10/09/2014

Kadonowaki Junior High Student Council Wins Volunteer Spirit Award for its Efforts on "Spreading Flowerbed through Human Connection Movement"

The 18th Volunteer Spirit Award was granted to the student council of Ishinomaki Municipal Kadonowaki Junior High School.

This award aims at developing the spirit of volunteerism among junior-high-school and high-school students by parsing volunteer activities, promoting exchanges with other students, and letting other students know more about volunteer activities.

The criteria for deciding the winner of the award are contribution to communities, creativity, ability to make a plan and execute it out, leadership, and what was learned and felt. These criteria are examined synthetically.

Kadonowaki Junior High School admits the graduates of Ishinomaki Municipal Kadonowaki Elementary School and Omachi Elementary School. The school districts where the two elementary schools are located were severely hit by the tsunami, and in particular Kadonowaki Elementary School was burn down. The tsunami and following fire have left the whole districts including Minamicho town completely changed, and the town looked like “a deserted city” in the students’ eyes who used to live there. “We hope to make a flowerbed in our inflicted school’s playground and make people happy with flowers of many different colors,” that was what they thought, for many people around the country came to Kadonowaki Elementary School to check on the disaster damage..

【Burned-out building and playground of Kadonowaki Elementary School】
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The teachers of the school consulted with the city board of education to realize the students’ idea, but they were told it was difficult to set up a flowerbed in the school premises because the reconstruction plan of the school had yet to be made. JEN helped “the students in the most affected city, Ishinomaki, take the initiative in cheering communities.” JEN rented a vacant lot a short distance back from the school and removed rubbles, weeds and litters from the lot to prepare soil for flowers.

In November 2012, many local people and volunteers cooperated in making a flowerbed and planting tulip bulbs. A surprising number of flowers imbued with the students’ hope bloomed next spring. In the autumn of 2013, the flowerbed was taken over from the second graders who first came up with the idea to the first graders.

【107 students in the second grade and volunteers who helped the students】
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【In May 2013 flowers bloomed in all their beauty.】
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The Volunteer Spirit Award was to reward the students for their efforts to revitalize communities. No doubt Ishinomaki’s future leaders who bear its reconstructions are growing. JEN continues grooming future leaders.


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October 9, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/02/2014

Volunteer Work Turns into a New Style: 12th “Let’s go to the sea!”

On Monday the 8th and Tuesday 9th of September, “Let’s got to the sea!” was held at Ishinomaki, Miyagi.

The event for the twelfth time was carried out featuring assistance in purifying a festival site and helping organize it, a tour to temporary quarter sites, and fishing experiences at Kyubunnhama. There had been worries whether the event could attract participants for it was timed on weekdays to coincide with the festival, but a total of twenty-one students who were still on summer vacation came to join the event from Aomori in the north from Hiroshima in the south.

Here is a run-down of what the lads who will shape this nation’s future saw and felt through experiences in this event.

“This event help me get more understanding of the present situation in disaster areas; hearing about local's actual experiences straight from their own mouth, being allowed to see the insight of their makeshift quarters, I was deeply shocked; this volunteer activities hit home.”

【The participants toured makeshift quarters.】
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“I learned livening up local events can be an assistance; I think there is so much we can do, I’ll tell my friends what I experienced here so that many people may pay more attention to Tohoku.”

【The participants join a traditional local festival.】
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Coming and seeing Tohoku brought me a lot of discoveries; such as bringing smiles to locals’ faces can make a difference, the importance of doing so, the importance of appreciating those who grow and harvest each food; instead of giving volunteer assistance, I could have an opportunity to learn life lessons.”

【The participants are experiencing fishing.】
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Wrapping up the two-day event, they went home with lessons they could learn all the more because they came to affected areas.

【I’ll come again!】
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Next event will be held in December when oysters are in season. We are looking forward to those who haven’t participated in this event.

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October 2, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

09/25/2014

Let’s Create Dream Playground!

JEN held a workshop on “Let’s Create Dream Playground!” in cooperation with UNIQLO Dream Wall project on August 24 and September 7.

JEN organized the workshop to seek ideas from children and locals so that it might incorporate the ideas into a plan to realize a playground where children can’t wait to go playing and get excited just by going, “Dream Playground”, on the ground of the Kamikama Fureai Square in the west of Ishinomaki city.

A total of about 100 people including the area’s children attended the workshop, creating a lively atmosphere.

【Participants of the first workshop】
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【Participants checked on what the situation of the square is like.】
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On August 24, some 50 children got together at the workshop place in the gymnasium of Kama Municipal Elementary School in Ishinomaki city.

First, all of the participants walked to the square, and observed how large it is, where it is, and what its surroundings are. Mr. Ryo Yamazaki, a community designer, served as the overall facilitator for the workshop. Serving as team facilitators, local high school students took active roles as the children’s helpful big brothers and sisters.

After returning from the square, they acted out on what they think want to do to play.

【They acted out their ideas.】
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【They made idea cards using polaroid.】
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Each team integrated cards to put them on a vellum paper, that being the end of the first workshop.

In the second workshop, the participants, on the basis of the ideas created during the first workshop, did a brainstorming about how to play, where to set up playground equipment and what color best suit the equipment, with the help of a replica of the playground.

【The children got excited about workshop using a replica!】
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Under the theme of “What do you do, if you play in this playground all day?”, each team determined the layout of the playground, color of the equipment, and how to play with the equipment, putting them together into a plan. Then each team presented its plan in front of other teams. Architect Mr. Masayoshi Takeuchi will integrate those plans to wrap up an architectural plan, which will take a concrete shape next spring.

【Each team gave a presentation on its plan!】
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JEN is committed to continuing its activities to create an environment where children really want to play along with locals so that they may be able to realize a town where they can live an easier life and hope to live for a long time for themselves.

The workshop on August 24 appeared in the Kahoku Shinpou online news, the other on September 7 appeared in the ASAHI Shinbun digital. Please check them.

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September 25, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

09/11/2014

Parent-and-child Hometown-rediscovery Class’s 3rd Outdoor Experiences: Swimming, Camping

On August 20-21, the 3rd “Parent-and-child Hometown-rediscovery Class” was held, which took one night and two days.

JEN is hosting “Parent-and-child Hometown-rediscovery Class”, an out-of-door school for parents and their children in Ishinomaki, with the support of Ishinomaki city, the Ishinomaki City Board of Education and the Ishinomaki Nichinichi shinbun newspaper so that it may provide them an opportunity both to learn the history and appeal of their home town and to deepen the bond between them.

The latest class featured swimming and camping at Ajishima Island, a remote island off the coast of Ishonomaki. Shirahama bathing beach located to the west of the island has a shoal that blazes like emeradls and boasts one of the clearest water in Tohoku region. It was hard hit by the tsunami generated by the great earthquake, but was managed to reopen last summer thanks to islanders and volunteers from across the country.

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The weather hadn’t look promising at first, but the sky cleared up when they landed Ajishima Island, the day becoming the perfect day for swimming. Some of the children had hated going to the sea after the disaster, but the sight of the sea before them caused them to jump into the sea with not much time being wasted on warm-ups.

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Children called for extending hours allotted them for swimming.

It’s “Shima-no-gatsuko (our Island’s Kursaal)”, an accommodation facility opened in 2020, that the parents and children used this time. It was remodeled from Amicho junior high school closed in 2000 with the aim of promoting children’s sound growth by providing them with a joint retreat in Ajishima blessed with a good natural environment.

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The elementary rule of this facility is “Take Care of Yourself by Yourself in Group Living”, and so according to this rule the children determined the roles to be shared by them, prepared dinner and cleaned up after dinner by themselves. Then they enjoyed a firework display that they had been looking forward to, with it finishing the day. They seemed to have fallen asleep quickly perhaps because of tiredness from swimming.

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When JEN asked the parents about their motives for joining the class, the following answers came back: “to make up for the decrease in opportunities to play after the disaster”; “my child said he wanted to.”
When asked about “what changes in their children’s behavior they can see”, they made many positive remarks such as, “my child started to show aggressiveness”, “mental damage suffered from the disaster got to be eased” and so on.

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The next morning also the children prepared breakfast and cleared up. Compared with the first day, an improvement in children’s independence was evident and so the parents as well as JEN staff members could see the significance in having this event. At the end of the class, everyone joining in the class cleaned up Shirahama bathing beach.

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JEN is committed to continuing “Parent-and-child Hometown-rediscovery Class” as part of its efforts to provide an environment where children who will drive Ishinomaki’s rebuilding can grow vigorously.

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September 11, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

09/04/2014

JEN’s 20th Foundation Anniversary Posters

This year marks the 20th anniversary of JEN’s foundation and so a variety of programs are ongoing. As part of the programs, two different posters, “Arigato(I appreciate your help)!” and “Wash Your Hands!”, were put up in JEN’s offices in Ishinomaki like in seven countries abroad where JEN is working.

In 2011, following the occurrence of the great earthquake, you could watch TV stations broadcast commercials to raise public awareness and encourage a sense of unity by Japan Advertising Council, and also the word “Arigato (I appreciate your help)!” was heard to be exchanged many times in daily life. That corresponds with Ishinomaki staff member’s comment like “the word ‘Arigato’ reminds me of the great earthquake.” I remembered rediscovering that it’s essential to say aloud the Arigato in order to convey your appreciation to others while hearing the word repeatedly at that time.

We Japanese live in such an environment where we can use clean, safe water as much as we like that we say “Wash Your Hands!” without being aware of our water blessed environment. However, when the great earthquake broke out, the biggest problem we faced was the lack of access to water. In Japan, now that the environment in which we can wash our hands anywhere and anytime is nothing special, we usually haven’t felt the worth of water. In fact we are apt to forget that this environment we consider natural is not the case abroad. But looking at this poster was a good opportunity for us to reflect on the fact that many people in the countries where JEN’s staff members are working don’t have access to safe, clean water.

【JEN’s staff members before a poster put on the wall of Ishinomaki office】
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While thinking of fellow JEN members working abroad, members of Ishinomaki office can reach the same thoughts with them. We are committed to forging ahead with its mission to realize a warless and dispute less world and a society where everybody can independently live in happiness.

【Click here to know more about JEN 20th Anniversary innitiative】

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September 4, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/28/2014

Goodbye, Watanohausu (Watanoha lodging)

It has been decided that Watanohausu (a pun linking Watanoha and hausu which is Japanese pronunciation of house: Watanoha lodging) will close at the end of August after providing volunteers with a floor to sleep for more than three years. This, JEN making practical use of an old folk house in Watanoha district situated on the halfway point between central Ishinomaki and the Oshika peninsula, has been accommodations secured for people coming to Ishinomaki to take part in assistance activities.

【A recent picture of Watanohausu】
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JEN has accepted a total of 13,200 volunteers and worked together with them on from removing rubbles and sludge to assisting fishing industry so that affected people might live independently. Many of the volunteers quartered in Watanohausu because it was difficult to find anywhere to stay right after the disaster.
Among them were a repeat guest who lodged over twenty times and also a long-stay guest who stayed for over thirty days. During the busy day, more than thirty volunteers brought their own sleeping bags and slept in Watanohausu.

【Volunteers taking a group photo by Watanohausu】
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The lodging was in a terrible state before---the lodging didn’t have a bathing facilities until a shower facility was installed in January 2013, if you had vacuum cleaner and other appliances on at the same time you would threw the breaker instantly---. but it has been a place for volunteers to meet other volunteers, warm their cold bodies together over a nabe (Japanese style hot pot) after finishing their volunteer work for the day, hit it off and start up friendship and so on.
The lodging has a common book on which guests have left many messages. Among those messages are one that expresses not only sympathies for disaster-stricken Ishinomaki but concern for JEN staff members, which messages made my eyes watery before I realize it

【A memorial photo of volunteers from many countries and regions at living room】
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【500-to-600-year-old zelkova tree by Watanohausu】
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Although Watanohausu is torn down, it will remain in the volunteers’ minds as their volunteer activities and interaction with locals do.

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August 28, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/21/2014

Volunteer Work Turns into a New Style: 10th “Let’s go to the sea!”

On July 19-20, “Let’s go to the sea!” took place in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. The tenth of the event featured hands-on experiences in fishing at Yagawahama on the Oshika peninsula and joining in a festival at Oharahama. Participants came from Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and as far as Italy.

This time, the local staff of the event have their comments.

●Yagawahama’s event staff who hosted hands-on fishing experiences
“During the exchange party over dinner I was able to hold a deep and serious discussion with the participants on how to let people across the country know that Yagawahama is farming ascidian, having a rewarding time; please do come again.”

【Exchange Party over dinner】
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●Oharahama’s event staff who hosted hands-on festival experiences
“Many people have left Oharaham after the disaster and that made us hard to hold our festival by ourselves; but thanks to people across the country including the participants of “Let’s go to the sea!” we were able to hold it; we’ll do our best so that people who once join our festival may find reasons to come to join the next year’s festival; here we have something missing in urban areas; Please come to visit the Oshika peninsula.”

【Mikoshi parade in Oharahama festival】
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●A minshuku(guest house) staff
“I understand the program, ‘Let’s go to the sea!’, aims at letting its participants feel our attachment to our home town by mixing with locals in the Oshika peninsula; what is good about the program is both participants and locals become connected to each other; we are elaborating many services like never before, so please participate in our events and enjoy mixing with fishermen.”

【A commemorative photo before minshuku (guest house) Meguro】
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After reading the comments of local event staff members, how do you feel?
I believe you have found that they are filled with deep love for their home town and the Oshika peninsula.
While the Oshika peninsula is still on the road to recovery from the disaster, locals are doing their best toward recovery. Why don’t you come to visit the Oshika peninsula to help boost its recovery?

【They joined a family of “Let’s go to the sea!”】
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“Let’s go to the sea!”, a series of tour events, was launched in the end of 2012 to respond to locals’ aspirations: “We’d like to say a big thankyou to those people who helped us and stay connected with as many people as possible.”

Future Plans:
○The thirteenth event;
- Saturday December 6 and following Sunday
- Experience in shelling oysters at Higashihama (Details are decided later)

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August 21, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/14/2014

River Festival in Ishinomaki Takes Place

The 91th Ishinomaki River Festival took place, 172,000 people (according to its organizer) being attracted.

On Saturday the 31st of July, a memorial service was held to repay Mr. Magobei Kawamura for forming the basis of Ishinomaki’s prosperity, leading off the two-day festival.
Done in the daytime of the festival were Magobei-boat rowing match, the festival’s dedicatory tug-of-war competition, mikoshi (portable shrine) parade and so on. After the sun had gone down, some 5,000 lanterns were floated down the Kitakami River while there was the sound of monks reciting sutras; with the surface of the river reflecting the fantastic lights of the lanterns, many were watching them floating one by one while thinking about those victimized by the disaster.

【Lanterns on the surface of the Old Kitakammi River.】
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The climax came on Friday the first of August. On water was held Magobei-boat rowing match which has made a comeback from the disaster with a support for rebuilding disaster-stricken boats. Heated races were unfolded. On land was held a parade by a firefighter marching band, a band affiliated with the Association for Ishinomaki District Administrative Affairs, which was resumed for the first time after the disaster. Many citizens cheered as it passed. JEN donated musical instruments to the firefighter marching band in March, 2012, in collaboration with Hope for Japan, a project developed by Mudef aiming at helping Tohoku areas in their recovery effort. Using the instruments, the band, attended by new members, performed two pieces of music Marines and Backdraft that it had been practicing for three months to heighten momentum toward Tohoku regions’ recovery.

【The parade of a firefighter marching band.】
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A much-awaited fireworks display was held in the evening; as many as 5,000 colorful fireworks lighted up Tohoku’s short summer night and were mirrored on the surface of the river like blooming flowers.

【Fireworks set off from Nakanose Park】
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Disaster victims in Ishinomaki will begin to settle in public disaster restoration housing from this fall in earnest. There are people who can’t live with a positive attitude yet. JEN will continue helping those people live an independent life.

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August 14, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/07/2014

Parent-and-child Hometown-rediscovery Class Starts

It is “Parent-and-child Hometown-rediscovery Class” that aims at providing parents and their children with an opportunity to feel refreshed in body and spirit beyond their daily routine through learning their hometown, Ishinomaki, in either indoor or outdoor classroom. Following last year’s classes, this year’s classes are for fourth through sixth graders at elementary schools in Ishinomaki and their parents. A series of six classes are scheduled to be given in the June-December period, and are going to be improved so that they may become rich and rewarding opportunities to learn and experience various futures of hometown Ishinomaki.

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On June 28, based on the theme of “Mt. Makiyama hiking trip and photo class”, the first class was held for twelve families of twenty nine parents and their children. First offered was a photography class in a parking lot at the foot of Mt. Makiyama. Every children being handed out an instant camera, they learned the basics of photography from how to advance and rewind films to how to take photos. Although instant cameras are familiar to parent’s generation, most of the children have never seen them before and so they showed a strained look on their faces at first. When they were encouraged to take the pictures of their parents first, however, the children seemed to relax a little after they began shooting, the class being full of smiling faces and lively conversations at last.

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On the natural trail up to Hitsujisaki shrine sitting on the top of Mt. Makiyama, Mr. Seiji Henmi, a native historian who accompanied them, told them “From what time human began living in Ishinomaki”, “a legend about Maki clan that gave Makiyama its name”, and so on. They were amazed by his explanation that humans in early times were living in mountain areas because sea level was 5-6 meters higher than it is now when humans began living in Ishinomaki. Finding insects and plants that they usually don’t see, they enjoyed talking with each other and they had a look of real pleasure without even noticing.

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The natural trail leading to an athletic facility, the children dashed to it with not much time being wasted on lunch. The parents seemed to get refreshed, above all else, by seeing their children joyfully playing.

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JEN will hold classes on fishing, camping on a remote island, cooking, and so on down the road. JEN is committed to working on providing those parents and their children in disaster-stricken areas who are facing many challenges with rewarding time in which they can deepen their bonds while rediscovering their hometown Ishinomaki.

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August 7, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/24/2014

5th "Handicrafts market, Hands-on exhibit in Ishinomaki" Takes Place!

On July 12, the fifth "Handicraft market, Hands-on exhibit in Ishinomaki: Making Handcrafting into Jobs", an event aimed at giving a leg up to women who do handicrafts in Ishinomaki, was held at the central office of Japan Agricultural Cooperatives in Ishinomaki, Nakazato Agricultural Cooperative Hall (the fourth on February 8, the third on December 14; for more information on the third event is available here).

The event has become so popular that it marked its fifth kickoff on the day, attracting a lot of visitors from immediately after its kickoff.

Marking its fifth kickoff on the day, the event has become completely popular. The day’s event was crowded with a lot of visitors immediately after its opening.

【The event site was filled with many visitors.♪】
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“I like the warmth of handmade goods.”
“Each time, I’m excited about this event.”
“My hobby is making goods by hand, so this event is a fine excitement.”
“I want to have my own store someday.”
“Carefully guided by event staff members, I enjoyed the experience of making goods.”
The visitors seemed to have enjoyed the event in their own way.

【Communicating with visitors is important.♪】
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【The hands-on experience of weaving was popular.♪】
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The event’s participants and JEN staff members have a monthly meeting. In the latest meeting, many ideas were given by the participants; how to reflect them to the event were discussed such as deciding on making “summer festival” the event’s central theme, on what physical arrangement of the event site to be created, on how to hold a lottery and so on.

The participants also had actively worked on making a public announcement about the event such as handing out leaflets.

【They talked seriously about the event at the meeting.】
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In doing so, JEN is aiming to build up a cooperative system among the participants and for the participants to continue the event voluntarily.


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July 24, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/10/2014

Volunteer Work Turns into a New Style: “Let’s go to the sea!”

Following the 3/11 disaster, many people from across the country, including personnel and volunteers, have visited seaside communities in the Oshika peninsula to help with disaster-relief work. Locals in the communities have had aspiration: “We’d like to say a big thankyou to those people who helped us and stay connected with as many people as possible.” That led JEN to launch a new program in the end of 2012 named “Let’s go to the sea!”, a series of tour events. The program is aimed at encouraging the locals to “rebuild their communities for the future” by providing them an exchange environment with people from outside. The committee composed of the locals are hosting the program, JEN helping them organize it.
The program provides you an opportunity where you can not only enjoy the Oshika peninsula’s attraction to fullest, including fishing, the cycle of the seasons, but have a nice long talk about community recovery.

【The participants posed together for a group photo after experiencing fisheries.】
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This time we will introduce to you the people who joined in the eights “Let’s go to the sea!” held in July. They came from Tokyo, Chiba, as well as from as far afield as Kobe and Hokkaido. During the wo-day trip they had an opportunity to interact with locals in the Oshika peninsula, the interaction developing into spontaneous exchanges among themselves. Listening to the locals talk about their actual experiences during the disaster, seeing the locals coping positively with recovery, they were able to learn realities on the ground that media outlets don’t report. Finally, the participants and the locals were seen to pledge a reunion at the next “Let’s go to the sea!”

The Participants were heard to say:

・“I’ve been wondering whether to volunteer in the quake-hit areas in Tohoku; I decided to participate in the program, ‘Let’s go to the sea!’, because it’s an experienced-based program and so I thought I might be able to enjoy myself by joining it.”
・”I was able to hear the situation in Tohoku on the ground after the disaster; I’ve read it in the media but found that the actual experience was totally different.”
・”This event’s biggest appeal is that you can interact with the locals; they are genuinely kindhearted, warm and so I came to like Oshika very much.”
・”Unique to this program is that you can volunteer to participate in festivals; and also impressive thing about this program is that they work together to organize the festival, displaying smile.”
All told, it seems that they became aware of and learned many things during the program.

【They had an experience of carrying mikoshi.】
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【A commemorative photo after exchange party.】
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Next program is held at a remote island, Ajishima, on July 12-13. Come to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery of the island and gorgeous blue sea.
Participate in “Let’s go to the sea!”, a new style of recovery assistance that replaces volunteer work, and experience what the Oshika peninsula of today is like three years after the disaster.

【They experienced hauling fixed nets.】
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Future Plans:

The eleventh event;
- Saturday August 9 and following Sunday
- Beach and site cleanup, fishing experience and sea bathing

○The twelfth event;
- Tuesday September 9
- Experience in carrying mikoshi and joining naorai (feast) in traditional festival at Oginohama

====For donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

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For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

【Click here to know more about JEN 20th Anniversary innitiative】

July 10, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

06/19/2014

JEN Coordinates Induction Course at Minamisanriku

RICHO’s new employees were trained at the town of Minamisannrikucho. This year makes the third year since the training program began, which has become familiar among people in the town.

A total of 223 trainees participated in the program this year, of which 113 participated in the first leg of the program held in April and 110 in May respectively. The trainees were divided into groups according to an area assignment to nine hama [fishing community] and each group engaged in fishing support activities for four consecutive days at the same hama such as shipping mekabu [holdfasts of seaweed], making anchors of farming rafts and so on.

【RICHO’s new employees engaged in plucking mekabu from seaweed.】
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【After returning to their hotel, they review the day’s activities and redefine their goals.】
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The trainees’ earnest attitude toward whatever they do have moved the people in the communities to wait for them to come every year. The program provides not only the communities with contributions in human resources but both the communities and the trainees with a priceless opportunity to learn from one another.

On the final day of the activities in May, the Shizugawa branch of Miyagi Prefecture Fishery Cooperative awarded RICHO a letter of appreciation for its three-year-long fishery support activities. Mr. Sasaki, the chair of the Shizugawa branch, said “Thanks to your assistance, Minamisanrikucho’s fishery is moving gradually toward recovery: We’ll keep on working until our recovery is accomplished.”

【The trainees participated in April said goodbye reluctantly to fishermen:Moto-hama, Omori-hama】
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【The trainees were hard at work, producing as many as 2,300 sandbags in four days: Mitobe-hama】
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【The trainees took a picture with Arashima Island in Minamisannrikucho in the background.】
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It’s getting harder for the trainees who visit “quake-and-tsunami-hit areas” for the first time to understand the areas’ true faces because debris has been completely removed and they can see nothing to prove that they are in the areas but huge earthworks. Working on site together with locals, listening to storytellers, getting a smell of the salt, and hearing the sound of the wind, they were able to gain a great opportunity to see today’s Tohoku by themselves. That must have provided the trainees a learning environment and make a formative effect on their life in the future as members of society.

Even after the training, JEN wishes them to continue thinking of the future of the quake-and-tsunami-hit areas and feeling sympathy for people confronted with difficult situations in the world.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓
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【Click here to know more about JEN 20th Anniversary innitiative】

June 19, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

04/17/2014

“Flower Garden” Moved to Kadonowaki Elementary School’s Front

On March 29-30, JEN worked on moving a flower garden as part of “Flower Garden Movement“ project started with the wish of Kadonowaki Junior High School students the year before.

【Many students volunteered to help, despite their spring vacation.】
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In good weather, the moving work was lucky enough to mobilize large group of people including 50 students, 43 volunteers and parents and their children who are members of a local sports club.

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Some 800 viola seedlings were drug out and put into a plastic bag one by one, and then carried to Kadonowaki Elementary School in many batches, their new habitat.

【Tulip bulbs and a big signboard were also carried.】
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Kadonowaki town starts a land preparation for new town and its redemarcation project from fiscal year 2014. The project is supposed to begin in earnest after consecutive holidays in May and the site of the flower garden is also subject to it; therefore the moving has taken place. On the second day, participants totaled 40, students and volunteers, despite the rain, completing the moving. Thanks to the efforts of many people, the moving has been done successfully.

【The transplanted flowers looked as if they have been there for years.】
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【Seedlings are firmly rooted, thanks to the rain.】
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Ms. Seika Sakurai, a first-year student in Kadonowaki Junior High School, told us her feelings of her volunteer work saying “It was a lot of fun!; the project started when my sister was my age, so I hope we can continue it as a good tradition.”

Long winter has gone and you can feel the coming of spring in Ishinomaki. The flowers will be at their best soon. We will let you know on Facebook or Twitter as soon as they come out and so we invite you to join us.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………
【Let’s Go to Sea! Participants Now Recruited!】

“The 7th let’s go to sea!” takes place on May 4-5.
Viewing, getting taste of and experiencing the Oshika peninsula, let’s make its seaside communities exciting together.

Two-day experience tour in the Oshika peninsula, Miyagi Pref., where you can enjoy fresh marine foods, experience fishing and joining in local festivals while having good time with locals.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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April 17, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake | | TrackBack (1)

04/03/2014

Now That Community House Restored, Community Now Stands by itself

On March 23, a concert was held to celebrate the completion of restoration work on Koganehama Community House. Singer Yuki Katsuragi sang live, 130 locals turning up. Singer Okunn, a member of gospel group RAG FAIR, also made a surprise appearance, together with locals congratulating the community on having started its first step toward recovery.
【Celebrating the completion of restoration work on Community House, many people assembled.】
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Situated at Watanoha district, the northern part of Ishinomaki city, Koganehama Community House which used to be a regional necessity of providing a place for meeting, voting and summer festival was heavily damaged by the Tohoku earthquake. JEN, as part of its community support program, had been assisting the locals in restoring their community house along with many volunteers and support groups since July 2011.
JEN helped the locals set up a workshop for establishing an operation system on how to keep a new community house, while helping restore its interior and restroom in March, 2012. For JEN’s community support in 2012, click here.
Five officials chosen from five administrative regions are now in charge of the community house’s management. They successfully worked on the local authorities to fund additional repairs this go-round on a car park, wall coating and gutters. They also played a central role in planning and organizing the concert to celebrate the completion of restoration work, JEN’s staff members accepting their invitation to be their guests for the concert.
One of the officials, Mr. Takahiro Nagai, talked about his thoughts on need for independence saying “We couldn’t have come this far without support from many people; we will work toward developing our independence in the days ahead.”
Completing the repair work to Watanoha Elementary School within Koganehama’s school district, Koganehama area will have children commute to it from April. The area now can see a sign of bustle of the movement for its inhabitants to rebuild homes. Still the area’s population remain only about half of pre-quake level and many of its former inhabitants are ambivalent about whether to return to Watanoha. So JEN is committed to continuing necessary support while maintaining a dialogue with communities.
【Clean-repaired Koganehama Community House by locals】
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April 3, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/28/2014

Ishinomaki’s Elementary Schools Supplied with Play Equipment.

JEN donated new playground equipment to elementary schools in the city of Ishinomaki, whose equipment had remained unplayable due to the disaster.
Presentation ceremonies were held at Kama Elementary School on March 12 and at Okaido Elementary School on March 17.
【Children played with newly installed equipment.】
<Kama Elementary School>
 
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<Okaido Elementary School>
 
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Representing all of the children in Okaido Elementary School, a second grader, Miss Yuri Sato, cheerfully expressed her appreciation saying “We love playing around in our playground; we’ve been feeling unhappy because we can’t play with equipment; thank you so much for presenting us teeters and swings; we’ll use them carefully.”
【A picture of the presentation ceremony at Okaido Elementary School.】
 
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For a video on You Tube showing the presentation ceremony and children playing with playground equipment, click here.
Provision of parks and sandlots for temporary quarter sites desperately reduced children’s play areas, and so elementary schools’ playgrounds with playing equipment are something that provide rare places for children to play. But the playground equipment damaged by the tsunami got rusty due to salt erosion, and that has restricted children in elementary schools and junior high schools in Ishinomaki from playing with their playground equipment.
In consultation with the Ishinomaki city board of education, JEN presented four schools playground equipment this time. New playground equipment will have been installed at Teizann Elementary Schhol, Kaduma Elementary Schools as well as Kama Elementary School and Okaido Elementary School by the end of April.
With an eye toward restoring communities and creating an environment where children can have an easier life, JEN is committed its continued supportive efforts in cooperation with local communities and schools. We hope you continue supporting JEN’s efforts.
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March 28, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/13/2014

Three years after 3/11

On March 11, 2014, a chilly day with high winds and occasional snowstorm just like three years ago, as this year marks the third year since the Tohoku disaster, memorial ceremonies were held at several locations in the city of Ishinomaki. Kadonowaki-town’s “Maneki Community”, a residents' association set up after the disaster, staged a lantern vigil.

