What and how much has happened in eight months?
Eight months is the time that have passed since the first big earthquake hit the Southwest region of my homeland.
Since a month ago, on the one hand roughly one-fourth of the damaged houses have been demolished, but on the other hand there are still quite a number of families living in or by their destroyed houses because they feel a strong attachment to their homes.
Another housing issue that has arisen is the difficulty for accounting for all the dispersed citizens of smaller villages and remote districts – there was big relief when they were all able to find places to base their living, but because they did not all move together, concern is growing now that they will lose ties with their communities of origin.
But, we received some festive news in this festive season. A couple has to do with breweries, one a world-famous alcoholic beverage and soft drink manufacturer, and another of a local brewer of traditional rice wine.
In the former, their factory was forced to stop all production for over six months due to the earthquakes, but they got to restart the operation of one of their beer lines last month, and just yesterday, began shipping out the first brews for bars and restaurants. They estimate that they will be able to restart operation of all other production lines within the next six months, and fully expect to meet the high demands for their beverages come next hot and humid summer.
In the latter, their brewery had lost their wine cellar in which they had been brewing and storing their products for over two centuries. It took time for them to find a place where they could move their operation to, so their distilling process began later than scheduled, but they were able to start brewing as usual and ship out and sell this year’s product on time. And to signify that, a few days ago they hung up a new “cedar ball” – a ball (as massive as one metre or over three feet in diameter!) made of freshly cut cedar branches to notify that a new brew is out… it also functions to tell the degree of aging of the product by its browning.
Maybe the recovery process of the affected people are not as fast or visible as these two breweries.
Maybe there are no obvious “cedar balls” to notify others of how far they have come.
But maybe it is still important for us to look for signs (or lack thereof, perhaps) that they are surely moving forward.
Maybe I am finding it to be my little extra way of giving support to the affected, to keep being their “cedar ball” here once a month.
I am very grateful to have you continue to come here to read updates on how the affected are doing. I greatly appreciate your keeping my people in your thoughts, especially in this holiday season. I heard Santa Kumamon has been very busy flying around the world to pick up your love and support to bring home to his people for Christmas… if you see him, be sure to give him a big bear hug!
Is it a snowflake? No, it’s a “cedar ball”!