David Guttenfelder / AP
Pools of water, where once there was a city street, fill a devastated neighborhood in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture, on May 30.
Nearly three months after a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan’s northeastern coast, survivors are beginning to imagine a better future.
They are reopening family businesses, planting trees and clearing the debris and sludge from devastated homes. They’re also finding ways to heal themselves and their neighbors, and looking for moments of normalcy amid the ruins. The dual disaster left 15,000 dead, 8,500 missing and more than 100,000 homeless.
Msnbc.com reporter Miranda Leitsinger and multimedia producer Jim Seida are traveling to Japan to chronicle the early moments of this ravaged region’s rebirth, and to meet some of the people who are leading the recovery in small ways – a father-son team who have restarted the family’s electrical construction business from the back of a truck, a woman who runs a nonprofit for disabled kids and members of a children’s jazz ensemble.
We’ll initially be focusing on two hard-hit cities, Kesennuma and Minamisanriku, but will roam elsewhere if we hear of compelling stories that are waiting to be told.
We’re also going to experiment in how we share this story by using social media and giving readers three distinct ways to consume it – in near-real-time dispatches on Facebook; in a more conversational and contextual form using a new social media mash-up called Storify; or in condensed form on msnbc.com’s World Blog.
We’d like you to participate by sharing your thoughts and insights on what Miranda and Jim encounter and by telling them what you’d like to know about the survivors, their struggles and their triumphs. We’ve added Facebook commenting to the World Blog to make it easier for those of you who access the report through that portal.
The journey begins on Saturday. Please join us and invite your friends along for the ride.