【Lanterns and an alter were set up.】
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Made victims were 130 people who had lived in 2-4 chome, Kadonowaki town where “Maneki Commuinity” was organized.
Almost all of the houses in the town were swept away by the tsunami, and that led the local authorities to do land plotting again in order to develop a new town; currently twenty-three households remain in the town waiting for the plotting to be over.
It was some eighty people including not only those living in the town but also those taking shelter in other places who came to join the ceremony on that day. They prayed for those who died, the ceremony providing a good opportunity for them to meet and hear from their old friends and neighbors after a long time.

【Those who attended the ceremony gave prayers to over 400 fatalities including those from adjacent Minamihama town.】
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【Remembering former neighbors, they were filling in their neighbors’ names on a handmade map.】
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【Lighted lanterns popped up in the darkness.】
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The design for lanterns was created by Mr. Toyokazu Abe who lives in the town. He says that the lanterns represent the combination of a cirque, a jewelry Buddha wears, and soul in the shape of heart.

【Lantern vigil was also held in the neighboring Minamihama town, many people visiting the site.】
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JEN’s activity has now entered its fourth year. Keeping close to victims, JEN is committed to working on many assistance projects. We hope you continue supporting JEN’s efforts.

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March 13, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/06/2014

Alumni and Locals Gather to Reminisce about Their Closing Elementary School

Almost 4,000 lives including missing persons were lost in the city of Ishinomaki where the Tohoku Earthquake inflicted maximal damage.
The Ishinomaki City Second Minato Elementary School is scheduled to be closed down at the end of this month, and with this, a "reunion to share its memories" was held at Kaihoku Elementary School on March 2 where it has been temporary giving classes.
Some 400 alumni gathered and looked backed on the days they spent in the school, regretting the ending of the school's history,

Ripped through by the tsunami, the school established in 1954 has been getting by for three years on giving classes in temporary school quarters or other school's classrooms.
It has been finally decided that the school ends its 60-year-long history this spring, integrated with Minato Elementary School.

【Fife-and-drum band members performed their school song before those gathered.】
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【Alumni and locals gathered in the gymnasium of Kaihoku Elementary School.】
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During the gathering, the school's old days were displayed using a slideshow, and then ninety-three current students introduced its history and what it was like when the disaster struck it. At the end of the gathering, the students recited their pledge saying "We will hand down the lessons of the disaster to the next generation, and we will grow up to be adults who can support many people."

【Here is a picture of the students' presentation.】
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Alumni, successive PTA associates and school principals sent a shout-out to the current students, and then everyone attending the gathering sang the school song.
The first verse of the school song goes:
"Here you can see the ocean spreading out, sparkling wave breaking;
You can hear salty blasts rustling pine groves;
Make your own ways in life hand-in-hand with your friends,
with your shoulders throwing back, with carefree footsteps;
Your are green shoots of our homeland Minato besides the green ocean;
You can hear the ocean, the Pacific is calling you."

The word "Blue Ocean" came up when the current students gave presentation on "what we are proud of our homeland Minato." The ocean has engulfed so many things, yet this doesn't mean children came to hate the ocean.

【All participants sang their school song.】
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JEN is committed to helping Minato's young shoots grow up healthy in spite of the odds and be able to lead the rehabilitation of their home land Minato which has suffered heavy losses and is still under difficult conditions.

====
 Volunteers supporting schools now being recruited ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓
For more details, click here!

If you have any questions, please contact JEN Tohoku office at 0225-25-5611

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

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Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

March 6, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

02/20/2014

Help Wanted: Volunteers to Help Children Move away from Temporary School Building

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Tsunami-hit elementary and junior high schools in the coastal areas of Ishinomaki city are now under restoration work and so children have had a school life in temporary school buildings or classrooms offered by other schools. With the completion of the restoration work, four of nine those schools are scheduled to start giving classes in new school buildings from April 2014.

The relocation of the schools is going to be carried out by teachers and locals, but it would be a heavy workload--- so much so that it's likely to be beyond their power. JEN has been working on improving school environment since 2012, and so JEN recruits volunteers to help the teachers and locals with the relocation.

Recruitment Information:
1. Volunteer Job;
- Helping transport school equipments including student desks
- Cleaning up temporary school buildings

2. Time and Location;
*Saturday 15th March between 9:30-13:30 at Minato Junior High School - Ten volunteers are wanted.
*Saturday 22nd March between 8:40-15:30 at Minato Elementary School - Ten volunteers are wanted.
*Tuesday 25th March - Enrollment is already full.
*Wednesday 26th March - Enrollment is already full.

3. Where and how to meet;
- If you come by public transportation, please meet up in front of JEN Ishinomaki office† forty minutes before the day's work begins as JEN staff members take you to the scene.

- If you come by your car, you can go straight to the scene but please be sure 140220_8 (remember) to make an application through email or fax before.

†One minute walk from Ishinomaki station; SASADEN Building 201, Zeniaraiba 3-13, Ishinomaki-city

4. What to bring;
-Clothes that you won't bother getting dirty
-Non-slip cotton work gloves
-Indoor shoes
-Lunch
-Drinks

5. Conditions for participation;
- Participants are to come to Ishinomaki station or the scene by yourself.
- Participants are to prepare work clothing, necessary tools, lunch.
- Participants are to be covered by volunteer insurance(Please buy an insurance plan against natural disaster at your nearest Japan National Council of Social Welfare in advance; it is valid for one year from April 1 to March 31).
- Participants are to agree to sign a letter of awareness (memorandum of understanding on the participation.)
- Participants are to be over the age of 15. For the participation of minors (over 6 and under 15), their parents need to accompany them and sign a letter of awareness.

6. Application;
- Download and fill in application form→「20140129.doc」をダウンロード ,
e-mail to
volunteer@jen-npo.org or fax it. to 0225-25-5612
- Registration deadline is Thursday March 6, 2012 at 18:00.
- Application may be closed once its number reaches the limit, so please complete application as quickly as possible.

7. Number of participants;
- 10 participants every day but there is no limit to participants coming by their own cars.
- If you consider joining volunteer work in a group with over ten people, please contact us.

8. Inquiries;
- A department in charge is JEN Tohoku Division Reconstruction.
- Please contact Kondo at phone number 02225-25-5611 between 9:00-18:00 weekdays.
- On the day of volunteer work, contact Kondo at 080-3578-4234 or Ito at 080-1805-2968.

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Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

February 20, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

02/13/2014

The Oshika Peninsula Vitalization Project: "Come to Join Fishing Event" to Start

Since the Thohoku Great Earthquake broke out, JEN has worked on a variety of projects set in the Oshika peninsula ranging from sending volunteers to helping individuals make a living, local communities restore vitality and temporary housing society keep alive.
With these project as a base, locals has taken the initiative in starting "Come to Join Fishing Event" project that aims at addressing the problems bothering their fishery villages in the Oshika peninsula and revitalizing those slumping villages.

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There are nearly thirty fishery villages on the Oshika peninsula, each of which is called whatever -"hama". Each hama has its distinctive culture, way of life and charm. Locals and outside support organizations are promoting many projects aimed at addressing challenges facing each hama to revitalize its community, and so you can see changes taking place in each hama. JEN considers it critical helping create a sustainable environment where each community can work in union towards resolving their problems there.

It's been two years since "Come to Join Fishing Event" was launched.
The locals together have worked on improving the event which creates the flow of people from outside by promoting the Oshika peninsula's attractions.

Receiving a request saying that "Our hama would like to hold such event too!", JEN has decided to expand its activities in many other hama. We are waiting for your coming the Oshika peninsula where you can experience its lots of attractions and savor tradition, culture and marine products. Everyone in each hama is anxiously waiting for your coming.

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In March, following two programs are scheduled to take place. So, why not take this opportunity to reach the magic in the Oshika peninsula and have a chance to talk with the locals about the future of the region.

1. March 8-9, the Fifth Fishing Experience "Come to Join Fishing Event!": You can please your taste buds as many as five times!; You can enjoy in-season ingredients of spring with your five senses!
It is a two-day program that provides you with an opportunity to enjoy spring foods of hama---scallops, ascidia, wakame, holdfasts and oysters---at Higashi-hama and Yagawa-hama. You also can have an opportunity to exchange with the locals at a guest house "Stago-so" at Obuchi-hama.

2. March 12, "Participants to Experience Historic Shrine Festival at Kitsunezaki-hama"
You can have an opportunity to participate in carrying mikoshi, portable shrine, during Kitsunezaki-hama Fox Deity Shrine Festival which has a history of more than 400 years and takes place annually on the day of hatsuum, traditional day for worship at fox deity shrines. After making preparations in the morning, people parade along street holding mikoshi on their shoulders. At the end of the festival, naorai(feast) will develop more friendly ties between the participants and the locals.

Applications are being accepted through each website sign-up page. ♪

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February 13, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

02/04/2014

Exchange Event "Reborn Garden" Held

JEN has been working on assisting children in disaster stricken areas in coalition with a charity project called "Reborn Garden". The cooperation between JEN's project and Reborn Garden project began when Ms. Miki Ando along with world's leading skaters organized Reborn Garden charity show, in March 2012.

On January 25, Ms. Miki Ando who first called for the need to launch the project came to Ishinomaki to hold an exchange party with children, they thronging around her while having lunch.

The city of Ishinomaki hardest hit by the Thohoku Earthquake still has scores of children who lead a difficult school life in which they study in temporary prehab school building or in classrooms offered by inland schools that survived the tsunami.

It was those children trying hard to keep up their spirits under such circumstances that came together to participate in the party on that day.
The party was held at an historic restaurant founded 121 years ago, which was managed to reopen in January 2013 after its disaster-struck building had been rebuilt.

【Many children in Ishinomaki came to participate in the party.】
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【There was a surprise guest appearance by Miki Ando. Reporting to the reception desk, the children blinked at her.】
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A total of twenty five children and their parents joined the party. Perhaps because some reunited days after long separation and others saw each other for the first time, the party began in a bit tense atmosphere. However smiling faces began to be seen a little by little everywhere while the participants were having lunch together.

【Having lunch together, the children got relaxed.】
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【The children played games together.】
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At the end of the two-hour party, each participant was to announce "my goal for the year." Everybody was serious about coming up with their goal.

【They are thinking of their goals to write down.】
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February 4, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

01/23/2014

JEN Accepts Students from Harvard Business School into its Exchange Program

This year again on January 10, 2014, Harvard Business School in the U.S. city of Boston sent fifteen students led by three escorting staffs to Tanigawahama in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, where the students had an opportunity to experience fishery and socialize with people in the community.
The students are from all parts of the world including Norway, Turkey, and China, whose engagement with JEN's project is as part of their school curriculum.

Tanigawahama's young fisherman Mr. Masao Atsumi, as a storyteller, welcomed the students and gave a talk about; what the situation of Tanigawahama was like in the post-quake period; the farming of ascidians and scallops having been prosperous since long ago and so on. As for ascidians Tanigawahama holds a 90% share of the national market for seed production as well as cultivation and it exports most of its sea products to Korea, as he told them. And he said through an interpreter Korea has imposed a controversial ban on the import of Tanigawahama's sea products as a consequence of Fukushima nuclear plant incident and so there remains a major problem for fishermen in the region.

【The fisherman gave the students a description of what happened when the earthquake occurred.】
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After receiving Mr. Atsumi's explanation, the students worked on making mother shells for farming ascidians and the preparation of scallop farming as a hands-on activity. Braving the exposure to low wind-chill, they actively worked with fishermen.

【Hands-on experience, making mother shells for farming ascidians.】
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For lunch, they savored a potluck barbecue with freshly-hauled scallops and oysters brought by fishermen and beef brought by the students.
It was impressing to see a woman who can't speak English responded with smile when one of the students who tried tonjiru, miso soup with pork and vegetables, for the first time said to the woman "Miso soup, oishi!,"

【The students and the people in the community all opened up to each other.】
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JEN is committed to providing people working hard to overcome the disaster toward self-sustained development with continued assistance through its exchange program which offers participants opportunities to experience fisheries, to make inspection tours, and to socialize with people in the stricken areas.




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For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

January 23, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

01/16/2014

Soccer Match Helps Promote Exchanges: High School Students Volunteer to Act as Go-between!

It was "the Ishinimaki-Nichi-Nichi Shinbun's cup soccer event for boys and girls co-hosted by Meiji University affiliated Meiji High as part of its centennial events" that took place for the second since last year on January 12-13. For more about last year's event, click here.
This year's event was held at the soccer field of the Ishinomaki Football Association unlike last year, because last year's venue, Comprehensive Sports Park in Onagawa, is now under post-disaster construction and damage repair work,

【The 6th graders enjoyed their last event. Heated battles were unfolded.】
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【Meiji High students in purple uniform acted as referees. 】
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JEN supported the overall administration of the event along with organizers; the Ishinomaki Football Association, the Ishinomaki Nichi Nichi Shinbun Newspaper hosting, and Meiji High School.
A total of twelve teams came from Ishinomaki, Higashimatsushima and Onagawacho to participate in the two-day event, enjoying competitive matches.

Meiji High School sent thirty seven students including soccer club members to Ishinomaki for the event. The soccer club members served as umpires and scorers, the rest of the students were also active in volunteering right beside the soccer games for cooking shiruko, sweet red-bean soup, together with residents of the temporary housing complex built in the Tohoku Electronics Industry, Ltd owned land; providing children with the experience of spinning be-goma, spinning top and true-or-false quiz contest.

【Students cooked shiruko with the residents of temporary housing next to the soccer field.】
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【After cooking shiruko they "talked over tea."】
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【Experiencing be-goma】
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Touring tsunami-devastated coastal areas and hearing about the disaster from people in the town or at temporary shopping stores, the students at Meiji High School not only experienced running the event but appeared to be able to heighten the awareness and understanding of what's going on in the disaster stricken area.

As said senior Mr. Tsuchiya who led the student group, "I felt the town has regained its energy and life since my last visit. But I also could see the coastal areas remain almost same as before, so I felt the restoration had only begun. I was glad not only to be able to contribute to managing the event but to see children smile during the attractions this year. I felt what we can contribute is creating an atmosphere in which everybody gets a smile."

【A keepsake picture with students volunteers at Meiji High School. Well done!】
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Though the final league planned on the second day was delayed by bad weather, Mr. Testutaro Tanaka, the vice-principal of the school, looked back on this volunteer activity saying "This time, the students were able to not only contribute to managing the soccer event but socialize with residents and children living in temporary housing. Today's youth tend to confine themselves in their own world, but this activity could provide them an opportunity to think others."

During their 3-day tour, they did receive various messages. We want them make good use of this valuable experience and grow to be talent who can support the society in the future.

The postponed final league is going to be held at Kamikama Fureai Square on Sunday 26b January.

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January 16, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

01/09/2014

Best Now to Joy Your Taste Buds: "Sasunohama's Oyster Cafe; Hama-yu" Opens

"Sasunohama's Oyster Cafe Hama-yu" in Sasunohama, Ishinomaki, opened for its business of this year on Sunday the 15th of December. During the best season for oysters from December to around the end of February, fishermen directly serve customers grilled oysters as they do every year.
The forecast had called for the first snowfall of this year on the opening day which would hurt customer traffic, and so it was only after much worry that six groups of thirteen gusts visited and enjoyed fresh oysters.

Oysters are usually marketed after two years of cultivation, but Sasunohama's oysters are characterized by hitting markets in just one year. That gives oyster meat concentration of flavor and so it is very rich and tastes good.
Mr. Hosokawa, the head of the Ishinomaki Fisheries Cooperative's Executive Committee for Oyster Cafe, recommended oysters saying "I'd like you to enjoy the natural flavor of oysters."

【Visitors had comfortable chats until oysters were baked.】
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The first guest was a married couple who visited Ishinomaki on a sightseeing trip. Mr. Hosokawa shelled baked oysters with rapidity for them.
The couple was just like a kid in a candy store to see oysters with springy palatability in front of them. He ate the oysters in no time saying "I don't like oyster itself so much, but the oysters here are sweet and really tasty."

【The oysters were so delicious that the guests just ate them up right up.】
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I found two couples who came from Shizuoka and Tochigi seated round a table. They say, during their visit to Ishinomaki on business, they found the signboard of the oyster cafe and walked into it. They enjoyed oysters in different ways; savoring sake filled in shells of finished oysters, oysters with a twist of lemon placed on the table. They were heard to say "They are small compared with oysters we usually eat, but essential flavor is packed into them and so makes them very delicious; I'd like to come again."

【Oysters can be appreciated in many ways.】
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After continued dialogues among fishermen and residents in Sasunohama, they finally managed to open this oyster cafe as a first step toward the restoration of their community.
Contained in the cafe is their wish that it serves as a trigger for as many people as possible to visit, enjoy fascinating Sasunohama as well as oysters.
Why don't you take a trip to the oyster cafe to harvest sea products only in winter, they are well worth a visit.

"Sasunohama's Oyster Cafe Hama-yu" is now open!
Location: 300 meters away from Sant Juan Park, in front of the JF Ishinomaki branch office
Address: Sasu, Watanoha, Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi-ken
Store hours: Every Sunday 11:30a.m.-2:30p.m. From January 12 to February

Please contact Mr. Hosokawa (the head of Executive Committee for Oyster Grill)
at 090-8256-1376.


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January 9, 2014 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/26/2013

Look up at Starry Sky: "Star Watching Class in Oshika"

"Star Watching Class in Oshika", an event to enjoy beautiful nighttime sky, took place at Oshika trailer site for families in Ayukawa, Ishinomaki on December 22. Twenty-three people including families from Ishinomaki joined the event.

 

Mr. Nishimura who has planned and chaired this event is now in his junior year at the University of Tokyo.

 

Discovering that the Oshika peninsula provides a spectacular view of starry sky through his repeated visits to Ishinomaki to join JEN as a volunteer, he wondered "if it wouldn't be possible to hold an event where he can entertain children in Ishinomaki with the same hobbies as his own, star watching."

 

His efforts to seek support for his idea from the members and alumni of his own hobby circle, the astronomy department at the physiographic study group of the University of Tokyo, brought nineteen members to endorse his idea and form a planning committee, making his idea a reality.

 

At first children listened to Mr. Nishimura's talks about the Diamond of Winter and constellations representing winter and then observed Jupiter and nebulae through astronomical telescopes under the night sky. The children spent time enjoying astronomical observations as they please: looking up into the night sky for constellations they learned, observing Jupiter and nebulae through astronomical telescopes.

 

【The star cluster Pleiades in the constellation of Taurus observed through telescope.】
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(A photo taken by Mr. Itsurou Matsuno, a planning committee member)

 

【The children were listening intently to a lecture.】
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As said an elementary school fourth-grader with a twinkle in his eyes who used to live in Oshika peninsula but now lives in an urban district, "I was able to see many stars that I usually can't see; they were sparkling; it's been nice watching stars through a telescope."

 

Then appeared Santa Claus and his reindeer disguised by the planning committees members and presented the children message cards and photos of stars.

 

【Santa too made an entrance!】
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Mr. Nishimura conveyed his greetings to them saying "Today's stars in the sky have been the best in my life. I hope you remember looking up the sky for the same stars on this day when you have a chance to look up the sky. I'm glad to see you enjoying." He also said "Fewer artificial lights make the Oshika peninsula one of the best places for star watching in Miyagi prefecture; equipped with accommodation facilities including campsites, it's ready to accept many people; so if many more people would come to enjoy star watching, that could help restore vitality to the area."

 

【Message cards were circulated to all participants by the planning committee.】
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December 26, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/19/2013

The 3rd "Handicrafts market, Hands-on exhibit in Ishinomaki" Held

On December 14, the third "Handicraft market, Hands-on exhibit in Ishinomaki: Making Handcrafting into Jobs", an event aimed at giving a leg up to women who do handicrafts in Ishinomaki, took place at the central office of Japan Agricultural Cooperatives in Ishinomaki.

This event has been held with the goals of assisting women who have determined to lead a forward-looking life by doing handicrafts; enabling participants to enjoy the taste of success by providing an opportunity to sell their products; discovering people who have an interest in doing handcraft; presenting chances of finding working partners; making a good place to share information among participants and so on.

(The details of the last event in September are available here)

In this event, the third, a record number of twenty-two organizations participated, half of them joining for the first time. With participants having frequent discussions on event planning in advance and preparing the event hall and booths on the day, a networking among participants has evolved.

Many visitors had waited for the event to open at 10 a.m., the event start time.
On that day, Ishinomaki saw the first snow covering, and so there was a worry that the snow would affect the turnout at the event but there was really no time when visitors stop coming and 275 visitors visited the event, exceeding the number of the previous event.

【As soon as the doors opened, many guests visited the event!】
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The hands-on exhibition, as December had rolled around, centered on making good-luck bracelets or small seasonal articles associated with Christmas and New Year, people of all ages having a good time.
The event also provided an opportunity for visitors and participants to communicate friendly, enabling them to share the joy of handicraft.

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【Are you done well?】
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Very new were extra entertainments such as holding a mystery draw and setting up a space where you can relax over some snacks, which entertainments were based on ideas collected from participants.
Mothers with young children could have unhurried pace of time browsing around booths and having talk with booths' owners while their children were amusing themselves by writing graffiti or doing origami at a children's square decorated pleasantly. And a newly set up consultation corner was welcoming women saying "I'd love to open a booth!"

After the event, JEN's staff members and booth owners had a meeting to look back that day's event and prepare for the next one. Among the remarks about the event were "Every booth has set up nice display. I should have taken photos of them!", "I felt closer to visitors than last time, so it was good for me to be able to communicate with them, it was fun." The event was able to provide participants an opportunity to resolve their challenges through exchanging ideas and information with event participants.

JEN will continue helping women doing handicrafts in Ishinomaki arrange next event scheduled in February.

****************************************************************************

◆JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction. The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed. For details, click here.
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

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For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

December 19, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/12/2013

Now 1,000 Days since Disaster Outbreak: Lantern Vigil to Commemorate 3,266 Victims

With December 5, 2013 at 14:46 marking 1,000 days since the disaster broke out, citizen volunteers hosted "the Great Tohoku Earthquake Lantern Vigil to Commemorate the Anniversary of 1,000 Days."

Many people gathered for a prayer vigil for the victims of the Great Tohoku Earthquake from all around the city of Ishinomaki.

【There lit 3,266 lanterns, the same number as the number of victims (as of the end of September 2013)】
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There stands a big signboard saying "Hang in there! Ishinomaki!" at Kadonowaki 5-chome where the ceremony was taken place, which neighborhood is now serving as a landmark that helps you know how devastating the disaster was and thus attracts endless streams of tour buses carrying inspection parties every day.

However, not much is known about the fact that the signboard has been erected by citizens. On April 11, just one month after the disaster, two men living in Ishinomaki decided that they had to encourage victims who were taking shelters and going back and forth between their shelters and dwelling sites to clear rubbles and that was when they placed the signboard.

【Around the signboard with a message "Hang in There! Ishinomaki"; There used to be a town with stores and houses.】
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This ceremony was run by a planning committee organized by citizens and some 70 volunteers. It's intended to commemorate victims together and determine to move forward together as we were kept alive and allowed to stay live. 
First-year art club members at Ishinomaki High School developed the design of lantern layout in the shape of wave rings centering 3/11-shaped lanterns so that the people in Ishinomaki may pay more attention rather than 3/11 to the present and then the future just like wave rings ripple around

【Rare for Ishinomaki's weather, it was a windless day.】
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The chair of the planning committee said "We are going to host the ceremony at each junction to pray for those who were killed and to provide an opportunity of sharing the determination to restore Ishinomaki."

For your reference: the group of "Hang in There! Ishinomaki ";

【Every citizen who gathered sang "Flowers Bloom" in chorus at the ceremony that began 6 p.m.】

For a video click here!


****************************************************************************

◆JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction. The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed. For details, click here.
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now

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December 12, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/04/2013

The 4th "Come to Join Fishing Event: Oyster Harvest Festival; Oysters Now in Season" Takes Place

The fourth "Come to Join Fishery Event" hosted by Higashihama planning committee was held at Sudachihama on the Oshika Peninsula on December 1.
Now that this is the season to enjoy oysters, all-oyster dishes feature the fourth event.
A lot of plans were worked out at the event  including touring an oyster farm, experiencing oyster shelling, exchanging with middle-aged women and young fishermen in Higashihama's community while feasting on oyster dishes, making the event special and unique to the oyster season.

【After listening to precautions on board from fishermen, participants headed for an oyster farm.】
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It usually takes two years until oysters are ready to ship; during the first year oysters are cultivated in inshore farms with gentle waves and for the second year in offshore farms with restless waves.

The tour featured visits to both farms.

【When ropes of two-year-old oysters were hauled, whereupon they found large oysters!】
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【Harvested two-year-old oysters】
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After harvesting oysters, the participants experienced shelling oysters with the guidance of the people in Higashihama.
We usually eat already-shelled oysters available at stores and so the participants seemed to have difficulties in the first-time experience of their shelling oysters. They were much surprised to hear that fishermen can shell 3-5 oysters per second.

【They are trying oyster shelling!】
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By the time they finished shelling oysters, middle-aged women in Higashihama had already prepared lunch, waiting for them to sit at the lunch table.

【Wonderful local oyster dishes were served!】
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Cooking of oysters served on this day was abundant in variety such as grilled oysters, rice assorted with blue mussels, miso soup with oysters and laver, fried oysters as well as steamed oysters or an oyster hot pot at the table using oysters that are shelled by the participants, proving to be luxurious all-oyster dishes.

They seemed greatly pleased with fresh oyster dishes, for one of the children who said "I only have fried oysters at home" ate a number of grilled oysters or the other child said "I couldn't like fried oysters but I can now eat them."
Among the participants were those who had participated before, and so the participants and people in Higashihama enjoyed taking with each other, for the day passing by happily.

The day went by surprisingly fast; before the participants say good-bye, each participant expressed their thanks or feedbacks to the people in Higashihama.

It's scheduled to hold next Come to Join Fishery Event in March when wakame (soft seaweed) is in season. The executive committee wants many people to participate and enjoy the nature of the Oshika peninsula and fresh seafood. So, why not come and join the event next time?

◆JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction. The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed. For details, click here.
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.


====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

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For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

December 4, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

11/28/2013

Support for Ajishima Island's Fishery: Help Islanders in Efforts to Recover from Disaster

JEN assisted fishermen at the Amijima branch of the Miyagi Prefecture Fishery Cooperative in accommodating fishing gears to restart their fishing operations on November 18.

【Amijishima Island is about one hour by ferryboat from Ishinomaki jetty with some 400 people on the isolated island.】

A map of the island: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/embed?mid=zIt-ICU1-ifU.kOQhIWQJmkLs

131128


【Roofs of the settlement in Amijishima Island: beyond the roofs the Oshika peninsula lies over the sea.】
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Amijishima was closest to the earthquake epicenter and so it was hit by the tsunami earlier than any other area.

Fortunately, there were no casualties thanks to the islanders' appropriately decision to evacuate quickly, but houses, fishing-related facilities and fishing ports were heavily damaged.
In this assistance of JEN's, fishing materials such as a forklift truck that would be shared with fishermen, octopus trap baskets, fishing nets were provided for the branch of the Miyagi Prefecture Fishery Cooperative.

【The ship carrying the forklift truck pulled in at the quay under restoration work!】
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Ajishima Island has two fishing ports, Aji and Futawatashi, but their needed assistance is different because of differences in the damage by the disaster.
Aji port has its dock-mounted crane along with its quay swept away. In addition, the completion of the port restoration work is expected to be year after next at the earliest, and so islanders have been put in the situation where they are not able to ship and unship heavy burdens. Therefore they hoped to have a forklift truck accommodated so that they may substitute it for crane.

On the other hand, Futawatashi port is in need of "supplies of fishing materials washed away by the tsunami", and so JEN assisted in equipping octopus trap baskets and komame fishing nets (fine-mesh fishing nets). The fishermen there can capture flatfish, rockfish, and rock trout with the komame fishing nets all year-round.

The restoration rate of Amijishma Island's fishery is only about 20 percent (as of August 2013) with little room to feel optimistic about the situation, yet you can't see any signs of resignation on the fishermen's faces. One of the fishermen said firmly to JEN "Aging fishermen have given up fishing and the number of cooperative members has fallen; But, we take advantage of this assistance to work hard together with our members."

【Together with cooperative members】
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◆A regular liner service to Amijishima Island is operated three or four services per a day.
Pensions and minshuku (private home that provides room and board) are also in operation. Please come to Amijishima Island at least once where warm persons live in abundant nature. For directions, refer here (external website: Amijishima Island liner

◆JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction. The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed. For details, click here.
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.


====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now

Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

November 28, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

11/21/2013

Recruits Receive Training in Disaster Areas

JEN coordinated an arrangement for thirty-three new employees from Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited to make a social contribution as part of employee training at Minamisanrikucho for three days from October 22.

【The construction of a sea bank is going on matter-of-routinely at Shidugawa, Minamisanriku. The rattling of heavy machines was echoing.】
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On day 1 of the training, after an inspection tour to Onagawa, Ishinomaki, the trainees headed for Minamisanrikucho where they were going to undergo training. JEN arranged for them to listen to local residents tell of their disaster-time experiences and to receive explanations about JEN's reconstruction support programs.

