One Minamisanriku couple recently found a silver lining in the Tohoku tsunami disaster. A 42-year-old man living in one of the town's evacuee shelters successfully proposed to a 28 year-old volunteer worker there. The couple, resident Seiki Abe and and volunteer Nozomi Murakami plan to marry in mid-May.
Over 1,000 people died or went missing and nearly 3,300 homes were destroyed in the tsunami that assailed the town. Approximately 8,700 displaced residents are living in area shelters. Abe's home was relatively undamaged, but as a volunteer firefighter, he has been spending his days at a shelter cooking for residents. Murakami, who is a laundry worker, said she was inspired to volunteer because her father did the same following the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995.
The two met when Murakami, who was tasked with ferrying supplies, asked Abe to show her around. After the couple became closer, Abe popped the question on April 16. That same day, Murakami was scheduled to return to her hometown. “I guess this is goodbye,” Seiki told her. They credit those words for changing their fate.
Murakami said she could come back, but Abe felt it would be wrong to confine her to a disaster area. Before the couple knew it, they were on their way to the makeshift town hall to pick up wedding papers. “I promise to protect you. I'll never let you go,” Abe said when he proposed.
The couple said they will hold a wedding ceremony in the evacuee shelter, with other evacuees as witnesses.© Compiled from news reports