Outdoor

Fukushima’s outdoor community has pushed their recovery

In 2011, the Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami triggered a devastating explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. It was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Over the past decade, the region and its people have slowly moved from rolling up to rebuilding.

Fukushima, a place where the mountains meet the sea, is home to dozens of ski hills and notable surf breaks. When filmmaker Mattias Evangelista traveled there on assignment last year, the landscape and small towns in the region reminded him of his home in Washington State. But after the explosion, the region was remembered internationally as a disaster site. He thought, what if it was instead known for its outdoor access, deep annual snowfall, world-class surfing, and uncrowded ski areas?

Evangelista’s short film Aizu introduces viewers to Adachi Futa and Hiroki Matsuura, two locals who offer a glimpse into the impact the disaster has had on their lives and the role of snowboarding and surfing in their healing.

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