Right after the earthquake the best source to get information was the radio. I had no choice but to stay in my car overnight on March 11. I continued listening to the radio while gazing at the darkness from inside the car. I was in shock because I had never experienced such a disaster. I encouraged myself as I depended on the voice coming from the radio speaker as I sat in the parking lot of the community center. The announcer, nearly in tears at times, conveyed the information to us. I was able to somehow gather my composure by listening to the radio.
I began to trust the radio and always kept it at my side. I was able to confirm immediately the seismic intensity and the damage when I felt strong aftershocks. I turned it on intentionally in order to avoid worrying endlessly when my mind felt gloomy. The radio took me outside of myself for a moment. Even when I couldn’t step out from my house, it was like a window to the outside world. I still turn on the radio at such times.
When I can’t squeeze out the first line of manuscript, or the flow of ideas stops; it is at times like this I switch in the radio. I then open my ears for a while, turn down or turn off the volume, and after a while I start writing again. In this way, I am able to do my preparation of feeling and thinking about things and find the moment to switch to writing. Therefore, my radio is always located next to my writing desk.
I sometimes spend time in hotels when I give speeches and travel to collect information. Actually, I can’t sleep well while traveling. Even if I watch television at night, I can’t relax very well. When this happens, I look for a radio in the room, but most rooms in modern hotels don’t have radios installed at the bedside like they used to. So, now I take a small radio with me when I travel. Listening to local stations quietens my mind and helps me fade into sleep.
I think people have a kind of ‘individual frequency’. The radio makes me think so. When I tune in on a frequency looking for a program, I feel like I am looking for myself. When we find a frequency, we feel we have found a new moment that has been promised to us. We are still living in hard times after the serious earthquake disaster. However, let us not lose our ‘frequency’ and together look intently at our home Fukushima.
Poet Ryoichi Wago
Born in 1968 in Fukushima, Mr. Wago works as a Japanese teacher. Mr. Wago received the 4th Nakahara Chuuya Award for his first collection of poems “AFTER (1998). His 4th collection “Chikyuu Zunou Shihen” received the 47th Bansui Award (2006). Mr. Wago is raved as “the standard bearer of young poets” by The Nikkei newspaper, etc. After the Earthquake, he has been tweeting a poem cycle titled “Shi no tsubute” (Stones of Poetry) which has received much attention. * Account (@wago2828). In June 2011, these collections were simultaneously published as “Shi no Tsubute” by Tokuma Shoten, “Shi no Mokurei” (A Silent Bow of Poetry) by Shinchosha Publishing and “Shi no Kaikou” (An Encounter of Poetry) (Asashi Shimbun Publications). In the same year, Mr. Wago founded PROJECT FUKUSHIMA! and organized a global promotion event on August 15th, in which his poem recitation was accompanied by Ryuuichi Sakamoto on piano and Yoshihide Ootomo on guitar.