AJW 3/11 quake update:
Survivors search wreckage for mementos of lives, loved ones
The disaster swept everything away--thousands of people, their homes, cars and personal belongings.
But in the sea of mud and wreckage, survivors are desperately searching for reminders of their past lives and loves, hoping for anything to help them through the terrible heartache brought on by the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
Yuka Itami, 17, listlessly pokes the ground with a stick in Shichigahama, a town facing Bay of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture. She is scouring the wasteland for the third-place medal she won at a national "kyudo" Japanese archery tournament.
The senior high school student kept the medal in a drawer of her desk. She would occasionally open the drawer to gaze at the medal, drawing on its strength to refresh her determination to practice hard.
Her daily search began three days after the disaster in the neighborhood where her home stood.
So far, she has found pieces of the desk but not the medal. She says she is worried it might be lost forever once the full cleanup gets under way.
"Workers may ditch the medal if they find it on the street," she says. "If someone finds it I hope they will keep it or report it to town officials."
From a story by AJW