Boo-hoo-hoo Fukushima Diary, Part 14

Traveling 80 km back and forth

Nearly two years have passed since we sent our children from our home in Fukushima City to live with my parents in the city of Aizu Wakamatsu in Fukushima Prefecture. For the first year my wife and I continued to work in Fukushima City and took turns going to Aizu Wakamatsu every other day. It’s 80 km each way by car. My wife said, “I’m going to get sick not from radiation but from the stress of commuting.”

Luckily, after one year, my wife was able to get transferred to a school in Aizu Wakamatsu, but I continued to go to there every other day. I always carry toiletries, pajamas and a change of clothes in my bag so I can be prepared to stay in either location on short notice. When you stay in one house or the other every other day, they both begin to seem like temporary homes.

We chose this exhausting regimen so we could maintain our income while avoiding exposure to radiation.

My parents said, “Why are you making such a big fuss? Why don’t you all live together in Fukushima City?” An acquaintance of mine in Fukushima City said, “Don’t be so neurotic about the radiation.”

But, as I left our home in Fukushima City once again this morning, I thought to myself, “I’ll be leaving from Aizu Wakamatsu tomorrow morning, so I can’t put out the burnable trash.”

(Originally published on February 19, 2013)