Research diary outtake:
I met Fumi this morning on the metro in downtown Tokyo. I must have looked lost as she offered me an English map of the city. Now in her 80s, she told me how she learnt to speak English from American missionaries who were in Japan after WW2. We sat next to each other on the Ginza line – “the oldest line in Tokyo, my favorite” she tells me “I remember when all these buildings used to be low-down. Now they are so tall” she said, just before our crowded carriage descended underground.
Her relatives were evacuated from their house in Fukushima after the Tsunami, Earthquake and Nuclear accident hit Japan three and a half years ago. Her sister-in-law now lives in temporary accommodation to the west of Fukushima. I have Fumi’s number and will hopefully be meeting her for tea soon.
The name Fumi means ‘history’, ‘narrative’ or ‘chronicle’. I look forward to meeting her again.