On day2-3, they helped fishermen at Minamisanriku Fishery Production Cooperative in their fishing activities.

For long time fishery had normally been done on an individual basis, but the disaster annihilated the fishery system and so twelve fishermen came together to form the cooperative and restarted their fishing operation under cooperative management system after the disaster.

The system has enabled them to make large scale equipment investments and improve work efficiency, raising hopes from various sectors to create a new type of fishery business.
Hoping to revitalize their home town by providing not only stable life for fishermen but jobs for young people who have left their home town, they have been making day-to-day efforts to reconstruct fishery.
The trainee split up into groups to work on making weights for aqua farming, planting oyster seeds, removing acorn barnacles of oyster shells and so on.

【Recruits' help to aqua farming: October is a high season for preparing for harvesting marine products.】
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In this season, the fishery settlement is very busy with fishery work such as planting seeds of brown seaweed, kelp and sea squirt, making ropes of young scallops and so on. Mr. Sasaki with the cooperative said to JEN "Of course, volunteers are of great help to us , but more than that, we are very happy that what they see in front of their eyes at the production site of marine products reminds them about us when they go shopping sea foods at supermarkets."

When Mr. Endo, the president of the cooperative, said "'There is nothing more important than my coworkers.', 'I can keep going because of them.', 'It makes no difference whether they are coworkers or visitors like volunteers, people-to-people tie is what matters most.'", the new employees nodded their vigorous agreement.

Sanriku shoreline's fisheries continue facing many difficulties such as damaged port facilities, the loss of people who should have bore fisheries, harmful rumors and so on.
JEN thinks that it's of great value to get as many people as possible to visit affected areas to see what's going on there and connect people there.

【After three days of training】
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The new employees were heard to give their impressions of the three-day training---quote---"'I could get a feeling that volunteers can be of help for sure.', 'I've got their strong feelings that they welcome many more people to see affected areas and let others know about them. I think it's important to let others know what I've observed or heard about here.', 'I was able to learn important things that have a lot in common with any job such as how to work as a team, how to respond to changes or how to keep your spirit. I sincerely came to think that we also must work hard.'"

It seems the training has provided the new employees with valuable opportunities for learning and raising awareness.

【They became very friendly indeed during the two-day work.♪】
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Placing great value on connecting victims directly with those people who want to support Tohoku and on helping build face-to-face relationships, JEN continues assisting trainings like this.

****************************************************************

◆JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction.
The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed.
For details, click here.

If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now

Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

November 21, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

11/14/2013

Flower Garden Movement Enters its Second Year

As was the beginning of a movement to "spread flower gardens through human connections", Kadonowaki junior high school students hoped to "brighten their grizzled Kadonowaki district in Ishinomaki city with flowers" during their integrated study named "Our initiative to reconstruct Ishinomaki" last October.
JEN decided to back the students' hope and since then, has continued assisting them along with local people who want to achieve reconstruction for themselves and many volunteers who want to be of help to reconstruction. 
This movement is aimed at letting those involved in planting flowers feel very close and link each other. For more on this, click here.

On November 6th, flowers were planted by first-year pupils who took over a flower garden from their seniors by one year.

【First off, they dig the garden!】
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Preparing for the coming winter, they started with a preliminary work to plant new flowers that bloom in spring. With girls screaming at worms appearing in the earth and boys competing on the speed of shoveling, they spiritedly, cheerfully got on with the work.

【The outline of the flower garden.】
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As shown above, year-one members of the school art club outlined the flower garden. It contains a message that being one in heart---connected four hearts---makes people happy---It's said that each leaf of four-heart-shaped-leaf clover represents fame, wealth, love and health.

【They worked in front of Kadonowaki primary school.】
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They also worked on the flower garden in front of Kadonowaki primary school. Salvias planted in this spring were still blooming vibrantly.

【The work is over!】
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They spent the whole day in planting about 700 roots of viola and 1,500 bulbs of tulips. They also planted tulip bulbs in planters so that they might be able to present them later to Kadonowaki primary school which is now giving classes at classrooms their school offered. Some of the bulbs were donated by people in the area who came to know about the movement. The movement is now creating new community-school relationships.

Kadonowaki district where the movement is now being staged has been designated as one the "Areas for Promoting Reconstruction of Affected Urban Zone", so redeveloping the area and building an elevated causeway that doubles as a breakwater will start in full swing next year. A park as a symbol of earthquake disaster reconstruction is scheduled to be built within the redeveloped area. JEN will continue to help local residents actively engage in developing their community.


◆JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction. The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed. For details, click here.
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now

Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

November 14, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

11/07/2013

Now Right Season for Enjoying "Imoni Party"

Many parts of the Tohoku region including Miyagi prefecture have a custom of enjoying "imoni party" at outdoors such as river banks from October to November. Different as seasonings and gradients are from area to area, having fun over a hot pot featuring taro in the open air is called "imoni party".

The party usually takes place as an event for participants to socialize with their friends or people at work, making Tohoku's people feel that autumn would not be autumn without it as well as hanami party in spring.

【On this day evacuees living in Nukazuka temporary housing complex held an imoni party.】
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On October 27, the community association of the evacuees living in Nukazuka temporary housing complex hosted an imoni party. Not only joined the evacuees but people outside including neighbors around the temporary housing and other evacuees living in another temporary housing complex, deepening ties among them.

Many of the evacuees used to lead a life in a residential area on the coast of the Ishinomaki city, but they have moved to the temporary housing complex located about 10 km inland away from their houses leveled by the tsunami. At first the evacuees had little contact with neighbors around the temporary housing complex, and so that could have made them become isolated from outside. Given this situation, the community association has taken the initiative in creating opportunities for exchange between the evacuees and their neighbors. It is said that recently, the association between them has began to be seen little by little, developing a new relationship of mutual support.

【A neighbor, using a forklift truck, presented the evacuees some persimmons from his garden.】
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You can bet that continued efforts to develop people-to-people links such as hosting imoni parties could establish mutual supportive relationships.

JEN is committed to helping develop mutual supportive relationships and create self-sustaining communities by assisting activities that play a critical role in creating communities.


◆JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction. The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed. For details, click here.
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.


====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
 Account holder: JEN
 Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now
 Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

November 7, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/31/2013

Thank You for Listening to Radio Talk Show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki"! Thus Far; Now Past 17 Aired Episodes Available Online

A radio talk show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki" has been introduced for broadcasting as an assistance for reconstruction since July 5, but it has been decided to put an end to it as of October 25.
Only four-month-long project though it was, all went well to end what had been a very enjoyable show for many listeners. Thank you for listening!

【A shot with people at Radio Ishinomaki who have supported JEN in offering JEN's radio talk show.】
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A total of twenty-one people made a guest appearance onto "Reconstruction News" corner in the last seventeen shows.

JEN invited those guests living in Ishinomaki because JEN, while working on projects in Ishinomaki, felt pretty much like asking them to "encourage much more listeners to make positive progress by talking their stories about reconstruction".

In the final episode, Mr. Hiroyuki Kogure and Hiroteru Yamanaka who have continued with their efforts as JEN staff members since April 2011, soon after the disaster, appeared on the show and spoke on their own thoughts on the reconstruction of their hometown with reflections on their experiences and what has been aired.

Listeners sent their messages to the show---quote---"'Even living in the same city Ishinomaki, I don't know much about districts elsewhere in the city, so it's very helpful, I'm looking forward to it every week.', 'While living outside the disaster areas, I was able to listen to what Ishinomaki's people think and, if only a little, find out how things really are in Tohoku.'" Therefore JEN made the recordings of "Reconstruction News", talks with guests, available on Youtube. You really must listen. Click on links below.

 Episode 1 (July 5)Ms. Emi Suda (Owner of Hamayu, a restaurant in Sasunohama)
http://youtu.be/BkxtmMTsQlA

 Episode 2 (July 12Mr. Masanari Ishinomori (Oshika Noren Temporary Shopping Street)
http://youtu.be/5yqEyt7vOIw

 Episode 3 (July 19Ms. Jyunko Hiratsuka (Female Fisherperson from Kadatsuhama)

http://youtu.be/BbNrw-2p7dE

 Episode 4 (July 26Mr. Eiichi Honma (Director of Kadonowaki Maneki Community) http://youtu.be/Fc1kqyHGmqo

 Episode 5 (August 2)Mr. Yoshimasa Imaizumi (Chairman of the Kin-Ball Federation of Miyagi)
http://youtu.be/1HA4Q8lYpa8

 Episode 6 (August 9)Ms. Kasumi Endo, Mr. Yusei Adachi (Second Graders at Kadonowaki Junior High)
http://youtu.be/GuixfDqZvlQ

 Episode 7 (August 16)Sadao and Kazuko Abe (Residents of Nakayashiki, Kamikama District)
http://youtu.be/_5-xWk6Cl6E

 Episode 8 (August 23)Ms. Hiroko Saito (Director of Battsupa Coperation from Kaduma, Ishinomaki)
http://youtu.be/2u--cEOkjH0

 Episode 9 (August 30)Ms. Yoshiko Abe Ms. Mai Abe (Housemakers from Higashihama District)
http://youtu.be/-IlgYgqhrBM

 Episode 10 (September 6)Mr. Eiji Aizawa (Ward Mayor of Tsukinoura) http://youtu.be/pYK2sfs-Gxo

 Episode 11 (September 13)Ms. Tomoko Akasaka (the Representative for AMIS Workshop in the Seventh Minamisakai Temporary Housing)
http://youtu.be/5wefaqH5kSs

 Episode 12 (September 20)Mr. Takayuki Atsumi (Ascidian Fisherman in Tanigawahama)
http://youtu.be/Dyb0SoSFnUY

 Episode 13 (September 27)Mr. Hiroharu Ishinomori (Oyster Fisherman in Kadatsuhama)
http://youtu.be/pV7zK3KB6QM

 Episode 14 (October 4)Mr. Yasuhiro Hosokawa (Oyster Fisherman in Sasunohama)

http://youtu.be/e3xHBM4zcQc

 Episode 15 (October 11)Mr. Kazuhiko Endo (the Representative of Minamisannriku Fishermen's' Association)
http://youtu.be/Q2DB01rZ9qg

 Episode 16 (October 18)Ms. Miyuki Esashi (the Vice President of the Association of Miyagi Fisheries Cooperative's Women's Group and Ward Mayor of Oginohama) http://youtu.be/JZuKn6UhBCw

 Episode 17 (October 25)Mr. Hiroyuki Kogure, Mr. Hiroteru Yamanaka (Members of JEN Ishinomaki Office)
http://youtu.be/KWn1fBCgmjc

 

While the show came to an end for now, JEN Tohoku division will continue its activities. Many thanks for people in Ishinomaki and around the country listening to the show! And with that we would like to also thank you for your continuing support!

◆JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction. The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed. For details, click here.
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.


====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
 Account holder: JEN
 Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now

 Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

October 31, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/24/2013

College for Children to Learn about Hometown Offers Fishing Experience in Yagawahama

On October 20, JEN held "Furusato Kodomo College in Yagawahama", an event to offer children in Ishinomaki an opportunity of experiencing fishery. Members of UNIQLO Employee Reconstruction Support Project volunteered to help JEN ensure the safety of children and hold the event.

On that day children experienced fishing, making mother shells to raise oysters and clearing scallop shells of substances sticking to the front of the shells along with fishermen who are members of Yagawahama Fisheries Cooperative's Oyster Group.

【Children listen to fishermen showing how to make mother shells to raise oysters.】
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【Scallop shells are stuck with barnacles and blue mussels! They need to be scraped off with kitchen knives.】
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And the children's favorite was fishing!

【Being taught by fishermen, even a child who fishes for the first time gave it a try!】
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【"I used to go fishing before the disaster but It's been a while since I last fished.", as one of the children said.】
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Since the disaster, children have had fewer chances to go to the sea due to their psychological response to the disaster and evacuation life that forces them to live away from the sea. This event, therefore, is about getting the children who are bearers of Ishinomaki's future to love Ishinomaki much more by having them experience and become aware of the good things about their hometown.

The fishermen in Yagawahama who accepted the children looked very happy because the children's cheers echoed through their village where the number of children has decreased.

【On this day loads of mackerels were caught♪】
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*******************************************************************************

◆JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction. The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed. For details, click here.
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓
○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now

Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

October 24, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/17/2013

Children Have Dance Recital: Fruits of One-year Practice at Dance Class

On October 13, Children attending JEN's dance class have made public the fruits of their twelve-month-old practiced dance at Watanoha performing arts festival held at Watanoha community hall.

【Many local audiences turned up at Watanoha community hall, the venue for the event.】
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With the help of Ms. Ryoko Nomura and Ms. Minami Zushi who belong to R2Creative dance studio in Tokyo, JEN has had a dance class every month since October 2012 to provide children from all over the city of Ishinomaki with opportunities of dissolving the lack of exercise, relieving stress and having time for mixing with others and learning. (For more on the dance class, click here.)

Today, the results of the children's one-year efforts are debuted!

【Children dance in total synchronization. (It's too bad not to be able to present you their performance with video clips!).】
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The children's endearing dance performance led the audience to give them warm hands and junior high students' outstanding mature acting caused the audience to exclaim in admiration.

Even JEN staff members got misty eyed to see how the children have developed artistically.

【Local people were happy to watch the children as they dance.】
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Looking back over the past twelve months, the children and their parents were heard to say, quote, "One of the things that were good for us is we were able to make lots of friends and classmates through dancing."

Dancing has provided them with a place where they were able to get precious friends, learn and expand the wave of exchanges.

Emotional closure of sorts as was this recital, the dance class will be continued.

As always, JEN appreciates your continuing support for its activities.

◆JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction. The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed. For details, click here.
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.

◆Radio Talk Show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki" airs every Friday noon at 12:30, repeats every Sunday morning at 10:30.
People of Ishinomaki who are moving ahead toward reconstruction will make a guest appearance on the show.
You can listen to the talk show on Radio Ishinomaki or on the internet via Simul Radio anywhere in the world! Don't miss it! Let us know how you liked it.



====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓
○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.
○Credit card:
http://bit.ly/c7R8iA
Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

October 17, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/10/2013

Quake Restoration Memorial Park Development Project, Citizens' Movement

The city of Ishinomaki where JEN carries on its activities has decided to build Quake Restoration Memorial Park jointly with Miyagi Prefecture by 2020 (Source: the website of Miyagi Prefecture).

As for the central hub in the park (the square of remembrance etc), Ishinomaki city and Miyagi Prefecture are supposed to continue their efforts to call on the central government to set it up. In the mean time, citizen-led efforts to foster momentum to the park development have started; workshops and study sessions have been organized by citizen volunteers in response to a call from local government.

【Minamihama district, the planned site for Quake Restoration Memorial Park(Picture taken from Hiyoriyama hill)】
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On October 6, a total of 100 laurels and 625 box trees were planted to make a "forest of prayer" within the premises of Saikouji temple situated in the north of Minamihama district.

【Many citizens, volunteers joined in planting trees.】
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131010_s20131006_094936



This effort to make a "forest of prayer" has been principally organized by Ishinomaki Environment Network, an Ishinomaki-based NPO, with support from local government and experts. It is hoped to grow as a citizens' movement from now on.

According to current plans, Quake Restoration Memorial Park will be completed by 2020. It is in the year 2020 that Japan, hosting the Tokyo Olympics, attracts a great deal of attention from around the world. Most citizens who joined in the planting have a strong aspiration to show their reconstructed community to every people all over the world who helped them after the disaster.

Hoping reconstruction rolls forward just as flowers bloom or trees grow, JEN will continue its activities.

【"forest of prayer" just coming off planting】

131010_s20131007_164111


◆JEN continues seeking volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction. The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed. For details, click here.
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.

◆Radio Talk Show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki" airs every Friday noon at 12:30, repeats every Sunday morning at 10:30.
People of Ishinomaki who are moving ahead toward reconstruction will make a guest appearance on the show.
You can listen to the talk show on Radio Ishinomaki or on the internet via Simul Radio
anywhere in the world!
Don't miss it! Let us know how you liked it

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
 Account holder: JEN
 Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now
 Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

October 10, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/03/2013

Victims Put Hope for Reconstruction into Paintings

Here in Ishinomaki, September 29 was a clear Sunday of autumn with blue sky. On this day local junior high students draw pictures at "Manekino House", a meeting place in Ishonomaki.
(For more on "Manekino House", click here.)

【Together volunteered to work local residents and students from Kadonowaki junior high school art club and.】
131003
The students decided what to paint after interviewing residents so that they might be able to draw paintings that are very Kadonowaki-like and everybody likes. In the hope that Ishinomaki makes its recovery as soon as possible, they painted Ishinomaki's abundant nature, trees, flowers, animal,...and pre-disaster lively streetscapes as well as post-reconstruction streetscapes.

【Students and residents painted on their own themes.】
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The painting will have been completed by mid October. It was impressing to see local passers-by with smiles stop to see students painting. They looked having a renewed feeling of hope to see the students drawing happily.

JEN will continue engaging in efforts to support local residents in revitalizing their own town and children in involving in those activities.

【In hopes that "ex-residents living in temporary housing come back",...】
130003

◆JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction. The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed. For details, click here.
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.

◆Radio Talk Show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki" airs every Friday noon at 12:30, repeats every Sunday morning at 10:30.
People of Ishinomaki who are moving ahead toward reconstruction will make a guest appearance on the show.
You can listen to the talk show on Radio Ishinomaki or on the internet via Simul Radio (http://www.jen-npo.org/en/6498/) anuwhere in the world! Don't miss it! Let us know how you liked it.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now
Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

October 3, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

09/26/2013

"Hamakon 2013": Matchmaking Event was Held

For one night and two days from September 21, JEN hosted "Hamakon 2013", a matchmaking event, in cooperation with Zwei Co., Ltd. and Yahoo Japan Corporation.

Rural areas on the Oshika Penisula, Isinomaki where the event took place now have difficulties in securing successors to fishery and improving the plight of depopulation because of the rapid aging of the population amid extremely low birth rates. In the hope of overcoming these problems by bringing brides to bride-poor rural areas, people in the rural areas asked JEN to launch an event to address this problem.
The event was designed to make one step forward in preventing successors from deserting rural areas and rural population from aging by providing encounters between man in the rural areas and women inside and outside Miyagi prefecture, taking advantage of a konkatsu boom among young people--- konlatsu: a buzz word of the moment, a play on the Japanese words for marriage and action.

【A ceremony to introduce participants, a tense moment!】
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Eighteen mail participants from nine rural areas and ten female participants from in and around the Miyagi prefecture joined in the event. Day one, after introducing themselves to each other, the participants had free conversation while enjoying fireworks and barbecuing the blessings of the sea such as oysters and blue mussels the male participants had caught. The barbecue was extremely well-received and the female participants seemed to get to know that the Oshika Peninsula is a place where they can enjoy the fruits of the sea almost every day.

【Under a sky full of countless stars, a figure of a couple was silhouetted by fireworks.】
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Day two, those male participants from Oohara district gave a performance of Shishifuri, a traditional lion dance. In order to get the female participants to know what a job at sea is like, other male participants in usual work clothes also explained their job, trying to appeal more to female participants. So the male participants were able to show the female participants that they are cool guys.

【Now the last hours for hot date】
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The two-day event provided an opportunity for all participants to get to know each other and for the female participants to learn about the Oshika Peninsula and to enjoy a relaxed time in a rural area.

Now it was time for the male participants to tell the female participants how they felt.

Would couples be made...

【The two was celebrated by the others.】
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Surprisingly (!), eight couples were made at last!!!

【The oldest 59-year-old male participant also found a partner.】
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Their many, many happy smiles were there and moved us, staff members!

【A couple exchanged addresses and phone numbers.】
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With a couple exchanging goodbye saying "I'll come back again!", "Talk with you soon!", the male participants, waving their hands in lingering farewell, saw the bus carrying the female participants off.

"Hamakon 2013" successfully ended.

Even those participants who unfortunately couldn't find their partners spent enjoyable two days having delicious foods in the beautiful nature of the Oshika Peninsula.

Congratulations, sixteen participants who have happily made couples! JEN will continue to stand with them in their efforts to nurture their love and become lifelong, happy couples. JEN is committed to continued activities in filling rural areas on the sea with smiling faces.

◆JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction. The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed. For details, click here.
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.

◆Radio Talk Show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki" airs every Friday noon at 12:30, repeats every Sunday morning at 10:30.
People of Ishinomaki who are moving ahead toward reconstruction will make a guest appearance on the show.
You can listen to the talk show on Radio Ishinomaki or on the internet via Simul Radio
(http://www.fm764.jp/) anywhere in the world! Don't miss it! Let us know how you liked it.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓
○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now

Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

September 26, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

09/19/2013

"The 2nd Making Handcrafting into Jobs Event" Very Well Attended

On September 14, "the Second Making Handcrafting into Jobs Event: Handicrafts Market, Hands-on Exhibit in Ishinomaki" took place at Nakazato Agricultural Hall of Japan Agricultural Cooperative Ishinomaki Head Office, which event aims at helping female victims who make handicrafts like needlecraft in Ishinomaki in gaining access to markets or finding something to live for that leads to heal their mental scars. Seventeen groups ran their booths at this event, nine of which took part for the first time. Exceeding the first event in number, the event was bustling with more than 260 visitors.

【Every booth attracted many visitors!】
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【A Booth named "Natural Cotton" with many kawaii goods made its debut at the event.】
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On opening the door at ten, goods sold well one after another. Among visitors was a person with shopping bags filled with goods they bought in both hands browsing around the site. Although many of the visitors were from Ishinomaki, they looked surprised at getting to know that there are so many women who make handicrafts in Ishinomaki. The event also gave local people an opportunity to realize Ishinomaki produces many marketable goods.

【There were many people waiting in line for weaving experience.】
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Four groups had contributed to making arrangements for a handcrafting experience session that consists of six different programs including weaving, decoration and so on.
The session has been set up in the hope that hands-on experience inspires visitors to start making handicrafts. A total of forty-five visitors participated in the session and each visitor made their only one good in the world.

【After the event, all of those who ran booths took a meet.】
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After the event, asked what their problems before or future activities are, those who ran booths expressed a variety of opinions saying "I need more places where I can sell my goods.", "I need a support system for sharing information." and so on. While there are many women who are busy with housework and child-raising or who have difficulty to get out of the house because of their bad physical shape or mental trauma after the disaster, quite a few women are thinking of making enjoyable handcrafting at home into jobs. As a matter of fact, some visitors were heard to say "' I wanna make handicrafts.', 'I wanna learn know-how for getting on in handicraft business.'", that means visitors have been encouraged to start making handicrafts by their experience in the event.

JEN believes responding to those voices leads enlivening women in Ishinomaki thus the city of Ishinomaki. JEN remains committed to continue to hold the event and also work on assisting women in Ishinomaki.

◆JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction. The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed. For details, click here).
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.

 

◆Radio Talk Show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki" airs every Friday noon at 12:30, repeats every Sunday morning at 10:30.
People of Ishinomaki who are moving ahead toward reconstruction will make a guest appearance on the show.
You can listen to the talk show on Radio Ishinomaki or on the internet via Simul Radio(
http://www.fm764.jp/) anywhere in the world! Don't miss it! Let us know how you liked it.

 

 

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓
○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: ○Credit card:
http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now

Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

 

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352


For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

September 19, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

09/12/2013

Volunteers Support in Carrying Mikoshi Around Oginohama Cove

On September 9, an autumn festival was held in Oginohama, Ishinomaki.

【Mikoshi paraded through Oginohama where reconstruction work continues.】
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【They prepared for the festival in the rain the day before, but nothing was to be seen but beautiful blue sky on the festival day.】
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Oginihama, located at the base of the Oshika Peninsula, used to be a home to some fifty households. With almost all of the houses in Oginohama swept away by the tsunami, thirteen families are now living in temporary housing and others are forced to evacuate to Ishinomaki city or Sendai city.

【Mikoshi parading from beach to temporary housing(in the picture on the front right).】
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Oginohama's festival is known for its mikoshi (portable shrine) being paraded through Oginohama Cove on boat. Although it suffers from a serious shortage of hands due to massive exodus after the disaster, it has been taken place every year even in the year of the disaster thanks to the support of many volunteers who continue interacting communities in the disaster stricken areas including JEN.

【Mikoshi was headed for the cove.】
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【Many volunteers support the festival.】
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Ms. Miyuki Esashi who was elected to Oginohama ward mayoress in this August says "Because young people have left Oginihama, frankly we can't even carry mikoshi down the stone steps of our shrine without volunteers' help. It'll not until the whole town finishes moving to high ground that residents can return to Oginohama and it'll take many more years. I'm afraid the exodus continues in the meantime and we come to be unable to sustain our community. So I want to work on securing housing and land for not only the victims but people outside Oginihama who say to me 'I'd like to live in Oginohama' in order to welcome those people and sustain our community."


【Ms. Esashiin is pictured in the middle of the front row in pink T-shirt. Her naturally positive attitude lead Oginohama.】

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*******************************************************************************

◆JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction. The planned volunteer activities for September-December period have been renewed. For details, click here).
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.

◆Radio Talk Show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki" airs every Friday noon at 12:30, repeats every Sunday morning at 10:30.
People of Ishinomaki who are moving ahead toward reconstruction will make a guest appearance on the show.
You can listen to the talk show on Radio Ishinomaki or on the internet via Simul Radio(http://www.fm764.jp/) anywhere in the world! Don't miss it! Let us know how you liked it.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: ○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now

Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

September 12, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

09/05/2013

The Young Join Summer Volunteer

Perhaps because schools have gone on summer vacation, many students are visiting Ishinomaki for volunteer work. On August 29, twenty-five students at Kansai Gakuin Senior High School volunteered to help us weed a flower garden.

【Students are pulling out overgrown weeds.】
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Sunflowers as well as many other flowers in the garden have bloomed beautifully, which were planted in June.
JEN is assisting "Spread Flower Garden through Human Connection", a movement based on an idea of students at Kadonowaki Junior High School. For More information, click here (250 rally for flower movement before Kadonowaki elementary school)

Many pupils and junior high school students taken by their parents also participated in recent volunteer work at Amijima Island.

【Children worked hard among adults!】
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When they were asked what brought them to participate in the volunteer work, many of them answered that they wanted to come here in the post-disaster period, but it was impossible; they want to help with whatever they still can do. JEN believes it's JEN's task to serve as a bridge between volunteers who have compassion like them and victims in disaster stricken-areas.

【On July 24, students at Kadonowaki Junior High volunteered to plant flowerers.】
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【On August 29, post-weeding】
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The movement has produced masses of flowerers with support from children across the country in the past month. No doubt many flowerers have also bloomed in those children's heart.

*******************************************************************************

JEN continues recruiting volunteers to assist earthquake disaster reconstruction.
For details, click here (To be posted).
If you consider joining volunteer work in a group, please contact us.

☆Radio Talk Show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki" airs every Friday noon at 12:30, repeats every Sunday morning at 10:30.
People of Ishinomaki who are moving ahead toward reconstruction will make a guest appearance on the show.
You can listen to the talk show on Radio Ishinomaki or on the internet via Simul Radio anywhere in the world! Don't miss it! Let us know how you liked it.


====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now

Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352


September 5, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/29/2013

First Festival in Three Years Takes Place: Jizoko Festival at Kadonowakicho

On August 24, Jizo-ko festival was held at Kadonowakicho town, Ishinomaki city for the first time in three years which is to praise Jizo (small stone statues venerated as the guardian deity of local residents) for Jizo's good deeds. Some sixty residents in total including ex-residents currently living in temporary housing within the city assembled in the festival. After they raised Jizo left fallen since the disaster and held a Buddhist service to re-consecrate them, they prayed for those killed by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

【Local residents stood Jizo back the way they were two and half years ago.】
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The priest who hosted the Buddhist service gave a lecture saying "While we were able to hold this service today for the first time in three years, [given these circumstances,] I think it's unavoidable to alter the way we hold this service. Let's continuously develop our new practice together."
Currently 23 families including families whose houses were well out of being destroyed by the tsunami live in the town. On the same day, JEN donated Manekinoie House, a meeting place adaptable to other uses, to Maneki Community, a residents' association set up mainly by current residents after the disaster.

【The donation of Maneki House.】
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Maneki House is a facility where residents can have meeting or visiting volunteers can take a rest. It was immediately used to host a get-together on that day of donation. The name Maneki, meaning "invite people" as well as named after Maneki house that used to stand at the mouth of the Kitakami River so that it might guide Sengokubune sailing ships (large sailing ship with capacity for 1,000 koku of rice) across the river mouth when they sail into port, was chosen to "invite many more residents to come back to the town."
(Ishinomaki developed as a trading port from old times. But the change of ocean flow was so erratic at the mouth of the Kitakami River that sailing ships had difficulties to sail across the area. And so Maneki house was said to play a great role in piloting junks.)

【At the daytime get-together was performed a reconstruction dance which is prevalent among temporary housing.】

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【Volunteers from Aoyama Gakuin University sweated at preparing for the festival.】

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Now a national project for town re-demarcation is going on. But it is expected that it will take years of period for residents to be able to build new houses after the completion of the project. Community reconstruction requires many more time. Mr. Eiichi Honma, the head of community, said to us "I admit that I'm scared of tsunami, but at the same time I believe this place here is a wonderful land blessed with good natural environment and culture. And so I'd like to continue enhancing the atmosphere of our community so that many more residents may be able to return to their home town. Although we walk as slow as a snail, we are determined to move ahead step by step in hope. I'm going to hold events in every season using Maneki House."



