Part 1 Coping with Life after the Tsunami
Brigitte Steger Solidarity and Distinction through Practices of Cleanliness in Tsunami Evacuation Shelters in Yamada, Iwate Prefecture1 On about the tenth day of shelter life, the operators of a spa in Toyomane, a few miles inland, opened up the bath for us. They provided a bus so we could take a bath there. Actually, it was sooner than I had expected. I had assumed we would have to go even longer without a bath. That bath felt so great! I was really relieved (hotto shimashita). Shortly after that, electricity and water were reconnected at the shelter. When I could wash my hands again, and when I could drink the water again, I finally began to feel a little less anxious (hajimete hito anshin). Then daily life started to improve. — Toda Haruko*2 (36), staying at the Minami Elementary School shelter How do people react during a major crisis? How do they co-operate and when do they refuse to co-operate? How do social hierarchies and power relations, including gender roles and relationships, develop when a large number of people of diverse backgrounds suddenly share the fate of destroyed homes and abruptly smashed community? 1 An earlier and longer version of this paper was published online in Japan Focus on 17 September 2012. . I would like to thank all the people in Yamada who shared their experiences with me, in particular my host at the shelter, head priest Shimizu Seishō, as well as Keiko Morrison, John Traphagan, Jerry Eades, Lodewijk Brunt, Sen...
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