I went to my brother's house today. He left the hospital on August 5 after the hospitalization of more than six months. His disease is not a kind of curable one, and he continues the medical treatment at home. He lives in Higashinada, Kobe, with his wife and two daughters. I use the same station every month to go to Pont au Courage, but it has been a long time since I last walked along the streets from the station to my brother's house.
On the day of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, the first floor of the apartment house where my family lived was crashed. We, my ex-husband, eight years old daughter, four years old son and I, escaped from the building and took refuge to the nearby school. My brother worried about our safety and searched out us in the midst of the crowd and confusion, and took us to his house on the very day. His apartment house was safe and the electricity was available from that evening. We lived there together for three days. On the fourth day, we decided to leave Kobe, and we all walked for ten kilometers to the nearest station, where we could take trains to the non-stricken areas. At that time, there was no supply of water, gas, and public transportation in Kobe. The main roads were jammed so much that only our feet were reliable. From the station we went to seek refuge to each of our relatives' houses. After four months, my family returned to Kobe and rented an apartment house near both our old house and my brother's house. We lived there for three years while waiting for the reconstruction of our apartment house.
The streets to my brother's house were very familiar to me because they were along my house we rented in those days. I found the same vegetable shop, bakery, and tofu shop as before. Those shops were too crashed by the earthquake, and everybody was struggling for rebuilding life then. The sun was hot, but the wind was cool, and the shadows on the half side of the road were very dark this morning.
My brother looked fine. He became bald once by the chemical treatment, but short hair was growing now. He made it a habit to go for a walk every morning with his wife to strengthen his feet. While staying in the bioclean room he lost the weight, but he had gained four kilograms since the discharge. He said he wanted to go to work in September or October, twice a week, going by taxi, in the beginning. I think it gives meaning of life to him so I have decided to encourage him to work. I gave him a present, a necktie to wear when he will return his workplace. He seemed to be very glad...his wife and Mother do not want him to work because they are so much afraid of the recurrence of the disease. I believe my role is to show him a hope and encourage him to go toward it.