===For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now

Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352


☆Radio Talk Show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki by JEN" Broadcast every Friday noon at 12:30. You can listen on the internet via Simul Radio anywhere in the world! Click here to listen(
http://www.fm764.jp/).
Well-received, the talk show will be rebroadcasted every Sunday morning at 9:30 from August. The appeal of Ishinomaki, Ishinomakians' determination to reconstruction will go out. Don't miss it.

August 29, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/22/2013

PC Class Takes Place at Town on the Sea

"I want to create leaflets for myself to advertise direct selling of sea products." "I'd like to exchange information with those who came to volunteer to help us after the disaster."
In response to residents' requirements as above, JEN has opened "Personal Computer class for the Use of ICT as Reconstruction Support " side by side with Reconstruction University and BHN Association, Specified Nonprofit Corporation Basic Human Needs Association.

【The PC class at Oharahama】
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On this day, the PC class at Oharahama gave the fourth lecture on the basics of Word and Excel in a hands-on form.

【"First, I want to make my business card.", as Mr. Takahashi said smiling.】
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Mr. Takahashi, a hog raiser, expressed enthusiasm to sell his pork products over the net all by himself, currently he is outsourcing the web selling though. Another person who has been running a restaurant since the disaster looks to print up the menu and poster of his restaurant, the other who runs an aquafarm learns how to manage his business more efficiently using Excel...every student in Oharahama is learning toward their goals at the class.

【He is learning how to use Facebook.】
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It's is particularly worth noting that many people at Oharahama are beginning to use social networking services like Facebook to get in touch with volunteers or supporters who came to help them after the disaster. Such connections over the net are keeping their spirits up.

===
====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now

Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

☆Radio Talk Show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki by JEN" Broadcast every Friday noon at 12:30. You can listen on the internet via Simul Radio anywhere in the world! Click here to listen(http://www.fm764.jp/).
Well-received, the talk show will be rebroadcasted every Sunday morning at 9:30 from August. The appeal of Ishinomaki, Ishinomakians' determination to reconstruction will go out. Don't miss it.

August 22, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/15/2013

The 3rd "Come to join fishing event!" Takes Place: Hands on Fishing Experience

On August 3-4, the third "Come to join fishing event!" was held at Higashihama on the Oshika Peninsula which was planned by an executive committee organized by local resident volunteers.

【With the rainy season over, the weather was perfect for fishing.】
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This year's program, the third, featured a lot of hands-on experience such as gill net fishing, cooking, get-together, beach cleanup, study tour of aquaculture facility and so on.

【Day one: the program's main attraction was to experience gill net fishing.】
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Participants hauled the gill net set two days in advance with hoists. A variety of fishes caught in the net were pulled up onto their boat one after another; flatfishes, mantis shrimps, coho salmons, greenlings, rock trout, sea urchin and so on. The participant even fishermen were surprised to see an astonishingly good haul.

【I caught a big flatfish!】
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【They also challenged to make sashimi.】
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During the experience of making sashimi under the guidance from fishermen, they were confused with large-sized fishes because they haven't cooked that big fishes. Also having local dishes served by Higashihama's women, they enjoyed the get-together.

【They experienced to make mother shells to raise oysters.】
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【Beach Cleaning】1
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【A crab caught in a net】
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In the morning on day two, breaking into two groups, they worked on making mother shells to raise oysters and beach cleaning respectively.

【Study tour of aquaculture facility】
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In the afternoon, they went on a study tour of aquaculture facility, learning how to culture oysters. "'When I came to Ishinomaki two years ago, an improbable sight was outspread before me. But today, as a fan of Higashihama, I was really glad to be able to get on with people here and have such a wonderful time.', ' Learning about fishery, I was able to have an unique experience of mixing with people in the community.'" As participants said, expressing a feeling of enjoyment.

Because "deepening the human interaction can enliven Higahsihama and so we want many more people to know Higashihama", members of the executive committee for "Come to join fishing event!" has began to plan next program. Next "Come to join fishing event!" is scheduled from November 23th to the 24th. Don't miss it!

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now

Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352


☆Radio Talk Show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki by JEN" Broadcast every Friday noon at 12:30. You can listen on the internet via Simul Radio anywhere in the world! Click here to listen..(Japanese Only)

Well-received, the talk show will be rebroadcasted every Sunday morning at 9:30 from August. The appeal of Ishinomaki, Ishinomakians' determination to reconstruction will go out. Don't miss it.

August 15, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/08/2013

Ishinomaki Kawabiraki River Festival Enlivens City Streets!

On July 31 and August 1 was held Ishinomaki Kawabiraki River Festival, a signature summer event of Ishinomaki.

【The whole city had a festive atmosphere!】
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The festival has never been called off even after the disaster and helped lift citizens' spirits every year. Crammed with stalls and stands all over, the city was crowded with family groups and many women in summer kimono.

【Every street food looks delicious.】
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It was after three years' absence that Magobe rowboat race as well as a dance to celebrate good catch, the festival's main attractions, made a successful comeback.

【Magobe rowboat race】
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In the Magobe rowboat race, boatmen compete on the speed of Magobe rowboat in the Old Kitakami River; that is about honoring Magobe Kawamura who laid the foundation of Ishinomaki's development.
Before the disaster damaged all eleven boats and kept the race from taking place for two years, the race had greatly contributed to pump up the festival with over eighty teams competing at its peak.

This year, however, four boats were newly built with assistance from around the country and a demonstration of reviving the race took place.

Rowing to male participants' powerful shouts to keep time, they glided boats down the river with strong oar work. That was really a sight to see.
Many more boats are scheduled to be built next year and so it's expected that the boat race will make a full comeback.

Elementary school pupils' yearly drum and fife band parade was also performed along shopping streets. Some 1,700 of pupils from seventeen municipal elementary schools participated in that parade.

【Both sides of a street was full of audience.】
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The drum and fife band during the river festival has long been familiar to citizens such that almost all of the children in Ishinomaki never fail to participate once. Among participating elementary schools are those schools whose music instruments had been damaged by the disaster. JEN have provided new instruments for them in the collaboration with mudef and so children's performance was a lot more touching.

【Children parade in the same uniform.】
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The number of visitors to the festival for two days was said to be 169,000, attracting 20,000 more than last year. In the last two years after the disaster, the festival was reduced in scale and so this year's turnout indicates that visitors are coming back to the festival. It was felt that Ishinomaki is gradually regaining what were all too real in the past, after seeing Magobe boat race reviving, the children's drum and fife band performing a parade and visitors happily smiling.

Hoping to see many more visitors smiling, JEN will continue to work on activities to enliven Ishinomaki.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/credit.php?country=s-thk&select1=0#now

Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact Tomita or Asakawa in JEN Tokyo Office at 03-5225-9352

☆Radio Talk Show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki by JEN" Broadcast every Friday noon at 12:30. You can listen on the internet via Simul Radio anywhere in the world! Click here to listen..(Japanese Only)

Well-received, the talk show will be rebroadcasted every Sunday morning at 9:30 from August. The appeal of Ishinomaki, Ishinomakians' determination to reconstruction will go out. Don't miss it.




【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE
HERE

August 8, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/01/2013

Subsequent Efforts to Maintain Flower Garden in front of Old Kadonowaki Elementary School Building, Kadonowaki District

I express heartfelt sympathy on behalf of the entire staff to those who've been damaged by storm rainfall around the country of late. I pray for their earliest possible recovery. Ishinomaki has also been damaged, such as streets being submerged, some of the temporary houses for survivors being flooded under floor level and so on, but no major human suffering has been reported.

Changing the subject, JEN's outreach initiative assisted students at Kadonowaki Junior High School in planting flowers in front of Kadonowaki Elementary School on June 26 (For more, click herehttp://jenhp.cocolog-nifty.com/jen_blog/tohoku_earthquake/index.html). Thanks to steady rain, those flowers are growing well. It is on what followed the activity that is picked up this time.

【A flower garden before schoolyard】
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The building of Kadonowaki Elementary School is now veiled with a curing sheet and its schoolyard is used as a temporary exercise ground for Ishinomaki Municipal Girls' School. The flower garden in front of the schoolyard is covered with pretty bloom. Small seedlings of sunflowers have now grown up a lot.

【Volunteers are helping in weeding.】
(Before)
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(After)
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As the flowers grow, pesky weeds also grow apace. Weeding has been entrusted to volunteers. Employees from RICOH Japan volunteered to weed on this day.

【Citizen volunteers water the flower garden.】
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JEN asked watering flowers of citizens living in and around Kadonowakicho, Ishinomaki, and they have agreed to do as a community initiative during the summer.

It is a handful of survivors who have rebuilt their houses in Kadonowaki district. It will take years of time for residents to be able to return to their renewed town which is yet to be re-demarcated. JEN is committed to helping to bring local communities to life through outreach initiatives that children and local people can work on together such as flower planting.

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◆General Information
Mr. Eiichi Honma, the director of Kadonowaki town's "Maneki community" was invited onto "Sukidaltsucha ❤ Ishinomaki by JEN", a radio talk show hosted by JEN, on July 19 to talk about his determination to reconstruct his town. Please listen to the archive of the talk show (Click
here). (Japanese Only)
"Maneki Community" is about reorganizing existing neighborhood associations for people living in Kadonowakicho to promote community activities. He says it was named after the traditional name of the place, punning on a Japanese word for "to invite many people", Maneku, because which sounds similar to it.

☆Radio Talk Show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki by JEN" Broadcast every Friday noon at 12:30. You can listen on the internet via Simul Radio anywhere in the world! Click here to listen.(Japanese Only)
Well-received, the talk show will be rebroadcasted every Sunday morning at 9:30 from August. The appeal of Ishinomaki, Ishinomakians' determination to reconstruction will go out. Don't miss it.



【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE
HERE

August 1, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/31/2013

Tale from a volunteer 5: Two and a half years had passed.

Recently, Jamie and I were fortunate enough to be able to volunteer in Ishinomaki. As we explored the city, the destruction from two years ago was still evident in some places. As we passed by open lots of land full of weeds, our friends from JEN would explain that these used to be neighborhoods until the tsunami swept them away. We could still see debris covering some of these lots with half-demolished houses bordering their outskirts. While a lot of rebuilding has taken place over the last two years and most of the clean-up work is done, it has taken and will take much longer for the psyches of those affected, to heal. One effort JEN has initiated to reclaim the land devastated by the tsunami is to plant flowers and create parks. It is their hope that as the scarred land heals and the flowers bloom, the people can see the beauty around them and begin to heal too. This has not been without difficulty though. The soil has become salty from the sea and special efforts have had to be taken to identify plants and flowers that thrive in salty conditions. However, as evident from the picture below, the flowers have bloomed and the land is beginning to recover and, with time, hopefully, the people will too.

We also traveled to Ajishima ( (6-7 July) to volunteer with JEN. There we met the fishermen and their families who lived there. Ten years ago there were a few thousand people on the island, but due to depopulation and the tsunami, only 400 people now live on the island. After the tsunami, circumstances were difficult. For three months, Ajishima was cut off from the mainland and supplies had to be airlifted in. The power and water lines that ran from the mainland to the island had been destroyed and the dock from which the islanders had fished from in their boats (fishing is the main occupation) had also disappeared under the waves. Furthermore, there was concern that the fish that comprised most of their diet and their trade were no longer edible due to radiation from the Fukishima nuclear disaster.

The villagers in Ajishima don't want to give up though and they have been working over the past two years to rebuild their homes, trade, and harbor. To assist with their efforts, JEN organized a group of volunteers to clean up several of the beaches. Ajihsima used to be known as having the best beaches in northern Japan but after the disaster, most of them have been unusable. We cleaned up the beaches, weeded the grounds, and planted new flowers to encourage more people to visit this beautiful island. The fishermen and ladies from the villages worked alongside us to restore their island and on Saturday night together we cooked a feast for everyone. The meal was almost entirely fish, the fruits of the fishermen's labor. I can honestly say I never knew there were so many sea animals you could eat! I watched the fishermen cut up live octopus, grill sea urchins while their legs were still moving, and scoop meat out of abalone shells and it was some of the most delicious food I have ever eaten! I am so grateful for the residents of Ajishima for letting us into their lives and giving us the opportunity to experience their lifestyle, even if it was only for a weekend.

Caitlin,



July 31, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake, Volunteer Infomarion |

07/25/2013

F-1 Reconstruction Gourmet Food Contest held in Oshika Noren Restaurant District

On July 21, F-1 Reconstruction Gourmet Food Contest (delicious, inexpensive, local food competition to promote reconstruction) took place at Oshika Noren Restaurant District in Aukawa on the finger of the Oshika Peninsula, with twelve reconstruction-gourmet-food stalls from Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima standing side by side.

【The contest had a large turnout soon after the opening!】
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This contest is about providing restaurant owners from reconstruction restaurant districts in disaster-stricken areas with selling the visitors of the contest reconstruction gourmet foods made of locally grown ingredients and deciding which gourmet food to win the No.1 position.

This year's contest, the third in the series, took place for the first time at Oshika Noren District that JEN has supported in setting up.

【Four food items from Ishinomkki joined the contest. Exquisite ones!】
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Four food items from Ishinomaki are pictured clockwise. The first one, upper left, Oshika Moby dog named after Moby-Dick, a type of hotdog made of tatsuta-age (marinated whale meat's deep fry) served in bun.

The second one, Orihama burger from Orihama, Ishinomaki, a type of hamburger filled with delicious oysters.

The third one, Takara-Ika-Meshi, boiled squid stuffed with rice, conger and green soybeans created by JEEN, a team of women from Sasunohama and Hamyu, a restaurant in Sasunohama.

The last one, Ishinomaki-Sanriku-Age, fried octopus-on-a-skewer wrapped with salmon and conger created by Ishinomaki Reconstruction Marche.

Every food is made of Ishinomkai's specialty ingredients, which enhanced the flavor of foods!

【Oshika Noren District's stall was full of stimulating conversation with its visitors.】
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【Hamayu's stall was busy and JEEN's Takara-Ika-Meshi was also well received!】
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Moby dog and Takara-Ika-Meshi became so received that all of them they prepared for the contest sold out.

【Scores of guests smacked their lips with reconstruction gourmet foods.】
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They said some 3,000 visitors, a figure double that of the previous contest, came to the F-1 Contest on this day.

The Grand Prix went to....

....Moby dog from Oshika Noren Restaurant District!

They say Moby dog enjoyed a runaway popularity, with the advantage for the contest to be held at home. That's really something! Mr. Ishinomori, the head of Oshika Noren Restaurant District, expressed his delight by saying "When I was up on the stage and awarded this trophy, I've come near to tears. I'm happy. My heart's too full for words!"

Not only the items of Ishinomaki's restaurants, was every item full of restaurant owners' wish that they would like the visitors to enjoy the taste of their local food. And that made every item taste even better. According to AMDA, the organizer of this contest, next F-1 contest is scheduled to take place in October of this year.

Hoping that every restaurant district uses this opportunity to lift the spirit of its community including Oshika Noren Restaurant District, JEN will continue to support the contest.

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE HERE

===
Have a pleasure of listening to JEN's radio program broadcasting from Tohoku via Ishinomaki Radio Station. Listening to our program, you can learn Ishinomaki's present state and about JEN. (Japanese Only)

For more about our program,
"Sukidaltsucha ❤Ishinomaki by JEN"(I Love Ishinoaki by JEN), click here).
===

July 25, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/18/2013

Now Radio Talk Show "Sukidatsucha ❤ Ishonomaki by JEN" Starts to Air

A radio program for Ishinomaki reconstruction, "Skidatsucha ❤Ishinomkai by JEN (I love Ishinomkai; Sponsored by JEN.)" via Ishinomaki Radio Station, began to be broadcast on July 5.

【The program is hosted by public relations staff at JEN Ishinomaki office.】
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This program will cover what's nice about Ishinomaki, what goes into what a gallery of fascinating people in Ishinomaki works on and what's going on in Ishinomaki now being on the road to reconstruction. The title for this program, "Skidatsucha Ishinomkai by JEN ", reflects JEN's wish to 'get many more people loving Ishinomaki and make life in Ishinomki more exciting'.

【The first guest, Ms. Emi Suda.】
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Ms. Suda is a certified fishery worker and quite active in many areas. She talked about Sasunohama's efforts toward reconstruction and her running restaurant "Hamayu."

【The second guest, Mr. Masanari Ishinomori.】
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On July 12, Mr. Ishinomori appeared on the program who owns a restaurant at Oshika Noren restaurant district and also runs a mobile fish-and-home-cooked-meal shop. Wanting to be help to people living in temporary housing who have difficulty in shopping, he started a mobile shop business after the disaster. He also serves as the director of Oshika Noren Restaurant District. He talked about the third F-1 Gourmet Food contest for Reconstruction that takes place on the 21th of this month.

Other guests have also been asked to appear, the next air on July 19, Ms. Junko Hiratsuka, after the next on 26th Mr. Eiichi Honma. Please tune your radio to 76.4 MHz FM, you may as well listen on the internet via Simul Radio anywhere in the world. Click here to listen to Ishinomaki Radio Station.

JEN is committed to continuing efforts to produce such a program that listeners begin to love Ishinmaki and can share a positive frame of mind. The program goes out live every Friday from 0:30 p.m. for thirty minutes. Do listen to it!  (Japanese Only)

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated. DONATE HERE

July 18, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/11/2013

Ajishirahama bathing beach to open!: volunteers clean up bathing beach

It is on July 19 that Ajishirahama bathing beach will open. That means that three bathing beaches in all will open this summer including Tsukihama in Higashimatsuhima city and Oshima in Kesennuma city that reopened last summer. Both on July 6th and the 7th, JEN Tohoku reconstruction assistance volunteers worked on cleaning up Ajishirahama bathing beach and weeding mountain trails together with local residents.

【Ajishirahama is an island with a circumference of 18 km and a population of 300. The land shown at right in the picture is the Oshika Peninsula.】
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【Volunteers were divided into removing sea wracks group and weeding group.】
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On the first day, volunteers work on weeding mountain trails and removing sea wracks on the beach. Local residents say the beach used to be an excellent place for children to do fishing before the disaster but the land subsidence due to the disaster has completely changed the island's coastal environment.

【Gatsukou of Ajishima Island, accommodations, is a reuse facility of closed junior high school.】
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Having done the day's work, the volunteers had a get-to-know-you party with islanders at Gatsukou of Ajishima Island. Island life, marine products and this island's future the volunteers heard from and talked with the islanders about.

【Day two, some seventy including islanders assembled in the beach cleanup.】
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On the second day, about seventy people including islanders worked on cleaning up Ajishirahama beach, that making the beach full of life.

【A photo showing people cleaning up the beach】
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Volunteer activities in Ajishima Island are just beginning. JEN believes that it's necessary to look for a better future of the island, through deepening dialogues with islanders, continued activities there. The activity in Ajishima Island becomes two-days-and-one-night program because of ferry limitations. The next activity is scheduled for August 11th and the 12th.
We are really looking forward to your participation.

【Do come back again!】
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【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated. DONATE HERE

===
Have a pleasure of listening to JEN's radio program broadcasting from Tohoku via Ishinomaki Radio Station. Listening to our program, you can learn Ishinomaki's present state and about JEN. For more about our program, "Sukidaltsucha ❤Ishinomaki by JEN"(I Love Ishinoaki by JEN), click here
).
===

July 11, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/04/2013

250 rally for flower movement before Kadonowaki elementary school

Following last week's report let me introduce another example of the "Spreading Flower Garden through Human Connection Movement" which continues spreading very wide.
That movement, starting with JEN's sympathy for students' wish to color streets in Kadonowaki district that have gone gray since the disaster with flowers, is to create flower gardens with the help of many volunteers and citizens. On June 26, 148 second-year junior high school students at Sakushin Gakuin school arrived at Kadonowaki district on a tour of on-site study. It was 107 second-year junior high school students at Kadonowaki junior high school who welcomed them. The students of Sakushin Gakuin school, wanting to be a help to reconstruction if only a little!, came to volunteer for creating flower gardens.

【Students of both schools planted flowers together.】
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The students pulled out the weeds. Male students played an active role in carrying soil. About 15,000 of sunflowers, marigold and others have been planted by them. While working together, students from both schools gradually became open up to each other and everybody seemed to be having a good time to chat.

【They work in sight of Kadonowaki elementary school destroyed by fire.】
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This flower garden movement originally came from an idea of students at Kadonowaki junior high school that they thought planting flowers around their destroyed school could be a reconstruction support during the integrated study period named "Our program to reconstruct Ishinomaki."
So far their idea had never got off the drawing board because the redevelopment plan of schools in Ishinomaki city had yet to be decided, but recently they were allowed to plant flowers at Kadonowaki elementary school and able to put their idea into practice on that day.
Many flowers of various colors added color to the neighborhood of destroyed Kadonowaki elementary school, forming a flower garden.

【Wonderful singing voice】
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After the students got the day's work done, half the tulip bulbs dug up by them were handed from Kadonowaki junior high school to Sakushin Gakuin and they pledged to spread the movement in their own areas. Students from Sakushin Gakuin in return sang "Hana wa saku", a song of reconstruction support, in chorus. Moreover, they came with a banner reads "Generate the buzz of Kadonowaki!" The students' clear singing voice was ringing out, leaving a lasting impression.

【Meet again!】
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【Good work today!】
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On this day alone, fifteen flower gardens appeared in Kadonowaki district. Given an appreciation from a resident saying "How kind of you to make beautiful flower gardens!", that made me feel that the movement is beginning to make difference to connection among people. JEN will continue working on making flower gardens to connect people along with students and local people.

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE
HERE

July 4, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

06/27/2013

Kadonowaki flower movement bonds 120 people: JEN volunteer entry passes the 10,000-mark.

A movement of "Spread Flower Garden through Human Connection" started in November 2012 in Kadonowaki district has definitely broadened, which movement came from Ishinomki municipal junior high school students' wish to add color to gray streets. Knowing the movement, Team Dragon JIN, a volunteer organization based in Nasukarasuyama city, Tochigi prefecture, arranged for some 100 pupils and students to plant flowers on June 22, and so they did; the students and pupils are from nine schools in all including elementary, junior high and high schools in the same city.

【They set out 5:30 a.m. for Ishinomaki.】
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The pupils and students brought around some 3,000 flower seedlings to plant which they had raised. It was a clear nice day. Covered in sweat, they worked on plowing out rubbles, furrowing a flower garden and then carefully planting sunflowers and so on.

【The second right is Nasukarasuyama Mayor Norio Otani.】
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They say Nasukarasuyama is the only city where temporary housing for disaster survivors was set up in Tochigi prefecture and two citizens were killed by the Tohoku earthquake.
Not only did they plant, they stood together before a signboard with a slogan "Hang in and Chin up Ishinomakians!" on it to place their hands in prayer after offering flowers to the signboard. One of them said to us "It would be nice if the flowers we plated could bring smiles to people's faces in Ishinomaki."
A citizen group from Ishinomaki, a total of twenty-four children and their parents, also took part in making the flower garden; the children are members of Miyagi Kin-Ball Club. It was a colorful, round flower garden designed to look like a big ball that they have made.

【Enclose the flower garden circularly with fences.】
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【A colorful flower garden】
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They worked hard and so it took very little time to finish making a wonderful flower garden.

【They boast their achievement in a posture of expressing "We did it!"】
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The very land lot where they planted flowers used to be a residential area before the disaster. Thanks to the land owner who used to live there as well as volunteers including local citizen group, Kadonowaki junior high school students' wish is beginning to develop into a movement that they envisioned. On the 26th of this month, some 150 students at Sakushin Gakuin junior high school in Tochigi prefecture will come to Ishinomaki and join about 100 Kadowaki junior high school students in promoting the movement as their on-site study.

JEN invites all of you to come to enjoy flowers at their best in Kadonowaki district. And the day marked a memorable milestone that a total of 10,000 volunteers have participated JEN's Tohoku reconstruction assistance project since its emergency-relief work started. JEN feels strong gratitude for so many people participating JEN's project. Thanks so much. JEN is committed continuing to recruit volunteers and promote exchange events including making flower gardens with students and so on. So JEN is looking forward to your continued support.

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE HERE

June 27, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

06/20/2013

Volunteers improve learning environment for pupils at elementary schools on the Oshika Peninsula

On June 12, seventeen employees from UNIQLO, dividing into two groups, did volunteer work at two elementary schools on the Oshika Peninsula. JEN has got involved in assistance activities for schools in the city of Ishinomaki, cooperating with UNIQLO for the implementation of "UNIQLO Reconstruction Backup Program." The volunteer work at Oohara elementary school was to paint outdoor play equipments. The employees repainted the equipments left to rust and lose color in glowing colors like yellow, light blue and white with paint smeared on their hands, faces and clothes.
A day-long volunteer work wonderfully renewed many types of equipment such as fencing around schoolyard, soccer goalposts, benches, monkey bars, slides, overhead ladders, exercising bars, swings and so on.

【They keep painting without saying a word!】
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【It took the seven of them to finish painting monkey bars.】
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A cheer of "Oh, Wow!" from pupils the freshly-painted equipments drew.
These employees couldn't wait to see pupils play with the equipments. They shared school lunches with the pupils and then sweated from playing dodgeball together at lunch break.

【Pupils were running energetically around at the playground】
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On the other hand, Ogihama elementary school's pupils got their pool cleaned.

【Volunteers made the dirty pool sparkle!】
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Ogihama elementary school's pupil enrolled has decreased to only four as one of them transferred to another school this spring. Learning at a school with the smallest number of pupils in Miyagi prefecture, they looked happy having a rare time contacting with so many people outside. Now that more than two years have passed after the disaster, elementary schools in Ishinomaki city face diverse problems with pupils' learning environment, play areas and so on. JEN is committed to continuing its support efforts so that pupils may be able to learn in a better environment or play freely.



【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE HERE(
http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/index.php)】

June 20, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

06/13/2013

Cover distress areas by flowers!: Volunteers plant flowers, dig up tulip bulbs

On June 9, volunteers worked on plowing out 13,000 bulbs of tulips and planting new flower sets at Kamikama Fureai Park.

【Marigold and moss pink have been planted.】
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Bulbs plowed out are kept carefully in a safe place until next planting in fall.
Besides, people in the same town who joined the volunteer work have willingly accepted to bring back some of the bulbs back to their home and plant them in a good light. We look forward to seeing tulip bulbs formed in the park flowering in many areas of the town next spring. The park was crowded with about fifty volunteers who joined the work, including leaders of the town's association, townspeople and people from outside the town.

Although that was a demanding task in the strong sunshine, one of the volunteers from outside Ishinomaki said to us "I could have an opportunity to work with people in Ishinomaki while hearing their stories and got exercise, so I had a great holiday."
Thanks to the support of "Hana Hana Midori Foundation" (a foundation set up by donations from people who agreed to deliver flower to disaster-stricken Tohoku and run by FELISSIMO's Fund Executive Office), the sets of marigold and moss pink were provided for the park.

JEN works on support programs to encourage community activities, promote restoration of firm lands and so on. In so doing, JEN continues implementing support programs such that many people can associate with others and join together in recovering disaster-stricken areas.

It's also worth noting that JEN asks for volunteers to clean up a beach with islanders in Amijishima Island on July 6th and the 7th, which island is home to 400 people. For details, click here
.
We hope that you will be joining us.

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated. DONATE HERE

June 13, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

06/06/2013

New staff member joins JEN Ishinomaki office

JEN Ishinomaki Office brought in a new staff member on May 24! He is going to take charge primarily of recruiting and sending volunteers. He is Mr. Kondo. He, born in Heisei Period (1989- ), is the youngest staff member in JEN Ishinomaki.

 

"Hi to all. I've joined the staff of JEN Ishinomaki office. My name is Shotaro Kondo. I do hope to challenge to help my hometown in its efforts toward reconstruction; work on many reconstruction assistance programs. JEN has years of experience in conducting assistance activities. So I think JEN can provide opportunities for me to meet those challenges. Well, I'm still new, so I've got to settle into new jobs at first. I'll start with fulfillment of my assignments and responsibilities; continue with generation of my own ideas, then implementation of them."

 

【JEN's team of recruiting and sending volunteers Mr. Kondo is pictured at the middle in the photo.】
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【On July 1, volunteers did yard work at a flowerbed near Kadowaki Elementary school.】
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JEN's activity to recruit and send volunteers aims at helping rebuild a new town through bringing together those who need help from volunteers and volunteers from both inside and outside afflicted areas who hope to do all what they can do for Tohoku's
reconstruction.

It's planed that volunteers along with second graders of Kadowaki junior high school will work on creating flower garden and planting flowers on Saturday 26th of June, where yard work was done on July 1. JEN is recruiting volunteers to help with work of the day. For more information on the application procedures, click
here In addition), JEN's plan for assistance program consists of sending volunteers to support the recovery of fishery industries, cleaning up the shore of Amijishima and so on. All of JEN staff members hope that you are involved in our programs!

 

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated. DONATE HERE

June 6, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/30/2013

Evacuees learn hula

For two days from May 25, evacuees living in temporary housing complex had an opportunity to attend a hula dance class opened at meeting halls inside the temporary housing complex of Sandanbashiri-daiichi and Otsupagawa-kasen. Among the oldest in the sixteen evacuees came to the class taken place in Otsupagawa-kasen temporary complex was a 92-year-old woman. Even the elderly whose hips and legs make it harder for them to move around challenged to dance the hula, for it's possible for them to do the hula with their hands waving in the chair.
With hair accessories and hula skirt on, they seemed to feel like they were in Hawaii.

【Motion of hands represents waves.】
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Every motion of hula has its own meaning associated love and Hawaiian sea and nature. Hula's dance-movements being performed slowly, it's not simple as it seems and so they struggled to follow the lessons at first.

