Sunday, April 22, 2012

Post Tōhoku Milestone - Soccerball Reaches Alaska

Over the weekend, news spread across the internet that Tōhoku Tsunami debris had reached Alaska. While much of this is another sad milestone, this story caught our attention and we at American Mishima were compelled to share this story with you here.

The Anchorage Daily News reported that soccerballs and other sports equipment washed ashore on Middleton Island which is lies in the Gulf of Alaska 113 miles from the mainland. To the suprise of many, the owner of this one ball has come foward to claim his lost soccerball. As reported on ABC, 16-year-old Misaki Murakami said he was “shocked” to hear his prized possession had floated more than 3,100 miles across the Pacific Ocean. He received the ball from friends when he was in the third grade, as a good luck gift before he transferred from Osabe Elementary school in Rikuzentakata, one of the cities hardest hit by the tsunami last March. On the ball, classmates signed their names in Japanese, along with the date March 2005, and the words “Misaki Murakami. Work hard!” This was washed away with the rest of his home.
As luck would have it the ball was discovered by a radar technician David Baxter whose wife happens to be Japanese who could read the kana on the ball. After quick search revealed that Osabe Elementary was located in the tsunami zone, leading Baxter to believe the balls were part of the debris that had floated across the Pacific. “I tried to get the ball back to him or his family,” Baxter told NHK News. “I just wanted to help a young man try to put his life back together.” Murakami was quoted as saying “I haven’t found any personal items since the Tsunami, so I am overwhelmed with joy. I am so grateful that somebody found it, and took the time to look up such foreign characters and words.” We at American Mishima hope more items are recovered, identified, and returned to their owners who have endured so much since the Tōhoku Triple disaster of March 2011. We ask that people continue to help in this process.

1 comment:

  1. The soccer ball made it home today.