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(Reuters) - After more than 10 days in makeshift evacuation centres, hundreds of victims of Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami took their first bath since the disaster and a chance to warm up in the winter chill. The baths, one for men and one for women, were set up by soldiers inside a dark green tent in a car park in Kamaishi City in the northeast of Japan which took the brunt of the tremor and tsunami that followed, leaving about 21,000 dead or missing. Hundreds of thousands have been made homeless. "I usually took a quick bath before. But today I sat in the tub for about 15 minutes, thinking about what has happened," said 48-year-old Kaoru Oikawa.
"I lost my parents (because of the quake and the tsunami) and I've just cremated them. I wish I could have taken them here to bathe." Public baths are still a way of life in many parts of Japan. "I just ran away from my house after the quake without grabbing anything. They gave me some fresh underwear but these are the same clothes I was wearing that day," said 95-year-old Keiko Asano, pointing to her shirt. "I can never forget what has happened, but I'm feeling relieved after taking a bath." In icy rain, victims arrived in a group on organised shuttle buses from evacuation centres. Nearly 2,000 people have come to bathe at the Kamaishi facility since they opened the public bath a few days ago. "It was better than any hot spring I have ever gone," said 57-year-old Kazuyuki Honda.
edit on 22-3-2011 by baddmove because: (no reason given)