【They are getting quite good inch by inch.】
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Seven instructors who are with MITSUI & CO., LTD came from Tokyo.
Taking advantage of their skills, they have volunteered to help JEN work on community assistance since last May and this was the third visit for them to instruct evacuees in dancing the hula. Some evacuees were sweating from dancing and others were dancing with a smile learning how to wave hands or make steps from the instructors one-by-one.

【They make sure how to step.】
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When the movement of their feet is joined together with that of their hands, that makes them look doing the hula.
Even first-time participants learned to dance to music through at the end of the class, thanks to careful and friendly instructions.

【They take a photo in aloha pose, Hawaiians'' hello.】
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After the class, they looked feeling fulfilled.
Feeling fulfilled after the class, the elderly who had had few chances to exercise requested JEN saying "I real enjoyed getting exercise after quite an absence. Come back soon." JEN will continue to work on community assistance like this. Your support would be very much appreciated.

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE HERE

May 30, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/24/2013

Call for volunteers in Tohoku until the end of June, 2013.

Call for volunteers in Tohoku until the end of June, 2013

The volunteering dates and work details from April 2013 are as follows. We look forward to your participation.

*Application form and Volunteer Guide have been renewed. Please make sure that the correct form and guide are used, even if you are not a first-time participant. (Renewed on March 28, 2013)

【Application form】 Download「b_application_jpn201204__20130328itoukk.doc」

【Volunteer Guide】 Download「d_20130327_itou.docx」

********Volunteering dates********

【April】       

Date    Day       Work details                     Note

1    Mon          
2    Tue          
3    Wed          
4    Thu    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
5    Fri    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
6    Sat    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
7    Sun    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
8    Mon       
9    Tue        
10    Wed           
11    Thu    Spring festival assistance in Momonoura        *Application closed
12    Fri    Spring festival assistance in Momonoura        *Application closed
13    Sat    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
14    Sun    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
15    Mon          
16    Tue          
17    Wed          
18    Thu    Restoration of agricultural land
19    Fri    Restoration of agricultural land
20    Sat          
21    Sun          
22    Mon    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
23    Tue    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
24    Wed    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
25    Thu    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
26    Fri    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
27    Sat          
28    Sun    Flowerbed making                    Kadonowakicho
29    Mon    Flowerbed making
30    Tue         

【May】

Date    Day    Work Details                    Note

1    Wed
2    Thu          
3    Fri    Support activities for fishery industry        Yagawahama
4    Sat    Support activities for fishery industry        Yagawahama
5    Sun    Watanoha-Myojinsha festival            Watanoha
6    Mon    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
7    Tue    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
8    Wed    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
9    Thu    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
10    Fri    Support activities for fishery industry        *Application closed
11    Sat          
12    Sun         
13    Mon          
14    Tue          
15    Wed          
16    Thu    Beach clean-up                    Shirahama, Jusanhama
17    Fri    Beach clean-up                    Shirahama, Jusanhama
18    Sat    Flowerbed making                    Kadonowakicho
19    Sun    Flowerbed making                    Kadonowakicho
20    Mon          
21    Tue          
22    Wed          
23    Thu          
24    Fri          
25    Sat    Flowerbed making                    Kadonowakicho
26    Sun    Flowerbed making                    Kadonowakicho
27    Mon          
28    Tue          
29    Wed          
30    Thu    Support activities for fishery industry        Yagawahama
31    Fri    Support activities for fishery industry        Yagawahama

【June】

Date    Day    Work Details                    Note

1    Sat    Flowerbed making                    Kadonowakicho
2    Sun    Flowerbed making                    Kadonowakicho
3    Mon          
4    Tue          
5    Wed          
6    Thu          
7    Fri          
8    Sat    Support activities for fishery industry        Yagawahama
9    Sun    Flowerbed making
10    Mon          
11    Tue          
12    Wed          
13    Thu    Support activities for fishery industry        Higashihama
14    Fri    Support activities for fishery industry        Higashihama
15    Sat    Restoration of agricultural land            Kamigama district
16    Sun    Restoration of agricultural land            Kamigama district
17    Mon          
18    Tue          
19    Wed          
20    Thu          
21    Fri          
22    Sat    Support activities for fishery industry        Higashihama
23    Sun    Support activities for fishery industry        Higashihama
24    Mon         
25    Tue          
26    Wed    Flowerbed making                    Kadonowakicho
27    Thu    Flowerbed making                    Kadonowakicho
28    Fri    Flowerbed making                    Kadonowakicho
29    Sat    Support activities for fishery industry        Yagawahama
30    Sun    Support activities for fishery industry        Yagawahama

*Please note that details of work may vary according to weather and due to the Ishinomaki Office’s requests. We will be adding the schedule for volunteering from July on the website around May.

********************************
The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami brought enormous damage to the Tohoku district on March 11. From right after the disaster to the end of December 2012 a total of more than 8,300 volunteers have participated in recovering towns and cities including cleaning off houses wrecked by sludge and debris, dredging up mud from ditches and transporting supplies to temporary housing through JEN volunteer dispatch program.
As time goes by, volunteer work has shifted from 'emergency-relief' which requires heavy work like removing debris and cleaning up side ditches to 'reconstruction assistance' which involves revitalizing fishery industry and supporting daily life of people living in temporary housing. JEN makes its motto to 'support effort to live through' and continues its mid and long term assistance.
We want you to continue to participate in volunteer work so that those people may be able to stand at the threshold of returning to their previous life as soon as quickly and we together may be able to inspire them to think positive.

<Terms and Conditions>
1.    Transportation to and from Ishinomaki office or accommodation must be organized by volunteers.
2.    When volunteers use the accommodation, they stay with some other volunteers.
3.    Volunteers need to bring work clothes and equipment (rubber boots, rubber gloves, long sleeve T-shirt and trousers).
4.    Volunteers need to be covered by volunteering insurance.

Meeting Time: 8:00 a.m.
Meeting Place: JEN Ishinomaki Office; SASADENBILL 201 3-13 Isenba Ishinomaki City; 5 minutes’ walk from JR Ishinomaki Station, and dismiss at the same place.
*Orientation is essential for first-time participants. (Refer to Volunteer Guide for more information)
*Volunteers must work for at least one full day.
*Application deadline: 5:00 p.m. one week before your work day.
*Maximum number of volunteers: Approx. 20 each day
*Managing fee of 1,000 yen per person per night will be applied to use of the lodge. (Up to 5,000 yen in case of a consecutive stay of more than one night. The amended fee came into effect on April 1st, 2013)Please note that managing fee has been raised to 1,000 yen due to renovation of the lodge to provide comfortable stay. Your understanding and cooperation will be greatly appreciated.

<Work Details>
◆Helping recover fishery industry
◆Helping recover agricultural industry
◆Helping various events held by the local community
◆Cleaning up damaged mountain streams, shrines and parks where children play
*We would like volunteers to help what is desperately-needed. We adjust volunteer work to match the changing needs of assistance. Thank you for your understanding.

<Additional Information>
◆The time and place of application are subject to change and so please make sure    to go over JEN's website before you set out for volunteer work.
◆JEN will contact volunteers by email or phone to confirm application of volunteers.
◆Application will be closed once we reach the quota (20people /each time). When we didn’t reach the quota, there is a possibility that you can join as a volunteer even after the deadline; please contact us individually.
◆There is a possibility that work will be cancelled in case of unfavorable weather.
◆As the office is small, there aren't enough space for volunteers to wait. Please assemble approx. 5 minutes before the meeting time.

<Volunteer Insurance>
It is mandatory to join the Volunteering Insurance before applying volunteer of JEN.
Please join it at your nearest Japan National Council of Social Welfare. Once applied, it is valid for one year from April 1 to March 31 but it doesn’t get renewed automatically.

<Application>
The leaflet tells you how to apply; fill in the application form; send it by E-mail or Fax with the document to prove that you have joined the Volunteer Insurance.
Attention: If you haven’t joined the Volunteer Insurance, the application does not be completed.

<Contact Us>
Email: volunteer@jen-npo.org for inquiries.
Tel: 0225-25-5611
Office hours: 9:00 a.m. to 18:00 p.m. on weekdays

====
 Urgent appeal for contributions

 ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account: 00170-2-538657
  Account holder’s name: JEN
  *Enter “the Great East Japan Earthquake” into the reference column.

○By credit card: http://bit.ly/c7R8iA
  *Choose “the Great East Japan Earthquake” from a pull-down menu

In reference to bank wire, please contact Tomita or Asagawa in JEN Tokyo Office (03-5225-9352 ).

May 24, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake, Volunteer Infomarion |

05/23/2013

Sasunohama's seaside diner "Hamayu" adding many more new items

Okasan, middle-aged women who run a seaside diner Hamayuu on the Sasunohama beach, are creating and adding many more new dishes to its menu. Opening hours have been extended as follows: Tue-Sun 11.30AM-2.00PM Mon Closed. For details on past activities related to Hamayu, click here.

【Today's special includes fried conger with salad, rice, miso soup, pickles and so on. Perfect amount and flavor 】
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Today's special features very fresh conger landed at a nearby fishery harbor, Mnagokuura.

【Noodles are also on the menu. Cold soba with grated yam on top.】
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【The diner is busy with customers who work on disaster restoring operations and visitors from other prefectures.】
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Its menu includes daily lunch special, bowl of rice topped with fried seasonal conger, dishes with end-of-season oyster; noodles such as cold karamiso ramen, yaki soba; rice with crab meat, bowl of rice with fried prawn, mountain vegetables cooked in tempura and so on. Not only that, say they that they are going to add dishes using gradients which are coming into season from now to summer this year such as cuttlefish, mantis shrimp and so on.

◆Sasunohama's seaside diner "Hamayu":
-The address for Hamayu is; Sasunohama, Tonami, Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi-ken 986-2135.

-How to find us; drive your car toward Tonami on Route 398, make a right turn at the Mangokuura intersection and drive into Route2, cross the Mangokuhara bridge, make a right turn at next traffic light heading for Sant Juan Park, and drive ahead about 500 meters after going through a tunnel; You can take a labarum on the left as the landmark of Hamayu; It takes about 25 minutes by car from Ishinomaki station.

-The store hours are Saturday-Sunday 0 p.m.-2 p.m.

-Please contact Mr. Hosokawa (the head of Executive Committee for Oyster Grill) at 090-8256-1376.

In Sasunohama, many evacuees are forced to live in temporary housing yet. Hamayu functions as not only an eating facility but a hub of intra-and-inter-regional exchanges. Revenue generated by its meal service is used to maintain its own facilities. A major accommodation, Sant Juan Village, did have its grand opening on April 27, so we invite you to take this opportunity to visit Sasunohama. Fresh seafood and smile on everybody's face in Sasunohama await you.


【DONATE
HERE

May 23, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/17/2013

Kamikama Fureai Park with 13,000 bulbs of tulips blossoming gloriously

【Marvelous 13,000 bulbs of flowering tulips】
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The tulips in Kamikam Fueai Park in Ishinomaki that were planted last October are now at their peak. Now being the best time to view, Kamikama's neighborhood association was motivated not to lose an excellent opportunity for a hanami (flower-viewing) party and so it was held on April 28. (A photo of last year's planting)

【Hanami potluck party of Kamikama neighborhood association】
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Many people turned out and engaged in animated conversation, enjoying marvelously blooming tulips. These days, when you talk with local people, you can hear them say "'I feel lonely to see our town without attractive color.' 'We have lost the sense of seasons recently.'" Planting and cultivating flowers in public places will not only bring about a direct effect to add color to people's lifestyles in towns but lead to the revitalization of local communities like this hanami party. JEN continues encouraging people in afflicted areas in creating better communities by themselves and continues assisting community activities.

May 17, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/16/2013

Mental health issues in shelters: JEN's efforts to heal scars of evacuees by seeking space for relaxation

In this report, one of JEN's latest activities is introduced that provide psychological care for evacuees in temporary housing.
JEN continues addressing mental health issues in temporary housing complex with help from a support organization, Recovery for Japan, or RFG. RFG is a group with varied experts such as clinical psychotherapists, body organizers and nursing assistants, and has been involved in implementing care from technical perspective in disaster-stricken areas right after the disaster.

【A picture of Cafe of Relaxation 】
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Our primary psychological cares are giving massage and lending an ear to evacuees as well as providing places for relaxation in a variety of ways. In the latest activity, JEN's staff member together with evacuees in temporary housing made snacks using locally grown fresh ingredient and sang to the piano accompaniment. The makeup of people who assemble in the Cafe of Relaxation is different---sometimes more elderly people and less children and other times otherwise---depending on the day of the week or the place where it is held. In every activity, JEN, making all kinds of efforts flexibly, focuses on creating and providing an atmosphere where people can do feel relaxed and refreshed.
For example, upon picking up information about what problems evacuees have at temporary housing complex's assembly room, JEN's staff members follow up on them such as visiting elderly people who have tendency to stay indoors or offering advice to mothers who are overwhelmed by responsibility of raising child.

【Women enjoy a tapping massage one at a time.】
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As many as 15,950 people of 6,995 families still live in temporary housing in the city of Ishinomaki (as of May 2013). Evacuees' issues vary family to family or according to which temporary housing complex they live; some families steadily make strides toward rebuilding their lives while others need particular, continued support because they have individual problems such as the isolation of elderly people within families, children's stress disorder and so on. JEN is committed to providing mental health care for evacuees living in temporary housing. Your continued support will be greatly appreciated.

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku.
Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE HERE(
http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/index.php)】

May 16, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/09/2013

Event "Making handcrafting into jobs; Handicrafts market, Hands-on exhibit in Ishinomaki" very well attended

On May 4, an event was put that aimed at giving a leg up to women who make handicrafts in Ishinomaki. The event was thronged with many people immediately after it opened. Such was the variety of goods on display at the booths of eleven handicraft organizations including cute, pretty jewelry and accessories that it was uneasy for visitors to decide which to choose.

【The event attracted about 200 visitors from within and without Ishinomaki.】
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Those who opened up booths, spoken to by visitors like "So many nice goods really supply the eye-candy!", looked happy receiving visitors. It could be seen here and there that the booth keepers, asked how to make their products, tell not only visitors but other stall keepers about their products.

【With smiles on faces, stall keepers had guests.】
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The event featured hands-on crafting experience. Visitors were able to have opportunities to experience "weaving", "crafting clam shell jewelries" and "making Hawaiian jewelries" with help from three booth keepers.

【Visitors made coasters at hands-on weaving experience.】
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The hands-on crafting experience is all about getting visitors motivated to craft goods for themselves in the hope that they can have not only fun in their lives through association with others, but an opportunity to take part in the handicraft organizations as partners. As a result, among the participants in AMIS workshop's hands-on weaving experience, several people have decided to join in AMIS's future activities. It was really great that this event was able to help create new relationship between local people.

【Children were excited at a booth for kids.】
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Children were trying out "making their own bags" using fabric crayons at the booth for kids. Nice bags were created one after another. Much to the delight of the organizer of this event, many visitors called the organizer and said to the organizer that they'd like to sell goods that they crafted during the event.
The event was able to achieve a great deal of success in helping women who do handicrafts create earnings and gain access to markets as well as in offering a platform to exchange information. The organizer is thinking of expanding people-to-people exchange much broader at next event. The next event is expected to take place somewhere around October this year. JEN will continue supporting women in Ishinomaki. Should you be interested, please contact JEN Ishinomaki office.

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku.
Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE HERE

May 9, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/02/2013

RICOH new hires working on social action program in Minamisarikucho

RIHOH has sent its new recruits to engage in a social program as part of its employee training. The season for harvesting wakame seaweed and mekabu( the root of wakame) is here in fishery villages within the Sanriku area including Minamisannrikuchou. New recruits helped fishermen in shipping wakame and mekabu at ten fishery villages.

【New recruits are cutting off mekabu from wakame together with fishermen.】
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They deepened the relationship with local residents in the fishery villages, through helping them out, learning firsthand what's going on in disaster-stricken areas. Not only that, returning their lodging from daytime activities, they listened to a storyteller telling them his/her personal experiences of the tsunami disaster or they, broken into separate groups, shared what everyone had realized and learned with the others within each group so that they might be able to improve their understanding,

【A photo showing how new recruits are receiving training.】
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JEN has been accepting trainee employees from companies as volunteers to get them participated in JEN's programs, which promote personal exchanges between volunteers and residents in disaster stricken areas and help disaster survivors make a living. In this latest program, a total of 214 new recruits from RICOH, divided into two groups, have worked on the program for four days. It's hoped that a growing number of young people visit the disaster stricken areas and are concerned about the future of those areas even after they get home.

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE HERE(
http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/index.php)】

May 2, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

04/18/2013

"Come, join our fishery event: harvest, taste wakame, shrimp!" takes place

The second "Come and join our fishery event" was organized by a fishery community in Higashihama and held with help from JEN at Higashihama on the Oshika Peninsula for two days starting from April 13.
This event, born out of an idea of fishermen in Higashihama, is to help drive their reconstruction effort through a hands-on experience tour that introduces people across the country enjoying Higashihama's rich four seasons throughout the year.
The youngest participant in the current event was a girl aged only four.

【The Kitsunezaki fishery center, it's where participants stay for two days.】
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On the first day, participants had an opportunity to experience gillnetting fish at Makinohama. First they went out on a boat led by two local fishermen, then draw up a gill net pre-laid at the bottom of the sea.

【Will mantis shrimp be caught in the net?】
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The net was 75 meters long. They managed to haul up the net shouting "Terrific!, It's really heavy!" It was then...

【...Come on! Mantis shrimp! ...that they found a mantis shrimp caught in the net.】
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The net caught a mantis shrimp they were looking for and they shouted for joy!

【This many fish catches!】
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Although they had only one mantis shrimp due to a lower temperature, they hauled up netted fishes one after another including flatfish, crabs, dark sleepers and so on, enjoying their first experience of gillnetting fish. After getting ashore, they also had a go at cooking fishes they caught for their dinner. They, being taught how to cook by the local fishermen and their wives, struggled with making dishes of flatfish sashimi (thinly-sliced fresh raw fillet of fish), dark sleeper namerou (raw fish thinly sliced and mixed well with miso and chopped finely with a knife) and so on.

The wives of the fishermen brought their favorite local dishes for the participants. Don't you think it makes everything taste better to eat fish of your own netting and cooking? The fish that you netted and cooked for yourself is especially delicious.

【Bottoms up! They had an exciting party.】
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On the second day, they experienced harvesting wakame seaweed at Sudachihama.
"Zowie!, Great!" They were thrilled by their first sight of wakame farming rafts.

【Original wakame, a sight to see!】
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The truth is, the spring-shaped thing you can see at the top of the wakame, being chopped into pieces, makes mekabu, popular food available in packs at stores. While surprised by that never-seen-before shape, they had an enjoyable experience in harvesting wakame.

【They are caught up in harvesting wakame.】
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For lunch, they had shabu-shabu-style cooked wakame fresh from the sea under the blue sky (shub-shub: thinly sliced meat boiled quickly and dipped in sauce).

【When you put brown mekabu into hot water…】
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【It turns fresh green.】
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They also enjoyed other delicious dishes that all featured fresh wakame, including boiled rice with mekabu mashed until it became sticky on it, miso soup with mekabu in it and so on.
After two days of enjoyable experience, JEN could hear each participant giving their positively-phrased impressions on this event as "'I want to come back.', 'I'll tell people what I've learned in Higashihama or Ishinomaki when I get home.', 'I'll remember fishermen whenever I eat wakame or oysters.'"

At seeing the people of Higashihama exchanging with the participants under the good weather, JEN now has renewed its determination to continue to support them in enriching their new event.

Don't miss the next event!

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE HERE(
http://www.jen-npo.org/en/contribute/index.php)】

April 18, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

04/11/2013

Tulips thriving on in Kamikama Freiendship Park!

It won't be long before the tulip buds bloom that had been planted in the flowerbed within Kamikama Friendship Park in the city of Ishinomaki. The pines and other plants in the park have been cut down because the tsunami triggered by the Tohoku earthquake had ravaged the park and caused them to die. That got the park deserted. JEN was not able to stand by this situation and so worked on creating a flowerbed in the park and planting 10,000 tulip bulbs in the flowerbed with the help of about seventy people including local residents and volunteers from across the country last October. There was concern that those tulip bulbs may be harmed by salt in the soil of the flowerbed, because the soil was polluted by tsunami brought seawater. Despite the concern, they are growing well in the sun under beautiful spring weather.

【Lushly thriving tulips!】
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They also planted azalea, the flower that symbolizes the city of Ishinomaki.
I wonder it would be a long time before these flowers start blooming like they used to?

【Azaleas are also asserting themselves.】
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In the flowerbed, weeds were beginning to sprout on account of beautiful weather. JEN is going to clear those weeds with help of local residents on April 18. JEN is accepting volunteers who can help us with weeding. Anyone who is interested is urged to join JEN's activity.

【Many people can't wait to enjoy the opening of the tulips in the flowerbed near the gate to the park.】
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The tulips are expected to be in full bloom around the time of Golden Week holidays. JEN hopes those who helped us with planting the tulip bulbs before come to Ishinomaki and enjoy the beauty of the flowers in all glory.

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE HERE

April 11, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

04/04/2013

Greek pianist Panos Karan visits Ishinomaki

Panos Kanon has joined with JEN in implementing assistance activities in Tohoku since the disaster.
On March 25 this year, he arrived in Ishinomaki and left the next day. It was his fourth visit to Ishinomaki on his music outreach tour in Japan.

【Panos Karan is pictured right. His friend, flutist Zach Tarpagos, also participated in his tour this time.】
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He expressed his thoughts as "I'd like to let survivors know that the world will not forget Tohoku." During his two-day concert tour at five places including temporary housing and local community places, he fascinated his audience with a gentle, soothing melody yet with great verve,

【Ladies respond to Panon Kanran's excellent performance with a smile.】
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As was an expression of welcome to his concert held at Ogihama Elementary school of five pupils in the Oshika Peninsula, the moment he entered the school building, the curtain went up and all of the pupils surprised him with their powerful rolling of taiko---Japanese drum. 
Mr. Panos Karan got such a pleasant surprise that he gave an involuntary cry "Sugoi!! ( 'Great playing' in Japanese)."

【Exciting rolling of taiko can be heard!】
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His concerts drew many community people, who enjoyed not only his playing but fooling or sharing a laugh with him after the concert,

【The audience at N's-SQUARE(Kanomata, Ishinomaki city) enjoyed a performance in a relaxed environment.】
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Everybody who listened to his performance expressed their hearty thanks to him. A participants said to him "'I've been feeling depressed but your music has relieved my worries.', 'I was really touched by your music. Thank you for playing.'"
That two-day concert tour gave us a new appreciation for the power of music.
At the end of the tour, Panos Karan described his feelings as "I've got to love Tohoku. I'll have to make hundreds of visits in the future."
JEN is committed to continuing its efforts to restore peace of mind to disaster victims.

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated. DONATE HERE

April 4, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/28/2013

Shrine's priest, parishioners appreciate JEN's efforts.

 

The following photo shows volunteers doing a tough job at the Watanoha-Myoujinsha shrine in May, 2011.

 They raise fallen gravestones and then clean them.
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Many volunteers from home and overseas did volunteer work at that shrine.

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On March 20, twenty-two months after that volunteer work, the Watanoha-Myoujinsha shrine held a ceremony to unveil a renewed shrine building.

 You can see the cemetery in the back of the photo below, where volunteers worked.
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JEN staff members were invited to the ceremony.

 Giving Shinto prayers, the chief priest of the shrine introduced JEN's volunteering activities to those gathered.

 

The priest introduces JEN's staff members to participants.
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The chief priest said to the participants "Just as I'd like to thank JEN for helping us clear the precincts of our shrine of rubbles or raise fallen gravestones, so I think this is something that our parishioners should know."

 As many as forty parishioners joined the ceremony. At the end of the ceremony, a young man came to one of the JEN's staff members and said to him "My father lies at rest in that cemetery. I'm most grateful to you for your help." It is a just appreciation that was expressed for both volunteers who have taken part in JEN's volunteer events and supporters who helped JEN's activities so far.

 Some of the shrine buildings still remain damaged.
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JEN, putting itself in the position of disaster victims, is committed to continuing assistance activities. Your cooperation is essential.

  DONATE HERE

 

March 28, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/21/2013

Volunteers contribute to liven up shrine festival, helping organize it, carry mikoshi

On the 17th of this month, a shrine festival took place at Kitsunezakihama on the Oshika Peninsula.

【It was a great day for a festival.】
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That festival has been held for several hundreds of years, dating back to an era before the Edo period (1603-1867). Kitsunezakihama, which currently has some ninety people of thirty households, now faces a difficulty handing down its age-old tradition of the festival to the next generation because decreasing young people makes it hard to get the necessary number of people to bear a mikoshi---an ornate palanquin-like portable shrine in which the ghost or spirit of a Shinto shrine deity is believed to ride. During shrine festivals, scores of believers wind through the town carrying the mikoshi on their shoulders.
Under the circumstances, JEN was asked to help them to hold this year's festival and volunteers who were mobilized by JEN helped out with organizing the festival or bearing the mikoshi.

【Changed into white clothing, they felt uplifted.】
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A total of twenty-two volunteers participated in the festival including employees from Mitsui & CO., LTD, who had been engaged on voluntary activities in Kitsunezakihama.

【People in festival costumes gallantly march through the town of Kitsunezakihama.】
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A group of the volunteers and villagers in Kitsunezakihama in conventional kimonos, carrying the mikoshi, left the Kitsunezakiinai shrine for the seashore. The dashing call of male members resounded all over the seashore. They called out "Chosai!, Chosai!" That call is said to be a corrupt form of "Kyousai!, Kyousai!"---Literally means "today is the day for festival"---and it was exciting to see the group marching through the town carrying the mikoshi while shouting.

【The group march through the town of Kitsunezakihama】
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The mikoshi in which the ghost or spirit of a Shinto shrine deity is believed to ride marched through every place in Kitsunezakihama, seashore, streets...to purify all of Kitsunezakihama.

This year's festival attracted over one hundred people more than last year. Kitsunezakihama was so crowded that some of the villagers said that this year's turnout might be beyond the prequake level.

With a laugh, one of the villagers said "There has been none better!" another one replied "If only we always have such many people."

It was really happy for JEN to be able to see many of the people in Kitsunazakihama where JEN had long worked on assistant activities wearing the best looking smile. With the disaster-stricken areas entering a period of reconstruction activities, there will be diverse opportunities for volunteers to play a part in the construction.

JEN is committed to supporting the reconstruction of distressed areas by dispatching volunteers to help people there hold their community events or activities of schools.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓
○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.
○Credit card:
http://bit.ly/c7R8iA 

March 21, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/18/2013

"Come, join our fishery event!" NOW INVITING PARTICIPANTS!

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JEN and tsunami-stricken fishermen jointly decided to hold the 2nd "Come, join our fishery event!", a two-day and one-night fishery experience event in Higashihama, a fishery village on the Oshika Peninsula. That event is a new effort to boost disaster reconstruction by the fishermen from five areas in Higashihama. It helps participants discover the cycle of Higashihama's seasons through hands-n opportunities to experience fishery. During the first one held last December, in spite of the cold participants enjoyed valuable experience in learning how to culture oysters and how they grow from fishermen in Higashihama, where the oyster farming is a core industry.
They had a chance to learn oyster-shelling on the spot, which is so difficult that an oyster shelling championship takes place. Everything they experienced was not before in their lives and at the same time they could have a chance to think sincerely about what they can do for the revitalization of Higashihama. They had a heated discussion with fishermen. That day was the all oyster day for them and they told that they felt like being oyster savvy. The following photos show what the 1st "Come, join our fishery event!" was like.

【They tour an oyster farm by fishing boat attended by fishermen.】
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【They learn how to shell oysters one-on-one.】
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***
Higashihama's specialties vary with the seasons. The upcoming event features learning how wakame seaweed and mantis shrimps are cultured. Why don't you have an excellent opportunity to experience fishery gusto, through learning indigenous fishery to Higashihama and enjoying a day out in the rich nature of the Sanriku Sea?

That event helps Higashihama rebuild its community. JEN hopes some people who have volunteered for emergency-relief work take this opportunity to revisit Tohoku and to visualize a better future together with the fishermen who, having gone through the aftermath of the disaster, are now on the road to recovery; others who don't have participated in volunteer activities take this opportunity to learn what's going on in disaster-stricken areas or what a fishery is like.

JEN helps Higashihama regain its vitality through promoting exchanges between participants and fishermen and their wives. Do please participate in this event.

【Many ideas were exchanged during the meeting between participants and people in Higashihama. They took a memorial photo fueled by the discussion. 】
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◆For details on JEN's assistance activities in Tohoku, click here.

◆For details on JEN's activities in Niigata, an assistance activities in a movement to boost development in rural areas after the Mid Niigata Prefecture Earthquake, click here.

◆What is Higashihama like?
Higashihama, which is located on the middle of the Oshika Peninsula, is divided into five districts, Makihama, Takehama, Kitsunezakihama, Kadatsuhama and Fultsukiura. It's a fishing-centered community and was worst affected by the disaster, but the whole community is working toward recovery.

◆What is "Come, join our fishery event!"?
It is an occasion for participants to learn fishery and also to have heart-to-heart talks with people in Higashihama. With time, people in Higashihama have become eager to express their thanks to volunteers who gave them a helping hand or a hearing in the aftermath of the disaster. And they also started thinking that it's important not only to have a pleasant reunion with those volunteers but to create an opportunity for many other people to enjoy Higashihama's scenery and exchange with them. It is a new project come from that desire of them to open up Higashihama's new possibilities.

