I later catch up with Ban san (as the Japanese call him) in Tokyo. Ban works on disaster relief projects around the world on an entirely voluntary basis. He says he believes it is his role as an architect to help people, not build showy memorials for the privileged. He says it has sometimes been hard to get permission to design innovative projects.
In the little town of Koizumi we attend a community meeting made up mostly of farmers and forestry workers. They are planning to relocate their whole community to safer higher ground. They get some funding under a Government group relocation scheme. The plan, by Professor Suguru Mori, of Hokkaido University, is eco-friendly. It minimizes car traffic, retains community links with a shared green walkway, and utilizes solar energy. Everyone is enthusiastic and there is a feeling of positive energy. Under the surface, though, people are still hurting.