[ Grinder Artisan ]


“I’ve met a lot of different people and done a lot of things I had never done before.”

My child is the same age as Sue’s youngest son; I got to know Sue because they went to the same kindergarten. I heard about Nozomi through Sue and that’s how I started working here. At Nozomi, I work in the grinding room making pendants. My favorite line is the leather chord necklace Kurumi, named after my daughter. Before this, I was a housewife. Since coming to Nozomi, I’ve met a lot of different people and done a lot of things I had never done before. It’s been so much fun. When I’m making jewelry, I only see the part that I’m making, but before we ship it out to the customers, I get a look at what we made and think, “So that’s how it turned out!” or “That’s so beautiful!” I like to imagine how our customers looked through our catalogs, found one they thought was beautiful, ordered it, and when it arrives, they smile at what we’ve made.


Makiko’s 3/11 Story:

That day, I had some errands to run so I went into town. I was on the third floor of a building when the earthquake happened. The trembling was so strong and I was carrying my baby; I had to hold onto the furniture around me so they wouldn’t fall on us. When I left the building after the tremors ended, I saw roads cracked and walls that had crumbled down. On the way back, I ran into traffic right before a bridge. I had a TV in my car so I turned it on, hoping to get some more information. The news said that a tsunami had arrived in the neighboring town, Onagawa. I figured if there was a tsunami in Onagawa, it would definitely come to Ishinomaki as well. Just as I was thinking about what to do, I remembered that if I did a U-turn I could get onto a pathway up the mountain. So I immediately did a U-turn and got on that road. I went up as far as I could go and arrived at a place near the top with a lookout. From there, I could see the bridge where I was earlier and the tsunami had already engulfed that area. If I had stayed put, we probably would’ve been swallowed by the tsunami. What happened to all the people around me at that time? I think about that sometimes.

I evacuated to a school that was on top of the mountain but someone said it wasn’t safe to be there so that night we left and went to a different school. We were there for about three days. The mountain was completely surrounded by water so we got no supplies of food or water. There was a tofu shop on the mountain and the man who owned the store came by with some tofu, saying, “It’s just some tofu and there’s not much but please break it into fourths and eat it.” Three days later, my husband who was on a business trip in Aomori at that time was able to somehow make it back to pick up me and the baby. We stayed at my in-law’s place for two days and went back to our home. When we got there, my parents were cleaning the place up and that’s where I saw them again. When things settled down, my parents started living with us.