【Mantis shrimp fishing(April to July each year)】

◆"Come, join our fishery event!"
The event's details will be as follows:
・The opening days are April 13 - 14, 2013(two-day and one-night).
・The major attractions are Mantis shrimp fishing experience, wakame seaweed collecting experience, fixed-shore-net-fishing watching tour etc. Attractions may change due to inclement weather or lean fish crop. Shipboard injuries or accidents are not covered by the volunteer insurance.
・The venue is Higashihama on the Oshika Peninsula, a fishery village in Ishinomaki city.
・The rest house is Kitsunezaki Fishery Village Center(986-2345, Miyagi-ken, Ishinomaki-shi, Aza Yashiki kitsunezaki 25-2 ).
・The limit number of participants is 20.
・The participation fee is not yet determined.
・The designated meeting place and time are the rotary outside Ishinomaki station and 11 a.m. on April 13.
・The designated finishing place and time are the rotary outside Ishinomaki station and 3:30 p.m. on April 14.

<Volunteer Insurance>
Applicants are required to sign up the volunteer insurance ("Disaster Plan": an insurance product that insures against earthquake in advance). Be aware that the insurance is effective for one year from April 1 every year and not renewed automatically.

<Application>
Fax or email your completed application form with the copy of your insurance certificate. Without volunteer insurance, application will not be accepted.

Click here to download PDF version application form_final_18032013

Please contact the Inquiries (mentioned below) should you have further questions.

<Inquiries>
E-mail the address of
hama@jen-npo.org, with "Come, join our fishery event!" as the subject no later than Sunday the 7th of April. Acceptance of applications continues until the number of application reaches the limit.

Please contact us at: Phone number 02225-25-5611; Fax number 02225-25-5612
Names of the contact persons are Shun Saijo or Hiroaki Chiba.
The department in charge is JEN (Specified Nonprofit Corporation) Tohoku Division Reconstruction Steering Group
The address for JEN's Tohoku division is: SASADEN BILL201, Zeniarai 3-13, Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi-ken 986 0826

☆☆☆☆☆ ☆☆☆☆☆ ☆☆☆☆☆

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated. DONATE HERE

March 18, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/14/2013

March 8 JEN's Report highlights efforts to support recovery in Tohoku

On Friday March 8, two years after the Tohoku Earthquake, JEN hosted a report meeting on its assistance activities in Tohoku. The meeting attracted seventeen participants, including those who had joined volunteer activities in Tohoku or came to JEN for the first time, JEN's supporters and others. At first each participant was asked to introduce themselves to the others; they wrote down their name, what their relationship to Tohoku is and what they want to know or think about at the meeting, and then spoke about them.
What they wanted to know at the meeting was what's going on in afflicted areas two years after the Tohoku Earthquake.

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Ms. Mayumi Nishimura, program officer, who has worked at JEN's Ishinomaki office for two years, delivered a presentation. She spoke about what kind of challenges Ishinomaki if facing, ongoing projects and goals to be achieved. Ishinomaki now has much work to do because its population is declining; its key industry, fishery, has been deadly devastated by the tsunami; many of its citizens whose homes and lives were destroyed by the tsunami are still forced to live in temporary housing with anxiety,
JEN, aiming to realize a city where people feel comfortable to live and people want to live for years to come, is engaging in a broad range of supportive activities to help local people implement self-sustaining recovery. Specifically, it's working on providing psychological support to victims, assisting resident-led events, fostering interaction within communities, empowerment of women and so on. It also continues to send volunteers to disaster-stricken areas to keep them alive.

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During the free conversation time, Ms. Hashimoto answered the questions posed by participants and participants gave their feedback. One participant said "Is there anything I can do? Isn't it too late to go?", then another participant who have joined volunteer activities in Ishinomaki answered that saying "If you are wondering, just give it a go. (You won't know till you've done it. You get nothing if you don't try)." Ms. Nishimura also encouraged the participant saying "Don't think too seriously! Why not come to Ishinomaki and mix with local people!"

JEN would like to thank all our participants for having time together to consider JEN's recovery assistance to Tohoku. Click here for more information about JEN's assistance activities to Tohoku.

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated. DONATE HERE

March 14, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/08/2013

Two years later, Ishinomaki's ongoing recovery efforts: Part 3; Kadowakicho, Minamihamacho

JEN is now making a series of quick reports for March about what's going on in ishinomaki two years after the disaster. Hiyoriyama hill, located at the northwest end of the mouth of the Old-Kitakami River, is one of the places in Ishinomaki that became famous after the disaster. If you overlook the coastal areas from the hill, you can see the whole towns of Kadowakicho and Minamihamacho which have completely disappeared with the Kitakami River and Hiyori Bridge on the right-hand side.

【Hiyoriyama Hill and the town of Kadowakicho and Minamihamacho】
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【The command of Kadowakicho and Minamihamacho from Hiyoriyama Hill Observatory as of March 2012】
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There has been debate in disaster-stricken areas on whether to demolish buildings that tell of the disaster or preserve them as disaster memorial sites. In Ishinomaki, the buildings of Ookawa primary school and Kadonowaki primary school are under debate.

【Kadonowaki primary school building is under debate over demolishing or preserving as a disaster memorial site.】
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Ishinomaki city and Miyagi prefecture are now planning to convert Minamihamacho district where Kadowaki primary school had been located into a national park, "Prayer Park". With "Park Building Workshop (a citizen-participation-type workshop)" hosted by the city authorities of Ishinomaki, the citizen-led construction of the park is now underway. It is scheduled for completion in March 2021.

【The diorama of pre-disaster Minamihamacho, being exhibited at the fifth floor of the city hall.】
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As part of the construction, JEN worked on creating a flowerbed together with children in the district last fall (click here for more information). After the work the children said to JEN staff members "We want to do this again next year!", expressing their determination to get involved in the work. JEN will continue to assist the work which can bring hope to the community there. As an embodiment of each and every person's desire for recovery, the park will become a place where many people get together and children play around.

=====
【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku.
Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE HERE

March 8, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

Two years later, Ishinomaki's ongoing recovery efforts: Part 4; Kama district

On March 11, memorial ceremonies for all the disaster dead sponsored by local governments or temples were held across disaster afflicted areas. For example, "Prayer Balloon", a memorial service, was held at Fuseiji temple in Kama district, located at the west end of Ishinomaki and in the north part of Ishinomaki Kougyou port.

【After a moment of silent prayer at 2:46 p.m. balloons with prayers inside are released.】
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【Balloons glide into the blue sky】
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Those gathered said their prayers watching balloons rising up into the sky. Many of them seemed to have been reunited with each other after a long interval. Kama district has two sub districts; they are Shimo-Kama and Kami-Kama. Nkayashiki town in Kami-Kama is where JEN has worked on serving hot meals for evacuating people as an emergency response, setting up and running a community cafe and so on in cooperation with many local people and volunteers.
It was Kami-Kama Recovery Council where neighborhood associations, local government authorities and consultants work out a recovery plan together that was established last fall and talks to create a livable and renewed town has been initiated.
Issues such as how to readjust land have been under discussion. JEN has been supporting the district's efforts in various ways such as hosting workshops (Click here for more information
with neighborhood associations to facilitate consensus-building within the district

And JEN is committed to continuing to encourage local people to take the initiative in developing their own area just as last fall's creation of a flowerbed (Click here for more information).

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Your help would be very much appreciated. DONATE HERE

March 8, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/07/2013

Two years later, Ishinomaki's ongoing recovery efforts: Part2 Watanoha district

Tearing down disaster-stricken public buildings is now underway throughout the city. As may be because the demolition of individuals' houses and private buildings has made a certain level of progress, demolishing public buildings has finally started around the city.

【Ishinomaki City Girl's Commercial senior High School】
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It is Watanoha district, located at the east of the city of Ishinomaki and worst affected by the tsunami, where JEN set up a base in April, 2011 for volunteers who were involved in helping victims. Ishinomaki City Girl's Commercial senior High School in Watanoha was the center of JEN's activities. While the tsunami has turned it into ruin, JEN made use of it for one of its bases for volunteering activities, setting up shed for tools to remove sludge (wheelbarrows, shovels, bags to store sludge). After serving as a hub for volunteers, it has completed its role with change in demand for volunteer activities.

Click here for more information about JEN's assistance activities of those days.
Many volunteer activities in Watanoha district are included.

There still remain a base of JEN's volunteer activities in Watanoha district and many volunteers use it.
Finally, demolishing Ishinomaki City Girl's Commercial senior High School has started. Its current students held "farewell to their school building" last fall. They now commute to temporary classrooms located within Ishinomaki City Girl's senior High School. However scars left by the disaster still remain at various places throughout the city. We cannot help feeling that we still have a long way to go but JEN is committed to continuing its assistance activities with compassion for victims there until the day of full recovery so that victims may recover pre-disaster lives and further achieve a lively community.

【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku.
Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE  HERE

March 7, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/05/2013

Two years later, Ishinomaki's ongoing recovery efforts: Part1; Ayukawahama

Tearing down disaster-stricken public buildings is now underway (are being torn down) throughout the city.

【Oshika community center in Ayukawahama, the Oshika Peninsula】
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Oshika community center in Ayukawahama

While the upstairs room of the Oshika community center escaped devastation caused by the disaster and had been utilized as a base for aid delivery, volunteering activities, shed for tools to remove sludge, community gathering and exhibition hall, it is now under demolition work.

JEN has been providing assistance for thirty-three fishery areas on the Oshika Peninsula since the beginning of the summer of 2011 when a passage prohibition on heavy vehicles was lifted. In Aukawahama district, JEN not only sent volunteers but helped set up "Oshika Norengai", a temporary sixteen-shop shopping mall so that local people might do their daily shopping there.

While there had been opened many temporary shopping malls in disaster-stricken areas, Ayukawa's shopping mall is characterized in that it's a shopping mall of the local people, by the local people, for the local people( also volunteers who come to help the local people). Attracting many people, it has been a symbol of reconstruction as a busy mart.

The Ayukawahama district is scheduled to be relocated to a higher ground, but it's likely to take an awful long time for the relocation to start after land development.



【JEN is now accepting donations for the reconstruction of Tohoku.
Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE HERE

March 5, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

02/28/2013

Hama-yu, Sasunohama's meeting house, to be refurbished for your enjoyment!

The oyster grill attached to Hama-yu completed the current season on February 24.

【On the final day, the oyster grill was crowded with customers.】
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The oyster grill had opened every Sunday since last December, eight times in all. It had over 200 visitors not only from within the city of Ishinomaki but from outside as far afield as New York.
Looking back on the past three months, Mr. Hosokawa, the head of Executive Committee for Oyster Grill, said "We merely had got order for oyster out before, but we have got to know people who come all the way here to enjoy oysters and had chances to see our customers in person. That was the biggest benefit."

【Their service have got better each time, developing new dishes.】

"Kakisoba", buckwheat noodles topped with oyster fritters
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"Ishinomaki oyster gratin"
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Although the oyster grill ends this week, oysters are still in season. Inside Hama-yu, seasonal light refreshments such as kakisoba will be served from next month, for it's going to be refurbished as a lunchroom and will start to serve new dishes after the oyster grill closed down, Dishes using not only oysters but local, seasonal ingredients will be served. We do hope that you come and enjoy them at Hama-yu.

Hama-yu will continue to be used as a meeting place where local people gather to hold computer school or bee cafe and so on. JEN will committed to working on supporting reconstruction efforts of local people and getting as many people as possible to know about these efforts.

【A member staff said to the last guest "You'll come see me again, I hope?"】
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Hama-yu:
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・The address for Hama-yu is: Tonami Sasunohama, Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi-ken 986-2135.

・How to find us: drive your car toward Tonami on Route 398, make a right turn at the Mangokuura intersection and drive into Route2, cross the Mangokuhara bridge, make a right turn at next traffic light heading for Sant Juan Park, and drive ahead about 500 meters after going through a tunnel; You can take a labarum on the left as the landmark of Hama-yu; It takes about 25 minutes by car from Ishinomaki station.

・The store hours are Saturday-Sunday 0 p.m.-2 p.m.

・Please contact Mr. Hosokawa (the head of Executive Committee for Oyster Grill) at 090-8256-1376.

・See below for more information about our future business plan.


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February 28, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

02/21/2013

"Come, join harvesting wakame, even shrimp! "NOW INVITING PARTICIPANTS!



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It has been decided that a fishery experience event will take place in Higashihama, a fishery village on the Oshika Peninsula.

【"Come, join our fishery event", a spring festival where you can enjoy and experience firsthand harvesting wakame seaweed, even mantis shrimp. NOW INVITING PARTICIPANTS! 】
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JEN and tsunami-stricken fishermen jointly decided to hold the 2nd "Come, join harvesting wakame, even shrimp!", two-day and one-night fishery experience event in Higashihama, a fishery village on the Oshika Peninsula. It's a new effort to boost disaster reconstruction by the fishermen from five areas in Higashihama. The first one took place last December, where participants enjoyed valuable experience in learning how to culture and shell oysters from fishermen.

【They tour an oyster farm by fishing boat.】
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【They learn how to shell oysters.】
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Higashihama's specialties vary with the seasons. The upcoming event features learning how wakame seaweed and mantis shrimps are cultured. It will be an excellent opportunity to experience fishery gusto, enjoying a beautiful sea in rich nature. JEN hopes the event helps bring smiles to fishermen's faces and make fishermen feel alive, keeping the fishery community alive. JEN does hope you will participate the event!

◆For details on JEN's assistance activities in Tohoku, click here.

◆What is Higashihama like?
Higashihama, which is located on the middle of the Oshika Peninsula, is divided into five districts, Makihama, Takehama, Kitsunezakihama, Kadatsuhama and Fultsukiura. It's a fishing-centered community and was worst affected by the disaster, but the whole community is working toward recovery.

◆What is "Come, join harvesting wakame, even shrimp!"?
JEN has worked on a variety of assistance activities since the disaster hit the area. In so doing, JEN staff members have had more and more chances to overhear fishermen saying "We want to show our hospitality to volunteers who came to help us after the disaster."

Since JEN staff members have heard the fishermen explaining what they feel like saying "We'd like to continue interacting different people outside our community. We want as many people as possible know about the attractions of the sea and our fishery." and overheard the conversations between the fishermen and the volunteers such as "Don't be a stranger!'", "I'll be back!", they have long hoped to respond these situations in a tangible way.
They finally cast their ideas into a program, aiming to realize revitalization of the fishery community through enjoying and cherishing every moment of interaction between the fishermen and the volunteers.

【Mantis shrimp fishing(April to July each year)】
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◆"Come, join harvesting wakame, even shrimp!"
The event's details1 will be as follows:
・The opening days are April 13 - 14, 2013(two-day and one-night).
・The major attractions are Mantis shrimp fishing experience, wakame seaweed collecting experience, fixed-shore-net-fishing watching tour etc.
・The venue is Higashihama on the Oshika Peninsula, a fishery village in Ishinomaki city.
・The rest house is Kitsunezaki Fishery Village Center(986-2345, Miyagi-ken, Ishinomaki-shi, Aza Yashiki kitsunezaki 25-2 ).
・The number of participants is 20.
・The participation fee is not yet determined.
・The designated meeting place and time are the rotary outside Ishinomaki station and 11 a.m. on April 13(A complimentary transportation service to the venue will be offered.).
・The designated finishing place and time are the rotary outside Ishinomaki station and 3:30 p.m. on April 14(A complimentary transportation service from the venue will be offered.).
・Applications for the event will be accepted via JEN's website from the beginning of March.

Please contact the Applications and Inquiries (mentioned below) should you have further questions.

・Applications and Inquiries:
Please contact us at: Phone number 02225-25-5611; Fax number 02225-25-5612
Names of the contact persons are Shun Saijo or Hiroaki Chiba.
Please say to someone who answers your call "I'm calling about 'Come, visit our fishery event!'".
The department in charge is JEN (Specified Nonprofit Corporation) Tohoku Division Reconstruction Steering Group
The address for JEN's Tohoku division is: SASADEN BILL201, Zeniarai 3-13, Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi-ken 986 0826

1. Once all our plans are set, they will be notified again.


☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
【JEN invites donations for aid for the Tohoku recovery. DONATE
HERE

February 21, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

02/14/2013

Quick report on February 10 volunteering activity

An ascidian culture is under way in Tanigawahama waters off the Oshika Peninsula. The ocean current flowing along the Tanigawahama coast provides a fertile breeding ground for ascidians and so Tanigawahama has boasted ascidians and their larvae harvesting since pre-disaster periods.

【They make traps for ascidian larvae, running a string through holes in oyster shells(string oyster shells for traps for ascidian larvae).】
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With some forty houses and fishery lodges swept away by a raging 13-meter-high tsunami, fishermen in Tanigawahama still take shelter in temporary housing and commute from there to their fishery harbor even twenty-three months after the disaster.

【This was once a residential area, which is scheduled to be relocated to a high ground nearby.】
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Making traps is so human-intensive that many hands make light work. In addition, that even a small number of people continue to come to help fishermen who are making patient efforts serves them as powerful encouragement.

【Mr. Atsumi teaches volunteers how to raise ascidians.】
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During the month of February, we are going to ask volunteers to help fishermen make traps. We are really looking forward to your participation.

【JEN invites donations for aid for the Tohoku recovery. DONATE HERE

February 14, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

02/07/2013

"Watatsumi", seashell jewelry, officially goes on sales!

The Association of Miyagi Fisheries Cooperative's Women's Group, or FCWG, has developed "Watatsumi", seashell fashion accessories, and officially started selling them.

【"Watatsumi", handcrafted fashion accessories made of abalone young shell】
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JEN has worked on helping FCWG resume their activities since Spring 2012.
FCWG, a voluntary organization serving as "fishing community supporters", promotes local production for local consumption, dietary education to children, assistance activities for children of marine accident victims, wearing life jackets and so forth. However FCWG, affected by the disaster, has been facing troubles: its members were forced to leave their home town; it had to give up collecting membership dues and so on, as has made it difficult to continue its efforts. Therefore it had to search for some income-generating opportunities.
Each Watatsumi product is made by hand, being manufactured in small quantities, and so at first the members used events as opportunities to sell their products. Now that they could get production off the ground, they have started selling the products over counter as well as through order. Customers can buy them at "Roman Kaiyuu 21" by the Ishinomaki station, a tourism and commercial museum, and also place orders through fax.

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The members use the money from the sale to resume their activities.

【Members are making fashion accessories.】
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JEN asked Mr. Yusuke Honda, a metalworking artist from the city of Higashimatsushima who runs a studio called POPPO, to teach the members how to design and make fashion accessories. Raised in the sea and living with the sea, the female members, who are generous-hearted but resilient, put their prayers for the tsunami victims into their products' name "Watatsumi(the god of the sea that appears in Japanese mythology)"

【JEN invites donations for aid for the Tohoku recovery. DONATE HERE

February 7, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

01/31/2013

JEN's efforts to promote workshops

JEN has been hosting workshops for implementation of business on an as-needed basis.

【Workshop attendees meet at a local community center.】
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This time, the topic of this workshop was about "generation of ideas to meet regional challenges" and so JEN asked people from as wide a variety of fields and of as much knowledge as possible to attend the workshop such as NGO's and NPO's which are providing continued assistance activities, long-stay volunteers, college teachers in Ishinomaki and so forth.

【Views are exchanged actively among participants.】
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The ideas accumulated this time are going to be shared at a local-based workshop next month, and then translated into more specific ones. On the same day, the city government also hosted a "workshop on park renovation for the future", where staff members of JEN's Ishinomaki branch also attended.

A website promoting community restoration and development: http://www.fukko-net-ishinomaki-jv.info/gijutu.html

As described above, in the disaster-affected areas, many workshops are being held to discuss regional revitalization, how public facilities should be and so forth. JEN's staff members of Ishinomaki branch are working on each project, learning how to run workshops.

【JEN invites donations for aid for the Tohoku recovery. DONATE HERE

January 31, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

01/24/2013

Meiji University affiliated Meiji High School memorial soccer event for boys, girls held

On January 13 and 14, "the Ishinimaki-Nichi-Nichi Shinbun's cup soccer event for boys and girls, co-hosted by Meiji University affiliated Meiji High as part of its centennial events" took place.

【Boys and girls give themselves to a soccer game even in the rough weather; Day 2】
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Fourteen teams from around the city of Ishinomaki took part in the two-day event. This was the final event for sixth-year students. JEN worked on preparing for the event and keeping it running smoothly along with Ishinomaki Nichi Nichi Shinbun, Meiji High School and the Ishinomaki Football Association that organized the event.

【After the event, Meiji High School students deepen exchanges with children playing soccer.】
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Meiji High School soccer club members volunteered to run the whole event serving as referees, time keepers, scores and so forth. And students other than the members of the soccer club volunteered to cook "imoni", a famous local specialty of Miyagi Prefecture---a hot-pot contains taro, vegetables and meat---being guided by JEN staff members. That is not only entertaining participants, but also a drill in preparing meals outdoors allowing for a possible disaster.

【Prepared since the day before, they served 700 people for two days.】
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【High school students hand bowls of imoni.】
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One of students in the second year said "I'm looking forward to the next time. I want to keep up the activity.", showing a willingness to continue the activity.

【After the event, high school students take a commemorative photo with children: Day 1】
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Meiji University affiliated Meiji High School is going to co-host the event over the next five years. JEN continues to work on a variety of exchange events, strengthening the collaboration with organizations and enterprises at home and abroad.

【We ask for donations. DONATE HERE

January 24, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

01/17/2013

This year's first volunteering

On January 12, 2013, JEN's Ishinomaki branch carried out this year's first volunteer activity. This time, we had as many as thirty-seven volunteers including students at the Harvard business school and individuals.

【Volunteers clear side ditches running by plastic greenhouses】
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Volunteers cleaned side ditches running by plastic greenhouses. There still remained sludge in the bottom of the side ditches. These plastic greenhouses were once fully-destroyed by the tsunami, but the farmer who owns them reconstructed them at the same place last autumn after working on the rented land in a different area. He says he is going to grow cucumbers in the greenhouses from this spring.

【Volunteers socialize with each other at lunch through mochi pounding】
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After working and sweating together, what was waiting for them was rice cake making party. Students got excited at their first-time mochi pounding. Fishermen from Higashihama in the Oshika peninsula, who are also victims of the disaster, joined to serve them oyster soup, and so volunteers had a party time socializing with local farmers, fishermen, and JEN staff members.

【Moms from a tsunami-stricken fishing village serve their special oyster soup, oysters have grew with the arrival of January. 】
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JEN's Ishinomaki branch will continue to stay in exchange projects that provide both disaster victims and volunteers opportunities to interact each other, accepting volunteers in 2013. For further details on application procedures for reconstruction assistance volunteers, visit the following link.

【Students are unwinding after work. 】
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【DONATE HERE

January 17, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

01/10/2013

Mutual aid means a lot to prolonged life as evacuees

The disaster-stricken areas are now in the midst of the second winter since the disaster. Victims' temporary housing was winterized during the last winter, and it's anticipated that their life as evacuees will prolong. JEN is working on fostering and strengthening the relationships based on "the spirit of mutual aid" among people living in the same housing complex, through joint drills in evacuation and preparing meals outdoors with temporary housing residents' association.

【Lifesaving drill at the Asahikasei housing complex on December 14】
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Residents received trainings for initial response in case of emergency such as how to use AED, do artificial respiration and so forth. They understand the importance of preparations on a routine basis and so they focused on what they were doing.

【On December 2, a drill in preparing meals outdoors】
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There are quite a few large-scale housing complexes inhabited by over 100 families in the city of Ishinomaki, but Arata housing complex is rather a small-scale one way outside the city with fifteen families moved in from different regions. One of mothers of young children who were worried about disaster preparedness said "We may be forced to be isolated, if a disaster occurs again." Within the city of Isinomaki, still 6,946 families of 16,305 victims are forced to live in temporary housing (as of December 2012). There has been little change in that number since victims started living. JEN is now in the process of providing the same trainings for other temporary housing complex through coordinating with its association.

【DONATE HERE

January 10, 2013 in Tohoku Earthquake |

01/07/2013

Call for volunteers in Tohoku until the end of April, 2013.

** Schedule for May onwards will be set early April. STAY TUNE! **

The voluntary work for reconstruction support from January 2013 takes place on;

* Application Period and the dates *

January 12 (Saturday)-14 (Monday) Finished
         17 (Thursday)-18 (Friday) Finished
         19 (Saturday)-20 (Sunday) Finished
         26 (Saturday)-27 (Sunday) Finished
         31 (Thursday)- February 1 (Friday) Finished

February 2 (Saturday)-3(Sunday) Finished
         9(Saturday)-11(Monday) Finished
         14(Thursday)-15(Friday) Finished
         16(Saturday)-17(Sunday) Finished
         23(Saturday)-24(Sunday)
         28(Thursday)-March 1(Friday)

March 2(Saturday)- 3(Sunday)
      9 (Saturday)-10(Sunday)
      14(Thursday)-15(Friday)
      16 (Saturday)-17(Sunday) Support the traditional celebration (event).
      23 (Saturday)-24(Sunday)
      28(Thursday)-29(Friday)
      30 (Saturday)-31(Sunday)

April 4(Thursday)-5(Friday)
      6 (Saturday)-7(Sunday)
      13 (Saturday)-14(Sunday)
      18(Thursday)-19(Friday)
      20 (Saturday)-21(Sunday) FULL HOUSE
      27 (Saturday)-29 (Monday) FULL HOUSE
***************************************************
The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami brought enormous damage to the Tohoku district on March 11. From right after the disaster to the end of December 2012 a total of more than 8,300 volunteers have participated in recovering towns and cities including cleaning off houses wrecked by sludge and debris, dredging up mud from ditches and transporting supplies to temporary housing through JEN volunteer dispatch program.

As time goes by, volunteer work has shifted from 'emergency-relief' which requires heavy work like removing debris and cleaning up side ditches to 'reconstruction assistance' which involves revitalizing fishery industry and supporting daily life of people living in temporary housing. JEN makes its motto to 'support effort to live through' and continues its mid and long term assistance.

We want you to continue to participate in volunteer work so that those people may be able to stand at the threshold of returning to their previous life as soon as quickly and we together may be able to inspire them to think positive.

<Terms and Conditions>
1. Transportation to and from Ishinomaki office or accommodation must be organized by volunteers.
2. When volunteers use the accomodation, they stay with some other volunteers.
3. Volunteers need to bring work clothes and equipments(rubber boots, rubber gloves, long sleeve T-shirt and trousers).
4. Volunteers need to be covered by volunteering insurance.

Meeting Time:8:00 a.m.
Meeting Place:JEN Ishinomaki Office; SASADENBILL 201 3-13 Isenba Ishinomaki City; 5 minutes’ walk from JR Ishinomaki Station, and dismiss at the same place.
The details are as follows.
※Be sure for the first-time volunteers to attend volunteer orientation that takes place on following time(*).
※Volunteers must work for at least 1 full day.
※Application deadline: 5:00 p.m. 1 week before your work day.
※The fixed number of volunteers is 20 every day.

<First-time Volunteers(*)>
Volunteer orientation is mandatory for the first-time volunteers and they are held on following time at JEN Ishinomaki Office; SASADENBILL 201 3-13 Isenba Ishinomaki City; 5 minutes walk from JR Ishinomaki Station.
Time:
①First, third and fifth Wednesday 17:00
②Every Friday 17:00
★In both①②patterns, volunteers have the orientation after gathering. After that, as for volunteers who use the accomodation, they will be guided there (departure: around 18:00).
③First, third and fifth Thursday 8:00
④Every Saturday 8:00
☆In both③④patterns, volunteers have the orientation after gathering. After that, volunteers will be guided to working areas. In case the working area is far from meeting place, the orientation will be held at the working area.

<Accommodations>
JEN Watanoha accommodation, which is located in 48-2 Watanoha aza Yamazaki Ishinomaki City, is available for volunteers.
(It costs 500 yen each par a night so that we can maintain the accommodation.)

<Work Details>
◆Helping recover fishery industry
◆Helping recover agricultural industry
◆Helping various events held by the local comunity
◆Cleaning up damaged mountain streams, shrines and parks where children play
※We would like volunteers to help what is desperately-needed. We adjust volunteer work to match the changing needs of assistance. Thank you for your understanding.

<Additional Information>
◆The time and place of application are subject to change and so please make sure to go over JEN's website before you set out for volunteer work.
◆JEN will contact volunteers by email or phone to confirm application of volunteers.
◆Application will be closed once we reach the quota (20people /each time). When we didn’t reach the quota, there is a possibility that you can join as a volunteer even after the deadline; please contact us individually.
◆There is a possibility that work will be cancelled in case of unfavorable weather.
◆As the office is small, there aren't enough space for volunteers to wait. Please assemble approx 5 minutes before the meeting time.

<Volunteer Insurance>
It is mandatory to join the Volunteering Insurance before applying volunteer of JEN.
Please join it at your nearest Japan National Council of Social Welfare. Once applied, it is valid for one year from April 1 to March 31 but it doesn’t get renewed automatically.

<Application>
The leaflet tells you how to apply; fill in the application form; send it by E-mail or Fax with the document to prove that you have joined the Volunteer Insurance.
Attention: If you haven’t joined the Volunteer Insurance, the application does not be completed.
E-mail volunteer@jen-npo.org / Fax 0225-25-5612

Application form to download:「application_eng201204.doc」
For details to download:「manual_eng_jan2013.pdf」をダウンロード

<Contact Us>
Email: volunteer@jen-npo.org for inquiries.
Tel: 0225-25-5611

period for acceptance: 9:00 a.m. to 18:00 p.m. on weekdays

January 7, 2013 in Event Infomation, Tohoku Earthquake, Volunteer Infomarion |

12/27/2012

Promoting-joyful-business-startup festival for women

On Sunday 9th of December, "Promoting-joyful-startup festival for women", a festival to help women start up their own businesses to make life fun, was held at the food court of "Recovery Marche" in the downtown of Ishinomaki. This is part of JEN's female entrepreneur incubation efforts targeting women who want to take advantage of their skills, want to work but have difficulty of raising children at the same time, or want to start up businesses but don't have know-how needed to do so.

