Sep 2011


Follow-up Report: Visitors to “Kizuna no yu” and “Fudou no yu” exceed 3500!

Over the past two weeks the number of visitors to the public baths, “Kizuna no yu” and “Fudou no yu” that were opened to the public on August 22 exceeded 3500 people!

In conjunction with the conclusion of the bathing facilities that had been provided by the Japanese Self Defense Forces, and upon consultation with local city hall officials, public baths were constructed by the Ishinomaki Disaster Recovery Assistance Council Inc. (IDRAC) with Peace Boat in charge of the operation of the baths including changing the water, cleaning and reception duties. There are many people who use the baths everyday and most of these people are living in evacuation centers or in the surrounding areas where infrastructure has not yet been restored.

Today’s report is about “Fudou no yu” which was constructed in front of the local community center.

Please see here for the report about the construction of the baths.

There is now an impressive sign in front of the baths.

Around 100 people use “Fudou no yu” each day. Visitors of course include residents from the nearby evacuation enter but people come from as far as the Watanami region, on the other side of the Magiyama Tunnel.

Despite this area being significantly damaged by the tsunami, it was difficult for help to reach this area because of its location on the outskirts of the city. Peace Boat found out that many people were living on the second floor of houses that had been partially destroyed and the subsequent delivery of meals and other supplies became a lifeline for the people in this area.

Delays in emergency relief for certain areas also have an effect on the speed of recovery. Limitations in the amount of machinery and manpower mean that the restoration of infrastructure will still take time.

Without restoration of gas, electricity and drainage, it is of course impossible for people to have a bath. These conditions are likely to continue throughout September and so “Fudou no yu” bathing facilities play an important role.

Volunteers at the reception area.

Some people come every day so it’s important for volunteers to create a nice relaxing atmosphere by chatting with people when they come to the bath. There’s a water cooler and a bench to sit on as well.

And of course there is cleaning.

Because the facilities are temporary, the water doesn’t flow directly to the drain. Volunteers work patiently scraping the water away to make sure the water doesn’t overflow onto the street.

Volunteers also have to make sure the shampoo and other amenities are always stocked up. A unique feature of the bathing facilities here is that the products used do not contain any synthetic surface activators so as to prevent the drains becoming blocked with soap bubbles. In addition, the hot water is re-used for cleaning bathing equipment and floorboards before it is thrown away.

The volunteers working here keep doing these tasks and welcoming people to the bath with a smile everyday because they want people to be able to enjoy using the baths.

The volunteers at “Fudou no yu” and “Kizuna no yu” at Ai Plaza hope that the people of Ishinomaki come to use the baths.
All photos by Kataoka Kazushi