What Pegman Saw – I had, in any case

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is Fukushima, Japan.

WPS - I had, in any case 171202

Genre: Historical fiction

Word count: 151

Owatatsumi is one name for the Shinto god of the sea.

kami is a generic name for a Shinto god.

I had, in any case

I had, in any case, been intending to leave Fukushima.

There were only two sources of work there; agriculture or the nuclear plant. Neither appealed. I wanted a creative life. I envied those few Westerners I had met. They travelled, they drank a stronger wine and sang a gayer song.

Then one day Owatatsumi was angered. He beat the sea higher and higher until it overwhelmed us. We were powerless as it tore down our buildings, as it snatched babe from mother, husband from wife, into the finality of death, and poured relentlessly on, and on, and on, into the nuclear plant, where panic-stricken engineers fought frantically to avert catastrophe.

The fierce kami of radiation burst out like devouring dragons, poisoning land and water, driving us from our homes for ever.

The government evacuated us, exiled us. I’m in Kyoto now.

I had, in any case, been intending to leave Fukushima.

Mother

This poem really moved me. It has some wonderful imagery. I hope you enjoy it too!

Melody Chen

Mother,
Stepped afoot a plane for the first time,
Lost count of the number of miles it took
To reach the land that seemed so much nearer on the map.
Had a daughter whose birth rooted a lineage in foreign soil.

Mother,
Packed an entire culture into her suitcase,
Lugged it across the ocean,
Only to have it opened by a daughter who lost her way
In a myriad of alien traditions and customs
That tangled like Christmas lights.
Wondered how she would teach her daughter
Tens of thousands of characters,
When her school teachers had told her everything could be expressed
With twenty six letters.
Gifted her daughter an intricate name worth an essay, and watched it be abandoned
For one that was lighter on the Western tongue.

Mother,
Mined iron to construct her daughter’s bones,
Her own arms only strong after having to lift up an entire family.
Taught…

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