【"Recovery Marche" near the Ishinomoki cartoon museum is used as the venue for the festival 】
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Six women who already started their own companies set up booths featuring their businesses such as sales of goods, handmade bred and jam, finger-massage yoga, baby yoga and so on.
Participants listened with interest to those women explaining what their businesses in Ishinomaki were like or their actual experiences on how they started their businesses.

【"Grandma Corporation" founded in Kaduma, Ishinomaki】
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【Participants listen to actual experiences.】
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【AMIS workshop founded by moms in Ishinomaki  】
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JEN will continue to support female entrepreneurs. Your continued assistance is appreciated.

【DONATE HERE

December 27, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

Fishermen in Saunohama hold grand opening of oyster grill

On Sunday 9the of December, fishermen in the fishery town of Sasunohama had the grand opening of an "oyster grill", a small dining hall to offer oysters. Immediately after the 11 a.m. opening, the first visitor, shivering from cold, came in. "Where are you from?" I asked him, then he answered that he was from Aizu, Fukushima; Ishinomaki was his wife's home town; he had been fishing since this morning and landed several fishes including flatfishes; but he was thinking of getting back for it was too cold to continue fishing when he found a flag of the grill flying; he immediately walked into the grill, saying to him "I'll have my favorite oysters! I'm in luck!" Then a grill staff member called out to him "You are the memorable first visitor.", that making him laugh in embarrassment.

【The first visitor of the grill.】
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Visitors kept coming in after half-past eleven, and so it took very little time to fill the seats. The grill staff members served the visitors with a soup of mussels, a nice broth made with home-grown mussels, and they enjoyed the soup. The soup seemed to get them out of the cold.

【The broth made with mussels in a large pot.】
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【The soup of mussels please visitors from Nakaniita. 】
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Although one-year-old oysters grown in Sasunohama were rather small, they are rich in umami taste. Oysters grown in Oginohama were large, for they were two years old. You can taste the difference from oysters grown in Sasunohama to ones grown in other fisheries, and so please take this opportunity to try those oysters.

【Oysters are gently char-grilled. 】
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It was just one day before the opening of the oyster grill the fishermen had been looked forward to when a huge earthquake occurred off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture which triggered a tsunami warning and an one-meter-high tsunami was observed at Ayukawahama after 6 p.m. Fortunately, the fishermen said, it wasn't such a large one that could rage through the urban area that there were no reports of great damage except the subsidence of seawalls in Sasunohama below sea level. It was a guess of the fishermen that the foundations of the seawalls had been undermined. As was the case, the fishermen couldn't stop worrying that---quote---"We may not have even a single visitor...", but now the fishermen were relieved.

The oyster grill in Sasunohama will be opened every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. until December 23. Mr. Hosokawa, the head of the Ishinomaki Fisheries Cooperative's Executive Committee for Oyster grill, said to us "Now is the best time to enjoy oysters, please come over!" In next January, the grill will be opened every Sunday, changing hours, from noon to 2:30 p.m.

【Mr. Hosokawa, the head of Executive Committee for Oyster Grill, is pictured right.】
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In addition, they have a best recommended specialty, Sasunohama burger, which can't be tried anywhere in the country but here. It's excellent with a demi-glace with extra stock of Sasunohama grown oysters simmered down.

【Sasunohama burger, using specially made oyster-sauce-based demi-glace.】
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After many twists and turns, the fishermen were able to have their opening of the oyster grill on this occasion. We were full of emotion as we saw people in Sasunohama fulfilling their hopes and dreams like this through repeated dialogues for about a year. JEN will continue to support people's proactive actions in the region.

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December 27, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/13/2012

A step forward to put the tragedy behind

Ms. Kieko Sanjo who now lives in a temporary housing with her husband at Otsupagawa district in the city of Ishinomaki used to live in the Nagatsura district in the same city before the disaster. Her husband retired several years ago from a plywood company where he had worked for over thirty years,even after retirement, and from time to time,he helped at the company and some money. Ms. Sanjo has two children, both with families, and three grandchildren.

At the time of the disaster, Ms. Sanjyo was at home and the whole house was engulfed by the tsunami,. She managed to air just beneath the ceiling and the water surface. She desperately crawled up the stairs and, and as she had been soaked to the skin by seawater with sludge, she wrapped herself in curtains and blankets keep warm. Her house was completely destroyed.

The tsunami took the lives of her daughter-in-law (her first son's wife)and her two grandchildren; a high school junior and third-grade elementary school boy. When the earthquake came, her late daughter happened to be in the municipal government office. She went to pick up her eldest son at his high school and then her younger son at his elementary school. At about 3 p.m, her husband recieved a message from her, that said "I've picked up the eldest son and waiting for the younger one at the elementary school right now." Moments later, the tsunami engulfed them her and children.

【A footage of Nagatsura district shot in December 2011, still remains submerged.】
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--quote--"I've been regretting myself for having survived. Why did the old, like us, survive, when the young, like my daughter and grandchildren, had entire lives ahead of them? I couldn't regret enough."
"While I was at home, I could only remember about my grandchildren. It was so hard. Just seeing children of their age made me tear. Even now, I cannot help but cry when I think of them. So, in order not to put my mind on something else, from about the end of last year, whenever there was some event held at the local meeting place, I tried to take part as much as possible."

【Ms. Sanjo, shown at right in the photo, looking at people planting tulips in autumn 2011.】
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"My eldest son who lives in another temporary housing bought a piece of land in inland area. I'm planning to open a sewing class in his new house. I want to teach not as a volunteer but as a professional. I'm also going to invite volunteers who have supported me for tea, and I’m really look forward to the completion of his house."

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"Every time I went to the meeting place, there were different groups of people, but there were a few that were there each time and I got acquainted with them. Today, seeing them and their shinning smiles give me energy and emotional support. I can't tell you how much that helped me heal my pain. Words alone could never express my gratitude to them. I think, thanks to those, I could feel calm, and came to live much more positively than last year."

"Since last spring I began to think that I could not keep on receiving relief supplies and encouragement, but I should do something in return. So I've decided to communicate my recovery and my gratitude through a sewing that I've been enjoying doing for years. These days, I volunteer teaching sewing at three locations including the temporary housing where I live."

【Ms. Sanjo, in blue shirt, concentrating on her sewing work.】

【Ms. Sanjo, fully recovered, talks cheerfully with a JEN stuff member.】
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Many victims in disaster-stricken areas still live painful lives, suffering considerable psychological damage. JEN will continue to support, standing close to every individual.


【Near the mouth of Kitakami River in Nagatsura District】
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December 13, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/06/2012

Last grads of damaged Kadonowaki Elem. School making a bond-themed flowerbed

First-year Kadonowaki Junior High school students (107) worked on creating a flowerbed with a bond theme nearby Kadowaki Elmentary School where they come from. What has prompted them to do so was that they studied about activities that could lead to the restoration of Ishinomaki during the period of integrated learning. Among many ideas listed, there was "creating a flowerbed."
While its original plan was to plant flowers on the schoolyard of their former school damaged by the disaster, they had to abandon the idea because the school is scheduled to be dismantled. Their teachers made great efforts to realize students' aspirations and finally adopted to obtain permission to use a vacant rot that used to be a parking lot from a person who used to run a restaurant near the primary school. But its earth was mixed with such glass chips and metal strips that it was dangerous to plant flowers.

【JEN staff members have taught how to plant tulip bulbs a week before.】
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After JEN staff members talked with the teachers about that, they came to a conclusion that it's necessary to replace the soil with new one. Then they took counsel with Misatomachi Social Welfare Council, who introduced a farmer in Higashimatsushima to them.That farmer consented willingly to provide soil so that students might realize their aspirations. Now for a vehicle to transport the soil, JEN staff members thought it would be worth talking it over with truckers who helped JEN remove rubbles last year. He also accepted JEN's request.

【Truckers carry soil from Ooshio district in Higashimatsushima.】
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We were also given support from Miyagi Commission for Restoration of Life with Flower and Greenery 3.11 project such as wood crossties for verges of the flowerbed, flower seedlings, tulip bulbs and compost. Moreover, a local and a major flower shop offered us flower bulbs. In this way many people helped us and so the student's aspirations were taking shape little by little.

【This photo depicts how to enclose the flower bed with wood crossties.】
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On the day of making the flowerbed, Wednesday the 28th of November, it's was a windy and chilly day, but the students leveled the soil, laid pots of purple, yellow and white violas side by side as designed and planted bulbs of narcissus and tulip.

【Students level the soil.】
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【Lay flower seedlings and bulbs in the shape of a heart】
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【Students plant flowers.】
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One of the class representatives who designed the flowerbed said "Thanks to everybody, we were able to finish off the flowerbed more beautifully than we expected. We want to be of help in restoring our town as much as possible through filling up our town with flowers." Violas will continue to bloom till next spring; narcissus will be at the best time in late April, tulips in early May. We are looking forward to see those flowers bloom in coming spring.
JEN will continue to support children's proactive activities.

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December 6, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

11/22/2012

Takeda's trainees volunteer for fishemen's restart

The twenty-four new recruits, trainees of an induction course, of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. volunteered to engage in reconstruction assistance for three days from November 15.

【The trainees attend an orientation.】
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After the group of the new recruits arrived at Ishinomaki, they made a guided tour around areas stricken by the disaster such as Hiyoriyama park, the district of Kadowaki and Minamihama, and the town of  Sakanama and Onagawa and then got lectured about reconstruction assistance projects from JEN staff members.
Then they moved to the workplace of Minami-sanriku Oyster Farmers' Association at the town of Minami-sanriku. It is a new cooperative association set up after the disaster by farmers who had been fishing under individual management.

【JEN staff member teaches volunteers how to go about today's work at the workplace of Minami-sanriku Oyster Farmers' Association.】
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They got right down to business. On that day they worked on "ear-hanging" scallop spat(piercing the resilium to string them).

【"Ear-hanging" scallop spat】
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They tied one-year-old scallops one after another with a rope to hang them in the sea, which had been transferred from Hokkaido.

【An one-year-old spat】
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【Trainees get on their work, learning from farmers.】
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Some two hundred thousand scallops were just transferred earlier in the day. It's necessary to get the work done before they languish. Farmers usually start their work before down and continue until midnight in the next day, but on that day they could finish their work by five p.m. thanks to those volunteers.

Mr. Sasaki, a farmer with the association, says that the timing of volunteer's help came when farmers were busy harvesting wakame seaweed and kelp and planting sea squirts---quote---"We really appreciate people's applying to be volunteers. I can't say anything except thank you. While we are truly grateful for their help in ear-hanging scallops, we will be also happy if their experiences here in the production center of marine products of Sanriku would remind them of us when they go to a supermarket nearby to pick up marine products." The fisheries in the coast of Sanriku are still under severe conditions; port facilities remain damaged; serious shortage of human resources who support fisheries; harmful rumor. It's important for as many volunteers as possible visit there, witness what happened and is going on there and build a bond with people there.

【The scallops strung together are fork lifted and finally placed on farming rafts.】
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【Planting of kelp. Kelps held between twines of a rope grow to about two meters in a couple of months.】
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【At the end of the final day, looking back the day's work with farmers, volunteers ask farmers questions that they had in their mind during their work.】
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JEN will continue to accept volunteers from enterprises or organizations so as to develop people-to-people links

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓
○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
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November 22, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

11/15/2012

RYONRYON teaches how to dance!

The first dance class for children was opened up on October 28.
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It has been pointed out that children in the disaster-stricken area who are forced to study in temporary school buildings or live in provisional houses don't get much exercise. Though opening a dance class was a small step to address that problem, it aimed to help children to take more physical exercise and to release their daily stress,

【Children gather in gym.】
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When the scheduled time for the class came, children were in the middle of playing chasing. The children seemed to like simply exercising.
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The dance lesson started right after a warm up. The instructors of the lesson were Ms. Kyoko Nomura, also known as RYONRYON, who is doing excellent jobs as a choreographer and a backup dancer, and Ms. Minami Zushi who joined as Ms. Nomura's assistant. They came here from Tokyo to help teach how to dance.

【The children concentrate on dancing.】
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Younger children's group practiced tail-wagging dance to the tune titled "Mister" (KARA), elder children's group practiced Michael Jackson's "Beat it." It's getting exercise vigorously that is simple but important.

The child has such an ability to adapt to change in environment that the children have adjusted themselves to lives changed by the disaster. But as was pointed out in the lessons learned from Kobe earthquake or past disasters, there is a concern that juvenile delinquency will increase due to the change in living environment. It's essential for children's healthy growth that they have chances to acquit themselves of their living environment, exercise and relieve their stress.

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【The children take a commemorative photo with RYONRYON.】
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Pleasant hours flew past. The second dance class is expected to take place in November. JEN is committed to continuing to support children. We ask our supporters for their continued understanding and cooperation on our activities.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

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November 15, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

11/08/2012

Volunteers to restore farmland

This time we report one of JEN's volunteer activities in Tohoku. As we earlier posted photos on Facebook, JEN's volunteers for Tohoku disaster restoration worked on restoring damaged farmland in the Kamikama district of Ishinomaki city from December 3th to 4th.

【Volunteers grub the farmland for large rubbles.】
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One of the farmers in the area says that they have already tried to remove rubbles from the farmland several times, but there still remain a lot of rubles buried.
A farmer in the area says that his fraternity

【A stepladder has been grubbed.】
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JEN is restoring the farmland in contact with dozens of local farmer groups. The farmland was deadly damaged by the tsunami, for it is only one kilometer away from the coast. Therefore many farmers in this area have rented lots in different areas and restarted farming there. But at the same time, they are making steady efforts in seeking to restore their ancestral farmland. The farmers have removed large rubbles with heavy machinery, but that have buried small-to-medium-sized rubble into the ground.
If rubbles are left as they are, they will restrain farmers from cultivating the farmland with mechanical cultivator because rubbles damage the cultivator, that's why it's necessary to shovel rubbles off the farm land manually and patiently.

【Though removing rubbles requires patience.... 】
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What needs to be done at end is separating rubbles by types of them.

【Rubbles are separated manually.】
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You can get a distant view of a temporary rubble-yard.
At the end of the volunteer work farmers thanked the volunteers for their efforts and each volunteer replied how they felt about their work for the day.

【Look back on their work for the day with farmers.】
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"I realized there is still much work that needs to be done and even I can contribute. I'd like to come back."
"I had a quality time. I'd like to come back."
It was very striking that many of them with bright face said "I'd like to come back." under splendid fall weather. We JEN staff were also very happy to hear that.

【All told, 14 volunteers participate in two-day work on both individual basis and company basis. Good work today.】
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There are no reliable prospects that to what extent farm land can be restored. Though the farming community in this area decided to address the restoration of its farm land, some farmer who have moved inland expresses mixed feelings---quote---"Even now, I get sick by just approaching the coast," JEN will address each and every issue at hand coordinating closely with agricultural groups and local communities.

JEN reconstruction support volunteer information update
For details, see information below.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓
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For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone: 03-5225-9352, contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

November 8, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

11/01/2012

Mr. Panos Karan To Give Piano Recital

On October 21, Mr. Panos Karan, gave free concerts at several places. He is a young, energetic Greek pianist. Besides performing not only in Europe but also around the world from base in UK, he is providing those people who have no experience of classical music or live in disadvantaged environment with opportunities of listening to classical music through "Keys of Change", a charitable organization founded in 2010.

This time, he was accompanied by Raúl, one of his music partners, and so their four-handed, stirring performances healed many people's broken hearts. It was the second time for JEN to host concerts following the first one in this March. The series of concerts started at "Nakayashi-Kitsusa", a community cafe, in Kamikama area where Mr. Panos's previous concert was also held this March.
After giving a salute to his audience, Mr. Panos played Bach, Chopin and Brahm in turn. In particular, four-handed performances were so impressive that the audience of twenty-three local residents were satisfied with the world of classical music.

【Mr. Panos and Raúl play a duet at "Nakayashi-Kitsusa".】
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The former JEN staff who organized the concert held in this March joined us in the middle of the concert, and had a happy reunion with ex-coworkers after the concert. After the concert in Kamikama finished, they moved to "Fureai Recovery Marche"---a temporary shopping arcade to enhance opportunities for regional rehabilitation--- near the Ishinomori cartoon museum and had lunch there while looking at photos on display depicting the devastation caused by the disaster. While they were having lunch, the manager of the "Fureai Recovery Marche" said to him "We have an electric piano, so I wonder if I could ask you to play music. Just a tune would be fine." As a result, he gave an unscheduled performance on stage. Some ten people who happened to be there shouted bravo to him accompanied by applause all at once.

【Mr. Panos playing on stage at Fureai Rehabilitation Marche】
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They exchanged goodbyes after the performance and moved to Sarukoya music instrument store near Fureai Rehabilitation Marche. The store is known for having fixed damaged piano by the disaster. The president of the store, Mr. Inoue, explained us how he carefully fixed damaged pianos which had got muddy and rusty. The president said to Mr. Panos "This is the first piano we have restored." and he replied to the president that Mr. Inoue's restoration of pianos was also a popular topic of conversation in Europe. Mr. Panos said to the president "May I play this piano?" and he responded to Mr. Panos immediately saying "We'd like you to!"

【Mr. Panos plays the damaged piano.】
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Mr. Panos gave concerts on electric pianos at Kamikama and Fureai Rehabilitation Marce and so his grand piano playing made us realize how a grand piano was different from electric pianos in strength and melody of performance. The beautiful music made store staffs stop their work and gather around the piano. When the performance finished, he received ringing applause for a while.

But Mr. Inoue's professional ears didn't fail to detect that some of the piano wires were unstrung. Mr. Inoue requested Mr. Panos saying "Mr. Panos! We have a keyed piano upstairs, so I do want you to play that one!"
Going upstairs, when Mr. Panos began to play, a tune that even lay people can tell the difference in sound echoed through the store. After playing a tune, he asked Mr. Inoue saying "Mr. Inoue, May I play a tune that will apply too much a load to the piano." With Mr. Inoue's permission, he started playing a complex melody. Though his performance was over in a couple of minutes, the audience there was speechless with his powerful performance for a while. Mr. Inoue said "Excellent!"
Mr. Panao said "I'm able to get in touch with the soul of this piano. This piano was damaged, once died then come back from the dead. I'm happy to come across this piano. This is a symbol of recovery!"

【After Mr. Panos's performance at Sarukoya store.】
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They move from Sarukoya store to Kashiwagi Fureai center in the outskirts of Ishinomaki, and his final concert began. The audience of nine was mostly people from a temporary housing nearby. After the performance of classical music, "Sakura", a Japanese classical music, was played. A beautiful tune sounded through halls, some people were listening to his performance with tears.
Mr. Panos shook hands with every people saying goodbye.

【After Mr. Panos's concert at Kashiwaki Fureai Center】
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Accompanying Mr. Panos and Raul, we were enchanted with their beautiful tunes.
JEN is committed to working on recovery assistance projects in corporation with representatives of every sector of society.

【Commemorative photo with JEN staffs at JEN Ishinomaki office】
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====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
 Account holder: JEN

 
 Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card:
http://bit.ly/c7R8iA 
 Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone: 03-5225-9352, contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

November 1, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/25/2012

An exchange event between wheelchair tennis gold medalist Shingo Kunieda and the children of Ishinomaki

An exchange event between wheelchair tennis gold medalist Shingo Kunieda and the children of Ishinomaki

JEN is working on rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance projects in cooperation with UNIQLO CO., LTD in Ishinomaki. As part of the projects, an exchange event between the children of Ishinomaki and the London Paralympics gold medalist in the men's wheelchair singles tennis Mr. Kunieda who honorably captured two consecutive gold medals was held in Ishinomaki.

【Mr. Kunieda and the children of a tennis club】
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As we had a request from Mr. Kunieda to see how areas were damaged by the disaster, we showed him "Rehabilitation Fureai March---a temporary shopping arcade to enhance opportunities for regional rehabilitation", where he had a friendly talk with people there, taking a photo together.

【A visit to "Rehabilitation Fureai March" opened near the Ishinomaki comic museum this June】
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Looking at "the Ishinomori comic museum" which is scheduled to reopen in the end of November, we crossed the Utsumi Bridge to go to Kawaguchi town where we saw how debris has been temporary accumulated. He seemed surprised to see an overwhelming amount of debris and dozens of ventilation stacks to avoid spontaneous fire.
He witnessed the situation of subsidence near the Ishinomaki fish market and was stunned by the destructive power of the earthquake that had sunk the ground level over one meter.

【Mr.Kunieda sees subsidence areas.】
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After he crossed the Hiyori Bridge down to the Minamihama town, he saw how cars and a city hospital were destroyed by the tsunami and the Kadowaki primary school were struck by fire and then went to the Ishinomaki loan tennis club's tennis court---the representative of which club is Mr. Eiichi Honma. Children of local elementary schools and students of local high schools got a chance to question Mr. Kunieda like "How many times have you took part in the Olympics?","How many medals do you have?" Mr. Kunieda answered those questions respectfully and with an occasional touch of humor.

【Mr.Kunieda answers questions from high school students.】
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Mr. Kunieda opened a tennis school for children where he demonstrated his world's best tennis skills that gave him two gold medals, and gave them lessons. They seriously took a lesson from him.

【Mr. Kunieda gives children a lesson.】
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After he let children to touch and to wear the gold medal around their necks, the exchange event at Ishinomaki loan tennis club ended and Mr. Kunieda and JEN members move to another exchange event venue, the Kama elementary school. Mr. Doi, the Headmaster of the Kama elementary school, greeted us at the entrance of the school's gymnasium. After exchanging courtesies, they entered the gym where 487 children of the school were waiting for them. On their entrance, the whole gym burst into applause and Mr. Kunieda proceeded on to the bottom of stage showing fancy footwork and then the exchange event began.

【Children greet Mr. Kunieda.】
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When the facilitator of the event, Ms. Nao Hasumi, invited children saying "Raise your hands if you have any questions to Mr. Kunieda", almost all of them raised their hands saying "I'll!","Me!" This surprised Mr. Doi because most of the children are so shy that he at first thought that very few of them would raise their hands even if they could question Mr. Kunieda.

【Opposite to what Mr. Doi expected, children shoot questions at Mr. kunieda.】
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A child: "How old are you?"
Mr. Kunieda: "Guess how old I am?"
The other children: "Forty?", "Fifty?"...
Mr. Kunieda: "That's too much. You cut me."
Mr. Kunieda: "I'm twenty-eight."

Children: "No way!" The gym resounded with an exclamation of surprise they gave. After Mr. Kunieda also demonstrated his world's best tennis skills there, he ran a race with the children and took a commemorative photo. In his message to the children, he emphasized the importance of holding a dream, having a mental image of realizing the dream and never giving up.

【Mr. Kunieda tells his message to the children.】
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Finally, the children representative thanked Mr. Kunieda saying "I was learning tennis. But I haven't been able to practice for a year since the disaster, so I have had a tough time. But now I find pleasure in being able to play tennis. I was more inspired than ever by Mr. Kunieda's talk to become a professional tennis player. "
Within the Kama elementary school zone where this event was held, there are quite a few residents and pupils who were beaten to death by the disaster. The headmaster said that he wants to watch his pupils grow up through actively implementing lessons and events that can encourage them.

JEN is committed to watching the growth of pupils in corporation with schools and such through providing psychological support to pupils affected by the disaster.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657

 Account holder: JEN

 
 Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://bit.ly/c7R8iA 

 Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone: 03-5225-9352, contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

October 25, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/18/2012

'Fureai-Hiroba festival to 'Revive Kamikama'"

On October 14, a fine autumn Sunday, a festival titled "Fureai-Hiroba festival to 'Revive Kamikama'(a festival providing an opportunity for residents to interact each other and renew their resolve to revive Kamikama)" was held to celebrate the resumption of the park, where tulips were planted as reported in the previous report.

【On fine autumn Sunday, many people joined.】
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【The inauguration begins with a prayer.】
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Some 200 victims were temporary buried in this park because of the shortage of space to lay out the remains in the aftermath of the disaster. In the beginning of the festival, people gathered prayed for the repose of all the disaster victims and those who were buried in this park.
【Mr. Kameyama, the mayor of the city of Ishinimaki, delivers his opening address.】
Mr. Kameyama too, the mayor of the city of Ishinimaki city, took the platform and deliverd his opening address; "I hope that the resumption of this park will set the stage for the rebirth of our community." After many other people offered their congratulations, a ribbon was cut to open the park.

【Tulip bulbs planted by children to commemorate the day.】
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Mr. Watanabe who had joined in planting tulips recently said "We were able to plant tulips among us. That gave us a chance to get together in this park again, so I'm very happy. The rest of the park remains rough, so I want to plant there with tulips too." After a warm-up, a variety of attractions were featured.

【After an opening, haneko dance(dance up and down) is performed.】
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【Big jump rope】
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【The final attraction, tug of war.】121018_sdsc_0279



Following a warm-up, there were lots of attractions such as obstacle course, big jump rope, kite flying and tug of war. Kamikama area has been very big for town athletic meet, and so people enjoyed taking part in competitions for the first time in quite some time.

【They enjoy lunchtime over imoni.】
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【A fish stand】
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We asked opening stands of people in Higashihama, Sasunnohama and Kaduma where JEN is engaging in supportive activities. Thus JEN takes it as one of our important missions to encourage local communities in Ishinomaki to interact each other, promote better understanding and ties between them and advance together toward recovery.

Under the blue sky, it was really impressive to see children happily running around and local residents smiling. The festival also attracted people living in temporary housing or those who are taking shelter in other places and they enjoyed happy reunion for the first time in a while. JEN is committed to assisting local communities sympathetically aiming to revive local communities.

【Neighborhood association facilitators, volunteers take a ceremonial photo.】

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October 18, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/11/2012

Make ten-thousand tulips bloom!

On October 7, a fine autumn Sunday, some seventy community residents and volunteers got together at the Kamikama fureai(interacting each other) park located at west end of the city of Ishinomaki. They planted ten-thousand bulbs of tulips in the park with the support of FELISSIMO CORP. funds office.

Many disaster victims were temporary buried in this park because of the shortage of space to lay out remains in the aftermath of the disaster. That's why some people have mixed emotions toward the resumption of the park. But officials in charge prioritized bringing playground back to children and decided to resume the park, after a long and careful consideration of whether to resume the park or not. The renovation work on the park started this April and finally it began to open for public from October. There used to be many cherry trees and azaleas in the park but they had been damaged by the tsunami and cut down. That's why this planting event was organized.

【Bulbs sent from the Netherlands, flower kingdom】
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Bulbs are planted carefully so that they might sprout and bloom beautifully.

【If bulbs are planted in the same direction, they sprout leafs on a level with each other and bloom beautifully.】
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At lunchtime, local women served participants imoni(hotpot of taro), a traditional dish to celebrate the autumn harvest in Miyagi prefecture. They are women who helped JEN in preparing meals outdoors at Kamikama area as an emergency first aid treatment right after the disaster. Volunteers enjoyed a pleasant time with them over imoni.

【Happy time over Imoni(hotpot of taro)】
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【They also plant Azalea, city flower.】
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【They have got planting finished by 3 p.m. Good job, today!】
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Blessed with good weather, they were able to get scheduled work finished. You participants did a good job, today. Children have very few places to play after the disaster because many parks or town squares have been damaged by the disaster and even survived ones were used to build temporary housing. The renovated park has a basketball court and an artificial turf field and so a lot of children visit the park almost every day.

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It's expected to hold a festival hosted by local neighborhood association, titled "'Fureai-Hiroba festival to 'Revive Kamikama'(a festival providing an opportunity for residents to interact each other and renew their resolve to revive Kamikama)", in celebration of the resumption of the park. There used to be some 1,000 households in Kamikama area before the disaster, but now no more than 400 of them remain there after the disaster. The rebirth of the community is only half done. JEN is committed to advancing shoulder to shoulder with the community and people in this area.

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October 11, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/04/2012

A festival serves as a steppingstone to rebuild community spirit; the summer festival of Kaduma area

Sultry days of summer are ending and Ishinomaki is finally getting cool. Between August and September, each of the neighborhood associations in Minato-kaduma area of Ishinomaki city held their summer festival.

【On August 18, a festival to celebrate the renovation of Kaduma-nishi park(popular name: Panda Park)】
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The park in this photo had been banned to use, because there had been no prospect for renovation of the playground equipments that had been left damaged in the park since the disaster.
However, there are quite a few public apartments in the area with many children in Kaduma area and so people in the area had been calling for the early resumption of the park. The community association president for the public apartments, Mr. Tsuchiya, made necessary adjustments with local government and volunteers who offered to supply playground equipments about the resumption of the park on behalf of people in the area, finally renovating the park.

【Many children gather.】
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As a basketball court was also set up at the back of the park, the park is always lively with cheerful voices of not only nursery school toddlers, but high school students.

【On September 2, being blessed with fine weather, "Ganbatsucha(Stick to it, Kaduma)" takes place at Kaduma-higashi park.】
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This year again, "Ganbatsucha (Stick to it, Kaduma)" was held at Kaduma-higashi park. This park has also been renovated and now many children are seen to play with new playground equipments.

