Giant Robot Store and GR2 News

Undetonated WWII bomb found near Sendai Airport runway. The below isn’t the actual bomb, but it has to be something like what they found. The airport is still being repaired from the 3.11 quake and flood. There are probably tons more near all major airports. Yes, bombing runways is the first thing countries do to each other in war. (Businessweek – Bomb)
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 Aya Takada during one of her kids programs

It was just a couple of years ago that filmmaker Shunji Iwai brought his niece, Aya Takada to GR2. When the giant Earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, she was the only person I knew from the Sendai area. When I asked Shunji Iwai about Aya, he said straight faced, “I thought they all died.” Yet days later, he found out they were all fine except the gallery flooded. Then in some time, a Facebook status update said something like, “cleaning up the gallery”. Since then, Birdo Flugas which is located on the first floor of her family’s home is cleaned up and Aya is working hard on her space, projects and public programs. The photos tell the story as well as those are at the bottom of the page.


GR: You run a gallery in Sendai of all places. Can you tell me about your neighborhood? Did it change after 311?

AT: My gallery is located in a small city called Shiogama, near Sendai (about 30 minutes away). Shiogama is a port town. After 3.11, many shops and houses were torn down. Less buildings are around birdo space now. There’s more vacant lots. Compared with the other affected areas, Shiogama was less damaged because the Urato islands were protected the city.

GR: Your gallery was flooded in the tsunami of 311. Can you tell me about that time? Where were you? What you were thinking about? How bad your gallery was affected? (at left is the family home and the gallery at the bottom)

AT: I was working at my gallery “birdo space” at 2:46pm on 3/11, as usual. The quake was crazily big. The gallery shook badly. The racks and shelves fell down one after another, I thought the building itself would collapse at a stretch.

My gallery is located near the Shiogama Port, like about 150m from the port. I heard the tsunami alert soon, saying “3m Tsunami is coming..etc” urging to head for higher ground. I didn’t think it would happen, but then the alert was saying “6m tsunami is coming…” and then “10m tsunami is coming…” Then finally I felt something weird and dangerous. I went to see my family (near the gallery). We decided to run to my brother’s apartment (12th floor). There was about 40-50mins until the tsunami actually arrived in Shiogama. When I arrived my brother’s apartment, I opened the window right away. The tsunami arrived. The road and streets we just passed were flooded.

I was shaking while looking at what was going on, in front of me.

I went to see the gallery next day, the building itself was fine, but the fallen artworks, products, racks and shelves, books, office data, my bike, and cars were all soaked with sludge.



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That’s me hitting the stage for my 2 minutes of Pecha Kucha in the first photo below. I was following soon after the creator of the entire event Hitoshi Abe, so that added a tiny layer of pressure. There was a healthy audience at the JACCC plaza again (Let’s do more events at the other location next time, ok?). Hundreds sitting and standing everywhere. I felt some nerves in my hand as I stood there and spoke. While I was getting going, I eased the nerves in my hand while not missing a beat. That never happens, I wonder why it did that night.


This is sad. She was walking around to promote this event. 28… she told me they can’t find some of her cousins to this date. She also said that Sendai gets no aid at all.


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