Power grid to be fixed following central Japan quake, but water outages continue

Power distribution company officials say the remaining power outages caused by the New Year's Day earthquake in central Japan are expected to be almost completely resolved on Wednesday.

About 2,800 households on the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture still did not have power as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Crews in Wajima City are working to get the grid back up and running. The number of households without power reached a peak of about 40,000 this month.

Fujitani Takahiro of Hokuriku Electric Power Transmission & Distribution Company said, "We would like to cooperate with those involved to restore service, even in areas that are hard to reach due to things like landslides."

For people in the disaster zone, life still isn't back to normal. Widespread water outages make doing laundry difficult.

A volunteer group in Nanao City is chipping in. It has started collecting and washing clothes at an elementary school that's housing evacuees.

The disaster also badly hit Noto's traditional industries. Shinohara Takashi creates traditional pottery known as Suzu ware. An earlier earthquake last May damaged his workshop. Production was due to start up again when this month's quake hit.

Shinohara said, "I won't let the disaster beat me. I've vowed to keep the fire in the kiln burning. I refuse to stop my craft."

Locals are also celebrating the survival of what is considered a masterpiece -- a globe of Wajima-nuri, a type of traditional lacquerware.

It represents Earth floating in space at night. The piece miraculously survived the quake despite widespread damage in the area.

Komori Kunihiro, the head of the Wajima Museum of Urushi Art, said he hopes the work can become a symbol of the area's reconstruction.

As rebuilding continues, authorities say it may take time for transportation services to get back to normal.

The disaster has left 238 people dead and 19 unaccounted for.