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By Chris McLaughlin
BBC Scotland sports news correspondent
For one little town, 500 miles north of Tokyo, this Rugby World Cup’s existence signifies more than a celebration of sport.
Kamaishi is located in the province of Iwate and used to be best known for fishing, its steel industry as well as the 35,000 residents’ fascination with union, as it was home to the bar which dominated Japanese rugby .
This was before March 11, 2011. This was the day the country struck on and triggered a tsunami.
News footage from the time shows cars bobbing through the streets and homes floating about like matchsticks in the rain, in addition to the sight of people to a hillside desperately screaming for their fellow townsfolk to conduct because the sea invaded the streets, crushing everything in its path.
A total of 1,300 people died and the city was devastated. Many survivors took what they could salvage and left, never to return. But people who stayed were determined to reconstruct.
Among the buildings to be washed off was that the neighborhood school. It lay at the very heart of town, both mentally and physically.
Because of some tsunami evacuation process that was well-established, the majority of the students made it to safety, but nothing remained of the construction.
In locals devised a plan that would provide the city and restore some pride – and rugby was at the very heart of it.
Eight decades after , the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium stands on the specific spot where the college was washed off, was built with the support of government investment designed to aid in the recovery of the area.
It will be the tiniest of the World Cup places, but many think it’s going to be the most significant.
“We wanted to build something which would symbolise hope for its near future,” said stadium director Takeshi Nagata.
“It’s not simply rebuilding something physically – it’s all about rebuilding hearts”
That opinion is evidenced when the wave struck by Akiko Iwasaki, who lost her life. She owns a little inn that sits at the sea’s border. When recounting her fatal experience, she smiles.
“There is a sense that’now is your day’,” she recalls. “We had been anticipating it because we’d always been told that a significant earthquake would one day come out our way.
“As I attempted to run to the mountains, I had been caught under the water.
“I looked at the sky and remember thinking it seemed so pretty before I lost consciousness.”
A few of her customers who had made it to security was trapped under a van but pulled clear iwasaki. She needs Kamaishi to be recalled for rugby rather than a time of catastrophe.
“I don’t believe this city and the individuals might have made it through the previous eight years if we did not have the World Cup to focus on,” she said.
Not everybody is in agreement that is complete . Many sailors point towards these forced to reside in home as government investment is ploughed into new roads around the arena and World Cup infrastructure.
Won’t fail to observe that the athletic event will take place, although the stadium will sponsor Fiji v Uruguay and Namibia v Canada.
The tsunami memorial situated just outside Akiko’s inn also functions as warning.
The words etched right to the tall black granite rock read, simply:”Only run! Run uphill! Do not worry about others. Save yourself. And tell the generations a tsunami reached this stage and those who survived were the ones who ran uphill. So run! Run uphill!”
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