Thank you for your concern about the current disaster in Japan, and your inquiries about Anno Sensei’s safety. Typhoon Talas hit the Kumano area of Japan extremely hard and caused widespread flooding, mudslides, power outages, and massive damage. Roads and bridges have been washed out, basic services are down, houses destroyed, sacred sites damaged. The disaster has already claimed about 30 lives and there are many others missing or stranded. The Kumano region (the Kii Peninsula; Wakayama & Mie Prefectures) is where I used to live and train; and it is where Anno Sensei lives–in a rural area near the city of Shingu.
I haven’t been able to reach Anno Sensei yet by phone, but yesterday I managed to get through to someone I know in Shingu. He told me that Anno Sensei and his wife are safe. However, their house has been flooded. They have temporarily moved to another little house on their property, on higher ground. I read in the news that the Onodani River (nearby, in Kiho, Mie Prefecture) flooded, and helicopters have been rescuing stranded people. I imagine that Anno Sensei and his wife may be without power or running water for now, and there will need to be a big cleanup effort. But at least they are safe.
My contact in Shingu told me that the Kumano River overflowed its banks in Shingu and flooded the streets around the Kumano Juku Dojo–the dojo Osensei established in Shingu in 1953. Fortunately Japanese buildings are built with a “step-up” to the ground floor. The flood waters did come into the dojo building, but did not reach the level of the mats and the dojo was spared major damage.
It has been such a difficult time in Japan already this year, with the March earthquake and tsunami in the northeast part of the country, and the continuing concerns about radiation and the weakened economy. Thank you for all your support and healing prayers for the people and land of Japan.
Feel free to pass this news to anyone who would like to know.
Chief Instructor, Aikido of Santa Cruz