What exactly happened anyway in March 0f 2011?

On March 11 of 2011, there was a big earthquake during the afternoon.  Its epicenter was off the northeast coast of Japan, but it was felt far and wide across Japan.   Three  things happened.

First, there was the shaking. Fortunately, however, most buildings in Japan are sturdily built.   Everybody knows that earthquakes are common here, so there are standards that builders must follow.  Therefore, not an incredibly huge amount of buildings toppled from the shaking.  However, many buildings here in Tohoku (northern Japan) were partially destroyed or got cracked.

Second, there was a tsunami.  This only affected people along the east coast in the northern half of Japan.  I don’t live on the coast, so it did not affect me in any way.  However, it cost many people their lives.  The tsunami was much larger than anybody ever imagined would happen.

Third, the nuclear power plant melted down.  Its location is in eastern Fukushima on the coast.   The meltdown dispersed radiation and caused widespread panic.  This affected me since I live in Fukushima City.  I left with my son due to this event and stayed with my husband’s parents on the west coast.


For a lot of people, meltdown is a very scary word.  And now Fukushima has become a very scary word.  Meltdowns are, of course, scary and tragic, but don’t be scared.   Fukushima is just a regular place where people live.  I live here again now.  Lots of kids live here.  And we love it.

Is it safe?  The radiation dispersed quite a bit and the level here in Fukushima City is pretty low.  So I feel safe living here.  However, the area near the power plant is no longer inhabited.  Those people had to leave their homes immediately.  Many of them still can not go back.

I want to teach about Fukushima.   It’s no good pretending it didn’t happen.  If the people of Fukushima can face this disaster with courage, then so can everybody else.   We learn from our past, and we live for the future.

本を読む男の子のイラストIn the manuscript that I wrote, Haruka and her little brother live in Fukushima.  They are normal kids with normal lives.  But then disaster strikes.  Haruka and her brother face it with courage.    What exactly do they do and who exactly do they meet?   It’s in the book!

If you want to read about the tsunami, please try the book that just came out: “Up From the Sea” by Leza Lowitz.  Like me, she’s a momma in Japan.   And an excellent writer.



Free image from illustrain.com

Where is Fukushima?

Fukushima Prefecture is in northern Japan.  I live in Fukushima City.  That’s in northern Fukushima Prefecture.  Yep, we’re north!

Fukushima is hot and sweaty in  the summer, but right now it is winter, so it is cold and snowy.

I snapped these pictures while walking outside this past week.


Brrrr!  I’m glad I’m not a truck.


See that pink sign?  That’s a place where people can pay money and sing karaoke.



This is my favorite street in all of Fukushima.  If I were a truck, I’d drive on this street.  But I’m still glad I’m not a truck.  I think it would be exhausting!

If you look at a globe and put your finger on Fukushima City, then travelled east to the United States, you would run into Wichita, Kansas.  That’s where I was raised.  Fukushima City and Wichita, Kansas are approximately on the same latitude.  I also grew up with snowy winters and hot summers, so Fukushima’s weather is nothing new to me.

If you look at that same globe and put your finger on Fukushima City, then travelled south to Australia, you would run into Adelaide, Australia.  Fukushima City and Adelaide are approximately on the same longitude.

In the book that I’m writing, the main’s character’s name is “Haruka.”  If you look up the Japanese word “Haruka” in a dictionary, you’ll find that is says “far away.”  People around the world think of Fukushima as a far away place.  But is it so far?  We are all intertwined with each other.  You live far away, but you are reading this now.  And I was raised far away from Fukushima, but I live here now.   And Adelaide is far, far away.  But for the children in Adelaide, it’s not far at all.  It’s their home.  And they know of Fukushima and they’ve heard of Kansas….so it’s not so far, after all.



DSCF6011My name is Amy Lange Kawamura.  I’m not Japanese, but I live in Japan with my Japanese husband and our teenage son.   We live in a prefecture called Fukushima.  Have you heard of this place?  Back in 2011, some bad stuff happened here.  I started this blog to teach you about Fukushima!

This is a kid friendly site.  I am a momma who loves kids, so I want kids to learn about Fukushima in a safe environment.

I have written a manuscript about Fukushima.   I think it’s a great story.   But last night I dreamed I was eating a strawberry sandwich, so maybe not only will I eat a strawberry sandwich, but I will also get my manuscript published eventually!

After all, dreams do come true!

See you next time…….