Out to Lunch

In late February, we visited our favorite local Italian restaurant, Wordsworth, for lunch.

As always, the food was great. We had nice salads with greens and sprouts, and as is common in Japan a few kinds of what us Americans would call "seaweed". Which is about as silly as referring to spinach, romaine or raddichio lettuce as "landweeds". Oh, well.

The main course was pasta with spinach and oysters in cream sauce topped with salmon roe. Delicious!

We of course had not been out since then due to the earthquake(s), but on Sunday I wanted to see if Wordsworth was open. Kimie had driven past it a week ago on her way to visit a family member in hospital and reported a lot of damage in the area. But I wanted to check on Wordsworth, so I bribed her with an offer of lunch and we went.

The restaurant is located about six miles south of us and one mile inland from Kashima Port in the city of Kamisu. It is fairly low lying flat area - easy pickings for a tsunami that was, along this stretch of coastline, up to 5 meters high (16.4 feet).

Along the way, we passed UniQlo clothing store. There were two shipping containers in the parking lot which had floated in from the port and bashed in the store's windows. Containers are still strewn across the landscape and in the canals. The store had also suffered a fire.

From there, we saw lots of buckled pavement, sunken roads with the concrete curbs and drain boxes sticking up, and leaning power poles.

Wordsworth was closed. The patio addition at the front was sunken a bit and the land there was lower by quite a bit relative to the street than it used to be. It had also be flooded. A sad sight. I hope they can recover eventually.

Along the back service road we saw three houses which either due to liquefaction during the earthquake or water from the tsunami, sunk into the ground a bit - one of them a burned out shell.

Ibaraki Net TV took video of the exact same area.

We decided to head toward another restaurant which Kimie's sister had recommended - "tratteria Luce". Judging by what we had already seen, we were not optimistic. But, as we approached we could see the chef/owner standing out by the street waving a huge Italian flag to attract customers.

The owners told us that Kamisu City has electricity, but will not have water service for three months. The restaurant hired a porta-potty to meet legal requirements for a toilet, and is cooking with bottled water. They aren't able to wash dishes so are using paper and plastic ones to get by. By the way, the owner's house is behind and over the restaurant, so they are living day to day with the same conditions.

Lunch was simple, but very good. A chicken wrap, minestrone soup, pasta with tomato sauce, and freshly baked bread. We took the wraps home for later. We'll go there again.

Another news video shows the fishing boat harbor at the entrance to Kashima Port. Pretty much trashed:

The man interviewed said he and his son had to be rescued here. He says it is hard, but "shoganai" - it can't be helped.

And closer to home, the bridge connecting Kashima Jingu Station to the rail line which connects us with Tokyo, is under repair:

The other line out of Kashima - the one I take to lake Hinuma - also has sections out which will take quite a while to repair.

Compared to all this, the damage to our roof, bath tiles, and driveway entrance walls, seems pretty minor. If it were not for the aftershocks, things would almost seem normal. We've been fortunate.

We're looking forward to warm weather, once again sailing Bluesette on Lake Hinuma, seeing our friends up there and eating at Mama's Kitchen again. For now, we hang on and do the best we can, along with the rest of Japan.


Martin J Frid said...

Shoganai, and he also says "tondemo-nai" (unthinkable, unbelievable). I'm surprised and very happy you were safe. I had no idea areas to the sought of you were so heavily damaged, including the train tracks. The harbour will take a lot of effort to sort out. Nature just has its way of reminding us who is in charge...

K and S said...

I am glad that the damage to your home wasn't serious. Hoping for the best for all of Japan. Take care.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Thanks for posting these. Ironically, though the earthquake made my school cancel its entire last week (including both graduation ceremonies), it also tied the faculty down and gave us extra duties, torpedoing our spring vacation and preventing me from going out and taking pictures (except for on campus - I'll post some of those soon). If you don't mind, I'd like to link here from my blog.

Pandabonium said...

Thanks, Martin. There is serious damage north and south of us. Of course the focus of the news media is rightly on the damage in the far north, so it was good to find some local news.

Kat - thanks.

Moody - we went right by your school on the way home. I'll be interested to see the pics. Link away. Always happy for that.

Antigua yacht charters said...

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nzm said...

Wow - even the damage here looks like it will be a while before things are back to "normal". Around Sendai, I guess that it will never be.

What's the latest with the radiation threats, PB? We're hearing rumours, half-truths, surmisings, perhaps some facts - it's all confusing info. Nothing concrete - except for the fact that this is what they'll probably have to pour into the power station.

Pandabonium said...

NZM - It is a shock to learn that places one has enjoyed (like Okakura Tenshin's hexagonal tea house by the sea next to the hotel where we celebrated my birthday last year) are gone. Vast areas up north will never be the same as you point out. Towns gone, rice paddies ruined by sea water or worse.

As for radiation, and the mess at Fukushima Daiichi plant - There is indeed a lot of wild speculation and little in the way of facts. My take is that it will be years - perhaps a decade - before the site can be cleaned up. The deadly radiation is localized and barring a major snafu (who can say?) for people 50 miles or more away the danger is small.

I monitor a website which shows the data collected by the Ibaraki prefectural government from 41 sites starting just north of us. The reading were never scary at all - we're talking nanoSieverts - and have been declining by about 10% per day since I found the website. They are down to a third of what they were a week or so ago.

Bottom line - I am vigilant, of course, but at this point, not worried.

c said...

thinking of you all!

Pandabonium said...

Thank you, c.

Thomas Paine said...
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