April 15 – Open Season
The season of rebirth takes on a whole new meaning in Tohoku.
As Yasue reported yesterday, spring is ascending upon Tohoku and as they have for centuries, residents there will mark its arrival by plum blossoms, cherry blossoms and blissfully warming temperatures.
This spring however, the season of rebirth is being marked in entirely new ways as Japan begins to awaken from the shock and devastation caused by the 3/11 earthquake and the resulting tsunami and nuclear crisis. In the last three days alone, some major recovery milestones were announced as significant symbols of this proud nation opened for the first time since 3/11.
On Wednesday, The Sendai Airport reopened reassuring residents that yet another lifeline had been opened and that progress was being made.
On Thursday, Tohoku’s Miyagi Prefecture port town of Shiogama opened their fish market. The largest fish market in northeast Japan, Shiogama is also one of the country’s largest tuna markets. Tons of tuna arrived from the Japanese fishing fleet. Prices at the auction were higher than their pre-quake norms with Japanese newspapers reporting that one 150-pound big-eye tuna sold wholesale for about $31 a pound – almost double what it would have sold for on March 10.
On Friday, Tokyo Disneyland reopened to a limited schedule and the theme park will be donating a portion of their entrance fee to Tohoku relief. For nearly 30 years, Tokyo Disneyland has been a symbol of national pride as it was the first Disney park to be built outside of the United States. It seems fitting that the “happiest place on earth” is again providing comfort and laughter to a populace that deserves a lot of both.
That wasn’t the only opening announced on Friday. Toyota, a long-time stalwart of Japan’s manufacturing prowess, announced they will begin limited production in all their Japan plants this coming Monday.
From flights to fish to fun, the open season, like spring, continues its march to rebirth.