Minami Sanriku

It was only last week that I walked past the water
I remembered last summer and the candles we made
The whole town was there beside the river
On that warm August night of the Lantern Parade
With a breeze on our backs we walked home together
We unrolled our futons when the night was through
Ojichan was sleeping so we tried not to wake him
That’s how life was in Minami Sanriku

It was only last week that I came home from school
My parents were working but my grandpa was there
He threw a ball in my hand looking ever so cool
In his corduroy jacket and his wavy white hair
I said “hello ojichan” and I threw him the ball
It went kind of like that for the whole afternoon
The sun had gone down when we heard ocasan call
We went inside to eat in Minami Sanriku

It was only last week I was sitting in class
With the rest of the kids on the top of the hill
We felt the earth shake, heard the breaking of glass
And then for a long time the world stood still
We went outside to watch the wave rolling in
As it took away everything I once knew
We stood helpless and looked at the town that had been
Oyasumi, daiski, Minami Sanriku

“Minami Sanriku” appears on the Bandcamp album, Ten New Songs (2011).

I read about the town of Minami Sanriku, and how the elementary school kids who were at school at the time survived the tsunami because the school was on the top of a hill.  So many of their family members down below died.  Based on that story and my knowledge of Japanese culture (my wife is from Japan and I have been there many times), I wrote this song.