One article from Yomiuri Newspaper on March 28, 2012, one of the major newpaper agencies in Japan.
One year after the 311 disaster on 11th of March, 2012, Manami Tanno(18 y/o) didn’t attend the memorial service in Iwanuma City. ‘The disaster happend just one year ago, but it does not mark anything’. She just graduated from senior high school 10 days ago. She spent the day(when the memorial service was held) watching TV at her uncle’s house in Natori City.
She lost both her parents and a sister who was 5 years senior. She used to start crying when she tried to talk about her family. Her mental support is the cat Til, who was purchased by her sister (from a pet store). Manami can forget about the incident when she holds Til tightly.
‘Father was more for dogs but my mother was more for cats. My sister was actually more for dogs, but she fell in love with Til when she saw her in the pet store.’ Manami can now talk a bit about her family.
But she is still not used to being labeld as a ‘disaster orphan’ even today. In June last year, she participated in collecting donations run by ‘Ashinaga Ikuei Kai’ an organization that supports children orphaned by disasters in Japan and went to New York. She met a lot of orphans and heard their stories. Each feels and thinks differently. But they are all regarded the same. She could not get rid of having uncomfortable feeling of being called ‘disaster orphan’.
From April, she’ll be going to a vocational school where she will learn to be a veterinarian assistant (shool year begins in April in Japan) in Sendai. She once gave it up because she didn’t want to burden her uncle, but every time she saw on TV about pets that were not reunited with their owners, she felt a lot of pain. ‘I want to see animals being happy. I want to be part of it.’ It was her dream to be working at a veterinary clinic since she was small.
Her uncle supported her. Last November, her future study plan became clear as one corporate company offered her a scholarship.
After few days she graduated from high school, she went to bury her parents and sister’s ash in Natori City. She kept their ash even after the funeral was held last Fall by her side, but now she feels it’s time to bury them.
‘I would like to one day work in a big hospital and help many animals. I’m looking forward to learning at the vocational school from Spring.’ Her friends asked her to look after their dogs if they ever be injured.
Spring arrived again. There may be no closing to sadness. But she is definitely stepping forward.