That Weekend in Yamamoto Recovering Photographs

*Throwback Thursday: I’m slowly (very slowly) going to be bringing my old posts to this blog.
“I’ll be back…”
Ever since parting with those words
I was once again back in the town of Yamamoto.
Familiar faces at the town hall
quickly turn to smiles when eyes meet.
“You really came back!”
Yes, I did.
So glad I did.

This time it was for photographs.
“What would you take from a burning house?”
One of those what-if questions
that people always ask each other.
Even when I was younger
my answer to this was always he same.
The project I participated in
recovers photographs.
Memory Salvage.
These photographs found on the shore of Yamamoto
by the Self Defense Force after the tsunami.
The project not only tries to recover
but also hopes to return them to the owners.

Piles and piles of photographs.
Most covered with dirt.
Some already with mold.
The photos already documented and cleaned
are placed in a categorized library.
Already locals were looking through the library.
Looking for their past memories
they lost in the tsunami.
We worked in teams.
Cleaning off the dirt.
Digitizing each photograph.
The photo albums smelled like the sea.

Photographs of children in their Shichi-go-san kimonos.
Others of merry coworkers at a company nomikai.
Some too far damaged to ever recover.
This may not directly help the locals.
We didn’t rebuild houses or farmlands.
But this project called to me.
Because photographs are special to me.
And if there is even one survivor in Yamamoto
looking for a lost photo of loved ones
…I hope this project leads them to it.

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