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    Posted May 18, 2011 by
    Iwaki, Japan
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Recovery in Japan: After the earthquake

    soremite and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: Earthquake strikes Japan
    More from soremite

    Fukushima -- Two Months After


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     soremite shot these photos over the past few weeks while assisting with cleanup efforts in Ena and Minami Soma, Fukushima. The volunteers wore bright yellow jackets to identify themselves, and when they finished, wrote messages of hope on the jackets to leave behind.
    - dsashin, CNN iReport producer

    Life is getting back to normal in Fukushima, Japan. For the most part at least. School has started back, but many schools around Koriyama now house either students or entire schools from the coast or 20km evacuation zone. Some of my schools have more than double the normal number of students.


    There are only small reminders on a daily basis and sometimes I even forget about the quake. I forget until the principal posts the daily radiation readings on the board in the teachers' room.


    Some stores are no longer 24 hours and others haven't even reopened yet. There are no food shortages or lines for gas. There are still cracks in the road and in buildings. One of the painful reminders for me is seeing the water line on the buildings we clean. It's usually about 4 feet high and that's when the ground is already 10 feet above sea level. It's difficult to look at while we are cleaning. Imaging that much water everywhere.


    On weekends many of us foreign English teachers go to the coast to do some tsunami clean up. It's really hard work and difficult to look at people's lives ruined and literally washed away, but it also feels good to make a real difference. Recently we had two fundraisers and raised over $5,000. That money was given to one specific town to buy school supplies for the schools we cleaned up one weekend.


    Some teachers from around the world have been having their classes make paper cranes and then sending them to Japan to show the kids the world is thinking of them in their time of need. The kids are so happy to receive them.


    Things are getting better, but there is so much to do. When we help clean up at the coast, we work hard all day and do a lot, but overall it's nothing. It will take years to get back to some form of normalcy.

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