.

Just noticed I wrote “FUKU SHIM” Instead of “FUKU SHIMA” oops.

I wanted to show this candle because it has some English: “Remember.”





Anti-Nuclear Energy March

Last Sunday (March 11, 2018) was the seventh anniversary of the huge earthquake that resulted in a major tsunami that killed many people. (And the tsunami caused meltdowns at a nuclear power plant here in Fukushima Prefecture.)

During the afternoon of Sunday, I went to a ceremony at the Bunka Center (Culture Center) here in Fukushima City. The purpose was to remember the lives lost and missing. We were not allowed to take photos, so I have no photos of this.

I rode my bicycle home, only about a fifteen minute bike ride. I passed the parade that is in the following photos that I took. It appears to be a group of people marching against nuclear energy.

At this point, the were near Shinhama Park—MY neighborhood!

We don’t want nuclear power plants.

Women of Fukushima.

Don’t Trust Government

We don’t want nuclear power plants.

Women of Fukushima.

(top left sign)


Increase in Fear. (My note: This sign is against current Prime Minister Abe, who favors nuclear energy. His name is in the sign.)

Return to the people!

Return to our livelihoods!

(top right sign)

Stop…(something…I can’t read it….I tried to look it up but the sheet is folded, so I can’t make out the character.)

UPDATE: I asked my Japanese teacher and she told me the sign in red says, “Sai kaidou yamete!” This means: “Stop reoperation!”



Grocery Store Rice

One can also buy rice in a regular grocery store, of course.  Japanese people take their rice VERY seiously.

This is the grocery store near my home, and it has a section devoted to rice. In the photo, you can see Fukushima grown rice.

Top left, in the blue circle, it says: Fukushima

This particular rice is from the Aizu region. (Western part of the prefecture.)

The above rice was also grown in Fukushima Prefecture.

More varieties of rice, from different regions.

Written in black: Hokkaido

Akita rice

Aizu rice (Aizu is part of Fukushima Prefecture.)

Niigata rice

Yamagata rice

My husbands’ parents are rice farmers in Yamagata Prefecture, so my husband likes this rice!

You can see there are lots of choices in Japan. If you live in the United States or Canada (or most parts of the world) I very much suspect you are NOT eating Fukushima rice. I simply don’t think that Fukushima exports to the U.S. in any great quantity.

Although this link is for exports in general, it claims to show which countries export the most rice. (Japan is NOT one of the countries.)

Rice shop near my house

Currently, all rice grown in Fukushima is tested for levels of radiation, and can be sold only if the rice passes the test. The governments wants to change the testing procedure from ALL rice to SAMPLES of rice. It appears it is a burden for farmers to haul all the rice to the testing centers.

Here’s an article about it:

The following photos show a rice shop very close to my home.

A very quiet street

The rice shop. The owners’ children go to my son’s junior high, and also his former elementary school. (So they know me from my library volunteer at the elementary school.)

Fukushima rice. Tomorrow I’ll show rice from other regions of Japan. Basically each region has its own rice. Professions like farmers (one of the main industries in Fukushima Prefecture) were very much affected by the meltdowns.  It appears (to me) that crops in most parts of the prefecture (remember that Fukushima is one of the larger prefectures in Japan) were not affected by the radiation, or minimally so. And of course, crops have been tested since 2011. However, most people don’t follow what is going on in Fukushima……and therefore they avoid Fukushima food because they assume its dangerous.

My own husband’s parents are rice farmers, although not in Fukushima. Rice farming is a hard job, with low pay. Furthermore, the rice here in Tohoku is usually high quality, gourmet rice, grown with lots of love and care. I’m not telling you to go out and eat Fukushima rice if you don’t want to. But don’t be ill-informed.

This rice shop is special to me because immediately after the earthquake, my husband told me to come here and purchase rice. In all shops, all the food was being bought until the shelves were empty, and he wanted to make sure there would be plenty of rice in our home. (Shortly after, my son and I left to stay with his parents in another part of Japan, but he stayed behind to work.)

The seventh anniversary of the quake is on March 11–next Sunday. I plan to attend a ceremony of remembrance during the afternoon.

Swans and Wild Ducks

Here we are! This is the Abukuma River in Fukushima City.

Ducks and Swans

Wild ducks and swans.

They get fed here…

If we look to the left, we see that there are no birds…

They are attracted to this spot by the food.

Pretty swan

A pretty wild duck


A pretty crow! (This was the only crow in this flock. I think she has figured out where to snag a free breakfast!)

Do you see any cranes?

No, you won’t see any cranes here. Cranes no longer live in Tohoku. In Japan, they live in Hokkaido nowadays. (I learned this doing research for my manuscript.)


What a lovely spot to visit!