【Children play with new playground equipments】
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【Many people gather to enjoy a live entertainment on stage.】
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【On September 30, a festival "Dai Ochako Nomi(Big tea party)" takes place hosted by the third neighborhood association of Kaduma.】
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On September 30, the third neighborhood association of Kaduma hosted a tea party festival titled "Dai Ochako Nomi(Big tea party)". The venue for the festival was a new assembly house and its square built this June. Neighborhood association officials' really wanted to make the festival exciting and their enthusiasm for the festival came through loud and clear.

【Volunteers outside the prefecture help in mochi(rice cake) pounding.】
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【Last year's venue was the parking lot of a damaged large scale bookstore】
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One of the festival participants said with deep emotion, "It's been eighteen months since ...."

【A fisherman from Kitsunezaki in the Oshika Peninsula opens a fish stand】
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This year, there appeared even a fish shop that you can put fishes into a bag as many as you can. Residents were extremely excited to be able to buy as many fishes as they want at a bargain price 500 yen a bag. A fisherman who opened up the shop said, "While I live in Ishinomaki, I have had few occasions for joining festivals of nearby communities in Ishinomaki. But I will value the relationship of this kind in the days ahead." We introduced three festivals of this year as above; each of them was held in a friendly and laughing atmosphere. It seems that people beginning to have room to breathe little by little. However, one of the festival participants said "It was not until fixing damaged house of mine that I could make up my mind to return to my home town."
He said that at first he didn't know what to do by himself but finally he made up his mind in the course of the conversation with people in the same community because the conversation taught him what was going on around him. The road to recovery varies between members in the community. But I believe when community members respect and cooperate with each other, they can give the entire community momentum to take the initiative in addressing the recovery of the region as a whole. That's why when community members work together on a festival, it can promote dialogue and cooperation among them and rebuild community spirit. I paused to realize that the effort to work on something really is where produces value.

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October 4, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

09/20/2012

The coming of autumn to the Oshika Peninsula; Ogihama autumn festival takes place.

On September 9, an autumn festival took place at Ogihama in Oshika Peninsula. They say that people in the area slightly feel autumn coming when the Ogihama autumn festival takes place, because many other neighboring villages hold festivals in spring. Ogihama was deadly devastated by the tsunami on the heels of the Great East Japan Earthquake. A total of fourteen families (thirty people) whose houses have been swept away now live in temporary housing in Ogihama area, and others live away from Ogihama in temporary housing or rental housing provided by the government.

Mr. Fushimi, the representative of Shinto shrine---also chairs the steering committee of Fishery Cooperative Association---sent invitations to all the people who left Ogihama so that people may be able to use the festival as an opportunity to get together at Ogihama. On the festival day, many people who are away from Ogihama returned to see the festival.

【Photo: Ms. Esashi living in Ogihama temporary housing, Mr. Sugiura heading the ward of Samuraihama】
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I heard that there are traditional practices in Ogihama shrine; "No women admitted", "No cries(Heave ho!) allowed when carrying a mikoshi(portable shrine)." The mikoshi carrier leaves his home with his mousse holding a sheet of paper between his teeth and is prohibited from making any sound until the festival is over---this year so many volunteers joined the festival that the practices were eased though---. The chief priest of Ogihama Shinto shrine, shrine parishioner and volunteers together made a visit to the shrine at the top of the flight of 206 steps. I hear the shrine is the highest in that area. The shrine commands an extensive prospect of the bay of Ogihama.

【Photo: View from the Shinto shrine】
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【Photo: Shinto Shrine】
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After having shrine rituals in the shrine compound, they walked down the flight and started preparing the mikoshi.
Local young people and volunteers followed the leading car loaded with a drum, carrying the mikoshi on their shoulders. On arriving at the sea, they loaded the mikoshi onto a ship and carried the Mikoshi by ship all the way around the bay of Ogihama, going back and winding through the town again.

【Photo: The mikoshi travels around the bay of Ogihama】
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【Photo: The mikoshi winds through the town】
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Last year the festival took place on a smaller scale, but it was thanks to the cooperation with many volunteers, organizations and people who had involved in Ogihama, including JEN that the community of Ogihama was able to hold the festival on as large a scale as pre-disaster festival.

The festival closed with mochimaki---scattering red and white rice cakes; a Shinto ritual to disperse evils---drawing cheers. It goes without saying that the festival was full of smiling faces of participants everywhere.

【Photo: Mochimaki before the Ogihama branch office】
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【Photo: Scattered rice cakes】
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September 20, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

Firemen's relay road race across the country one and a half years after the disaster

At 2:00 p.m. on September 11th, the last runner of a relay road race crossed the goal at Ishinomaki fire department with a sash that had been handed over from fireman to fireman across the country.

【Photo: Mr. Muto, a member of the relay road race planning committee, and JEN's staff】
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【Photo: The very moment of finishing】
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The relay road race started from the city of Kagoshima on March 11, which was planned by firemen volunteers across the country in order to encourage the local fire department, firemen and their families who have been inflicted by the Great East Japan Earthquake. With a hope for recovery in mind, a total of 8,124 firemen runners ran 4,881 kilometers passing the sash across one city government and 25 prefectures.

Mr. Kazuyoshi Noda(43 year old) and three officials of Ishinomaki fire department were in charge of the last leg of the relay race; He worked for Onagawa fire department at the time of the disaster and not only four fellow workers of his were killed or among missing but also he himself was badly injured. Finishing the goal line, Mr. Noda, deputy commander, said "I feel strong gratitude toward all the firemen who relayed the sash and all the people who supported us. We could feel and deepen a bond with firemen across the nation through the relay road race."

【Photo: the finisher, deputy commander Mr. Noda】
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Citizens living in temporary housing and children in the neighborhood arrived on the scene to cheer firemen runners.

【Photo: Residents of the fourth Minamisakai temporary housing】
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【Photo: Ms. Sakagami and pupils of the second Minato primary school practice singing.】
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After the last runner hit the goal, all the people gathered took a commemorative photo. At the end, Meiko Sakagami sang "Thank you Fire Fighter", the theme song of musical, "Fireman's prayer", together with citizens and pupils with tears in their eyes.

The relics to "Thank you Fire Fighters." go like this.
Those words can never say what you mean to us,
Thank you Fire Fighters, for all the things you do
it's not just a job.....but a way of life.
These words are what we truly feel, it's all we have.
We give you from our hearts, from deep inside of us,
what mere words can not reveal.
NO matter what may happen, when our homes are up in flames
You don't even know our names, but you come through.....
'Tho your family understands, something it's all in vain.
They will always have you on their minds, They feel your stress
and in their dreams, they feel your pain.
Fear is not a part of what you're made of, not at all.
Danger is your companion, it's part of what you do.
Everyday risking your life to save others when you get the call.
I say "Thank you,""Arigato,"I say "Thank you."
Thank You Fire Fighters,

【Photo: Ms.Sakagami and children singing "Thank you Fire Fighters"】
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In his address of thanks, Mr. Hoshi, the fire chief of Ishinomaki fire department, said "My heart was full to hear that Kagoshima was not only among the first to send the search party from its fire department to Ishinomaki but also was where the relay road race started. Here in Ishinomaki, still shy of eight hundred people are missing, among them are four fellow firemen of ours. As we could renew our courage today, we reiterate our determination to find out as many missing persons as possible." All the people who gathered there observed one minute's silence for the victims of the earthquake at 2:46 p.m. with the sound of the fire bell pulled out of the rubble ringing.

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【Photo: Silent prayer at 2:46 p.m.】
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The closing ceremony of the relay road race completed after its planning committee exhibited the sash stained with sweat of runners and Japan's national flag with messages from fishermen across the country.

【Photo: Japan's national flag with messages written on it】
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This time the musical band of the fire department didn't give any performance using new donated instruments, because firemen continued their effort to search for missing people. We strongly hoped on that day that the day would come soon when we could listen to their spirited performance again.

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September 20, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

09/13/2012

Hama-yu, a meeting house of Sasunohama is inaugurated!

On September 9, "Sasunohama-Goya(Hama-yu)"---a pre-fab hut by the sea in Sasunohama village---was inaugurated. "Sasunohama-Goya" is a public place for people in the village community to hold meetings.

【The ceremony is held inside the tent set up before the hut with big-catch flags flying. 】
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Sasunohama is a small village located at the base of the Oshika peninsula. There used to live forty families before the disaster, but now only seven of them remain because many houses have been washed away by the tsunami. Other families are still taking shelter apart at relatives' homes or temporary housing.
JEN is working on two assistance projects in parallel which provide fishermen with fishing equipments and local communities with voluntary services respectively, having had discussions and workshops in advancing these projects.
During the discussion, participants expressed a desire, "We need a place where any villagers not only who remain in the village but also who are temporary living away from the village can get together." and so Sasunohama-Goya was set up.

【After an opening speech from a person involved, the key to the Hama-yu was handed to villagers】
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People in the village decided to give a nickname, Hama-yu, to the meeting place through their talks, the word-for-word translation of which nickname from Kanji to English is "beach-friend", because the nickname has the same sound as a vernacular word, "beach-play" in Kanji, that means children play on the beach or on the boat.

【Villagers and people involved together in a photo.】
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It was a builder with its headquarter in Hamadori(Coastal region), Fukushima prefecture that took on the construction of the meeting house. They say that they set up a branch office in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture and began their business after the earthquake and the subsequent nuclear accident. A staff of the builder said in his speech "We will make efforts to work for the recovery of the areas stricken by the disaster here in Miyagi prefecture until the day when we are able to come back to our home town."

【A get-together after the ceremony.】
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【Village women take care of cooking.】
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In Sasuno-hama, oysters are going to be shipped this fall and so it's now being planned to open a Kaki-goya, a store that provides tourists and volunteers with oysters fresh from the sea in time for the oyster season.
IIf everything goes well, the store will be open for business in mid October at a booth attached to Hama-yu.
We will continue to provide our breaking assistance news just in time on how people in fishery village advance step by step for months to come.
We would like to ask you for the understanding and cooperation to our activities.
Both the Sanrikukahoku Shinpou dated September 8 and the Ishinomaki-nichinichi Shinbunn dated September 10 covered the inauguration ceremony. Do go through those newspapers.

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September 13, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

09/06/2012

A Project to help fishermen make their livings; the second report from Omotehama

I know it's sudden, but do you know what this device the fisherman holds in his hands is used for catching?

【A plastic pot and a weight are added to the one end of a rope.】
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It is not visible externally but it has a funnel shaped entrance at one end with a hole at the tip so that, if targets once wander into it through the hole, they can't get out of it. He says that it used to be made of bamboo. This is Dou, a trap to catch congers that are in season now.

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JEN is assisting fishermen in providing fishing equipments they are in need of to help fishermen live by fishing, finding out their needs through fishermen's cooperative they belong. Omotehama fishermen's cooperative requested these rolls of rope for conger fishing. The photo shows the fishing equipments being carried into the fishermen's cooperative. They were allocated to fishermen according to the level of their operation. Each fisherman puts ropes and pots together to make traps for their fishing back home.

【Fishermen can't help smiling when fishing equipments were allocated.】
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【There are 47 admitted conger fishermen in Omotehama; 21 of them actually fish for congers】
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This photo shows fishermen preparing for the day's fishing. Traps are arranged neatly on a fishing boat. They say a boat of this size in the photo--eight ton--can carry as many as 1,200 traps in all and it takes four to five persons to load. The total extension of the traps is as long as 20 kilometers.

From what I heard, they fish for congers nearly fifteen to seventeen times a month, though it depends on the weather.

【Fishermen who lost their boats board fellow fishermen's boats.】
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Mr. Osawa who is one of the admitted conger fishermen said a bit humorously "Even after the disaster, what we can harvest from the sea remain unchanged and I'm proud of what I had been doing and so I must resume it at first. I suffered from the disaster, but I have never thought about giving up fishing for that reason. By that argument, whenever I'm on the boat, I always "feel terrible", or "feel like quitting fishing", so I did even before the disaster. Even fishermen get seasick. We just endure it (laugh)."

Resuming what they had been doing before the disaster: It's not well known that Omotehama is one of the nationwide conger fishing places; Omotehama used to the largest congers fishing place in Japan, still the largest in eastern Japan. The conger fishing is at its peak from July to September and continues until around December. He said "Because my boat have survived the tsunami, I can continue my fishery and so I even think that it's an obligation for fishermen whose boats have survived like me to show other fishermen to follow that 'We aren't over yet!'"

【Harvested congers. Both catches and market price stay at the same level as in an average year.】
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【A photo taken with admitted conger fishermen 】
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It's true that the conger fishing has resumed but in the meantime however, they have a long way to rebuild houses and the wharf of their fishing port, regain boats and recover fisheries.
JEN will continue its activities with fishermen there.

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September 6, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/30/2012

Summer community festival of Oomori housing estate in Ishinomaki takes place.

Oomori housing estate for disaster victims is situated in Futamata district about fifteen minutes by car toward north from the center of the city of Ishinomaki, which district is abundant in natural environment surrounded by mountains and rice paddies, and a total of 450 families of 867 people are living there as of August 1, 2012. It consists of four residential areas, among which the residents of the third and the fourth one got their residents' associations started respectively. It was in late July, exactly one month ago, when we got calls from Mr. Abe and Mr. Utsumi who were the heads of those associations. They said they were seeking to hold a summer community festival of Oomori housing estate on August 25.

They told me that they hand in hand with their residents hope to make a community festival success with the help of volunteers, organizations who are involved in this housing estate including JEN. JEN's community support group in charge of community outreach replied to them that we are happy to cooperate with them. Thus the festival plan was discussed and decided on August 14 in the second meeting and has led some organizations including JEN to cooperate with the residents' associations in opening their food or toy stalls in the festival. JEN' stall offered shaved ice--usually served with flavored simple syrup--and yo-yo fishing--yo-yo fishing is a Japanese festival game of fishing balloons(with loops attached), floating in water, out with a hook. On the day, it was sunny since morning with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees and clouded with many people throughout the day.

【Photo 1: the special stage set up for the festival of Oomori housing estate】
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【Photo 2: JEN's stall offers shaved ice.】
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【Photo 3: JEN's stall offers yo-yo fishing】
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A lot of entertainments were included in the festival; "Fureai concert"--a concert for promoting spiritual exchange--featured a "shovel-shamisen" --playing music with a shovel and a bottle opener as if it were a shamisenn, a three-stringed Japanese instrument--playing by a world champion; a performance of "Shishi-Furi"--a local dance with a lion's mask in the area of Tonami; a watermelon splitting contest; a karaoke singing competition. In the evening, people greatly enjoyed Bon dancing.

【Photo 4: Bon Dance】
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The summer festival organized by residents including heads of residents' associations showcased a pleasant time of a short summer in the northern provinces of Japan.
Let's turn their collective efforts into a positive force to take one step forward.

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August 30, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/23/2012

Temporary housing residents participate in a disaster drill

As part of the continuous support for residents of temporary housing, JEN cooperates with the residents' association to hold a disaster drill.
This time we report how we have conducted a drill to supply food to disaster victims as a part of the drill. In case of a disaster, there will be no hope of receiving public assistance for at least three days in the post-disaster period due to disruption of lifelines or severed distribution systems, though they had no direct damage from the tsunami or earthquake fire. By the time some relief from outside arrives, self-reliant efforts and mutual assistance are indispensable.

The general principle of temporary housing scheme was to pick sites avoiding places affected by the tsunami and to choose residents by lottery regardless of their communities, as a result in many cases residents from different regions or hometowns came to live together.
That's why it is critical that the residents are trained in preparation for disaster so that they can cooperate with each other beyond community difference. This was the third time the drill in supplying food to disaster victims had been held, as well as evacuation and emergency life guard drill.

【Temporary housing residents gathered at a community hall. 】
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This drill was conducted under the mentorship of "camper", a nonprofit organization who specializes in area protection against disaster and securing of food supplies in emergencies. JEN's local staff also took part in the drill.

【It's time to start cooking!】
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The participating residents expressed their impressions saying, "I was lucky to be able to learn how to supply food for disaster victims from regional disaster prevention perspective.", "I feel that it would be nice to perform this drill routinely as a housing estate event."

【Now it's done. Take a break!】
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In the wake of the disaster, it is the importance of area protection against disaster and mutual assistance in community that has got a lot of attention afresh. JEN will continue to address assistance activities for local community aimed at realizing a society where people there help each other and put their minds together.

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August 23, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/09/2012

The festival to mark the opening of Ishinomaki port takes place; pause to pray for the repose of victims' souls and the restoration and then make a step forward.

The biggest event in Ishinomaki and its surroundings, "the memorial festival of the opening of Ishinomaki port" was held for two days from July 31 to August 1 at the central city street of Ishinomaki as its main venue. While the festival was forced to reduce its schedule and content due to the aftermath of the disaster, the street was alive with many citizens, visitors and volunteers.
It is a Buddhist service which used to be held in many areas for those drowned in rivers or seas that marked the beginning of "the memorial festival of the opening of Ishinomaki port" and has been held together with a fireworks exhibition to attract tourists since 1916. And it also expresses gratitude to old Mr. Mgobei Kawamura who first opened Ishinomaki port and formed the basis for its current prosperity and has a long tradition with this year marking its 89th anniversary of performance.

【A memorial service for the dead held in the evening of July 31】
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【A bout 15,000 Lantern-offerings on the Kitakami River】
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【The statue of old Mr. Magobe Kitamura at Hiwayama Park】
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【Nakase Park where fireworks are to set off.】
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A parade of primary school pupils' band of drums and fifes came back as part of the festival after a two-year absence and its lively sound resounded all over the town. The parade of three junior high-school brass bands started staging first at noon followed by the rank of spirited pupils of seventeen primary schools lead by Kadowaki primary school. As Kadowaki primary school has its schoolhouse burnt down by the ensuring fire right after the tsunami, it is giving classes at schoolrooms offered by Kadowaki junior high school. But with the support of music instruments from many supporters including JEN, the pupils of Kadowaki primary school overcame the disaster to show their lively faces in public.

Getting the parade of drum and fife band done successfully under the scorching sun, no doubt, the pupils will develop into attractive persons.

【The Kadowaki primary school drum and fife band marches at the head.】
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【The drum and fife band of the Minato second primary school 】
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In the evening, fireworks were set off to wish for the repose of victims' souls and recovery from the disaster by the old Kitakami River at the finale.

【Fireworks set off from the old Kitakami River】
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August 9, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/02/2012

Volunteers clean up the Shirahama beach, Kitakami Town, dreaming of getting a bathing resort back.

JEN rounded up volunteers to clean up the beach of Shirahama, Jyusanhama District, Kitakami Town, Miyagi Prefecture on August 18, 19, 28 and 29. While there were 28 bathing beaches before the disaster hit Miyagi prefecture, now bathing is possible only at the beach of Odanohama, Ooshima District, Kesennuma City. I heard that Odanohama was reopened as a bathing resort through local authorities', residents' and volunteers' great efforts on July 21.

(Related information: In the 22/7/2012 issue of The Kahokushinpou )

【Currently swimming is not allowed. 】
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Large rubbles on the beach of Shirahama were removed but still litters were scattered here and there on it. A local fisherman who had worked on fishery assistance with us taught us about the dismal state of the beach of Shirahama. Some 20 volunteers joined us in cleaning up the beach every day from all over the country.

【Let's get started.】
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【Many junior high and high school students volunteered for cleaning up the beach.】
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【A junior high school student pushes a hand car】
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【Raked rubbles】
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【To make it easier to gather up rubbles, they were put in flexible containers. 】
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We worked on this cleaning activity in close contact with the local authorities.
The Kitakami general branch office of municipal government is supposed to take on gathering up collected rubbles. There used to be forty families in Shirahama district, but all of their houses have been swept away by the tsunami.
The local authorities say that they are planning to start putting up a coast levee that is 8.4 meters high in January 2014 and opening the beach again for bathing is possible. With the hope of regaining vitality to the beach, we will continue cleaning activities by asking people such as children there for help.

【Once-crowded Shiroishihama. The number of sea-goers once peaked at over ten thousand a year 】
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Photo: An excerpt from the city of Ishinomaki's website

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August 2, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/26/2012

The Aikawa primary school drum and fife band marches through Jyusanhama.

Having been devastated by the disaster, Aikawa primary school in Kitakami Town, Ishinomaki City is giving classes at schoolrooms offered by Yoshiura primary school in the same town along with Yoshihama primary school which has also been damaged by the disaster.

Thanks to the rock band GLAY who approves "HOPE FOR JAPAN", an initiative by "mudef", a general incorporated association, a total of 289 music instruments of 86 kinds were presented to 16 primary, junior high and high schools in Ishinomaki, including Aikawa primary school.

The drum and fife band comprised of all the pupils of that Aikawa primary school held concerts at eight places in Kitakami Town on July 8,

【Photo 1:The band's performance at Jyusanhama-Komuro area.】
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The entire band member had practiced together playing drums, harmonicas, trumpets and accordions since July and gave those gathered the results of its practice in perfect harmony conducted by a sixth grader; the audience gave a warm hand to the band.

The band played at the temporary housing in Nikkori(smily) Sun Park, the first of a series of its performances held at seven places within the Aikawa school district such as Oomuro, Komuro and so on,

【Photo:The band marching through the district】
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Aikawa primary school is set to be closed next spring and so this is the last concert under the name of Aikawa primary school. The local people listening to the performance said "My heart is full when I think this will be the last playing to listen to." The pupils will also never forget today's playing.

【People of Jyuusanhama listen to pupils playing.】
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In Kitakami district, not a few people still forced to live under difficult conditions in temporary housing but today they looked getting refreshed to listen to the pupils play cheerfully. JEN is committed to keeping a close eye on the pupils. As always, we appreciate your continuing support for our activities.

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July 26, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/19/2012

Koganehama Festival in July 7; JEN help a community rebuild its community hall.

On July 7, a festival took place at the Koganehama Hall, a community hall in the western part of Watanoha dictrict. The Hall was inundated up to the ceiling and heavily damaged by the tsunami; its walls were swept away. Since many volunteers removed sludge and made emergency repair, it has been used for various purposes. JEN has been engaged in hall-based support for local community.

The raging tsunami inundated the Hall to the ceiling and swept away its walls.

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【Having received an emergency repair, the Hall has been used for distributing relief supplies and all. 】
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After an emergency repair, the Hall has been used as hub for different support groups to engage in assistance activities such as distributing relief supplies to victims living in the neighborhood, preparing hot meals and providing psychological support to victims.
JEN started full-fledged renovation last fall because of a request from the Koganehama Hall Administrative Operation Committee.

【Preparation for renovation】
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【After the renovation】
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The picture below shows people preparing the site for the festival. Unfortunately, it rained on that day but more than one hundred people gathered.

【People gathered at the Hall】
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【Stalls opened in front of the Hall】
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The man in the middle of this picture is Mr. Konno, a local carpenter who contracted to repair the Hall. He is a nice guy who removes debris on his own initiative as a citizen volunteer.

【A local women opened a stall to sell homemade curry rice. 】
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【A karaoke singing competition was held in the evening.】
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【They played a live Gospel show!】
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Other programs were also included in the festival such as hula, string concert and so on. You could see smiling faces everywhere at the festival site. Needles to say, repairing the Hall neatly is necessary, but we think giving assistance to "people" who use it is much more needed. Some of the committee members were killed in the disaster and quite a few members still live a life of evacuee. That's why the operating body of the Hall, its self-governing ability, has been lost.

Therefore JEN is helping local community set up places for discussion or workshops among local residents on behalf of the Hall committee in the hope that our support will encourage the local community to reorganize the Hall committee. In subsequent reports, we are going to present how we help local community administrate the hall.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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July 19, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/12/2012

It's a joy to work at sea. The second report on the job creation project in Omotehama

In four coastal areas, Omotehama, Higashihama, Urahama and Ishinomaki, JEN has started a job creation project that JEN asks fishermen to work on making fishing nets with materials which JEN has provided for them and supply those products to fishermen whose fishing nets have been washed away by the tsunami.

On June 29 along with people from the magazine house which issues "STORY", "B-ST"(People who for Beauty do their beST and are Beauties on a STage and live for a Beauty STory), we set out on a tour to Omotehama where the magazine house has been supporting to supply fishing nets. This time we visited Mr. Takahashi in Kyubunhama, Omotehama area, who calls himself a small fisherman. It is a small fisherman who, in dive fishing using a variety of tools, lives on catching seasonal fishes and seafood that grows in rocky coastal waters such as shellfish, seaweed and so on.

Fishermen use a small fishing boat with a winch to lift nets when they harvest mantis shrimps. After about ten minutes navigation, we could see a buoy, which is a marker of a trap net.

【A marker buoy of a trap net.】
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【Winch the trap net set the day before.】
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【While winching, they are taking catches off the net one by one.】
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【Mr. Takahashi is working on a ship.】
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【Mantis shrimps just removed from net.】
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Mr. Takahashi is engaging in fishing with his wife and son. His wife Teruyo said to us "After the disaster, we have been doing part-time job at a noodle shop but participating this project provided us an opportunity to return to fishery. Then it's very fulfilling and challenging after all. No doubt, there are a lot of no easy matters!"

【Ms. Teruyo says laughingly "Living on fishery is challenging."】
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【People from "STORY" and "B-ST" magazine and JEN staff listen to Mr. And Ms. Takahashi】
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Mr. Takahashi said "From now on, we get on with my family and are thinking of challenging culture fishery." I heard that at first, as they have lost everything, he said to his son "You can give up fishing." But according to him, his son said to him "All I can do is fishing. Because I've learned to live on fishing, I'll continue to work as a fisherman."and actually he chose to follow a career as a fisherman.

They still have a mountain full of issues to tackle, the bank raising of the harbor, obtaining ships and fishery equipments that have been washed away by the tsunami, moving to high ground from temporary houses and so on. We got a feeling that they are strong enough to put feasible problems first into practice.
JEN is committed to stand by people who make progress toward recovery.
We seek the continued support for our activities.

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July 12, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/05/2012

Restoring a vibrant fishery 2!: Banya(fishermen's lodge) project starts

JEN has been tackling with a broad range of assistance for fishery reconstruction in Ishinomaki since last year. This time we are going to introduce the second report on our assistance action in ten coasts, which are under the control of the Ishinomaki branch office of the Japan Fisheries Cooperatives, or JF. Refer here for our assistance to ten coasts in Ishinomaki so far. The first prefabricated Banya was set up yesterday at Momoura.

【Pray for safety before setting up】
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By the way, Banya is a fishermen's vernacular word which means a place or lodge where fishermen work and take a rest. As this photo shows, almost all of the harbor facilities and housing of Momoura have been devastated by the tsunami. Sixteen fishermen there are now working on recovering coastal fishing. They are living in temporary houses or hired private houses far away from their workplace, the seashore of Momoura. Some of them commute from a place within Sendai city about eighty kilometers from the workplace. The height of summer is just around the corner but live-out fishermen don't have even a place to stop for lunch. 

【Banya set up】
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Banya was set up at the place in front of the harbor, on which place a branch office of JF used to stand. "This will allow us to sit down and work during summer. We really appreciate your assistance!"

【"Thank you!" They are shaking hands with a firm grip.】
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JEN is committed to continued efforts to support self-reliance efforts of afflicted people (days and months to come). Installation of Banya is scheduled to take place at five other places including shared use starting with Momoura.
We will report in series how Banya setting up takes place.

【Taking a commemorative photo with fishermen of Momoura】
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July 5, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

06/30/2012

【Breaking News】That toppled giant symbol of fish canning disappeared!

It was that giant can that could be seen in crossing Hiwa-ohashi Bridge.

While some people said "We hope to preserve it as a symbol of suffering", local authorities caught what many people said like "That reminds us of the tsunami every time I see it." and today they started to demolish it.

The demolition work started at nine and the giant can has been taken away by noon.



June 30, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

06/28/2012

Large catch of mantis shrimp, Job creation project No.1: Making fish nets for mantis shrimp

While Miyagi prefecture boasts oyster culture nationwide, its sea off Higashihama and Omotehama in the Oshika Peninsula is also a fishing ground for mantis shrimp from spring to summer every year. It is mantis shrimp that is a well-known sushi item. But almost all of the fishing nets for mantis shrimp fishery have been swept away by the tsunami. What's more, after the disaster fishing nets have been in short supply and so it's difficult for fishermen there to purchase new ones. JEN therefore has started a job creation project that JEN asks the fishermen to work on making fishing nets with materials which JEN has provided for them and supplies completed fishing nets to them for use in fishing. After JEN buys the completed fishing nets from the fishermen, then they are provided for the fishermen equally through each branch office of Fisheries Cooperative Association.


In doing so, it is possible for both those who produce fishing nets and others who live in fishing to be able to earn their livings. Furthermore, experienced fishermen can not only pass on their technology to next generation but also promote intergenerational exchange by teaching how to make fishing nets to young fishermen.
While the fishermen ship mantis shrimps fresh to markets, we also assist them in providing skytanks which are critical for the fishermen to ship. Refer here("Hey! The skytanks just came!", 17/5/2012) for the story on the skytank assistance.

If it had been a usual year, the fishermen would have started fishing in mid April, but, as this year's seawater temperature stayed low, they started it in full swing from mid May. In the morning June 21, fishermen let us know saying "A good landing of mantis shrimps." and we at once got a chance to see catch landing.

【Just landed mantis shrimps】

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【They are taking mantis shrimps off the net one by one.】


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The current market price of mantis shrimp has been two to three times higher than usual. On that day the fishermen had a good catch of mantis shrimp, I heard that each family landed fifty kilos of catch.
Although oyster culture is their main source of income, it takes years before they can ship their products to markets. They seemed to think that it is a great advantage to be able to "ship and gain income soon."

【What a pleasure it is to "have work to do"!】
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The husband and wife (see the photo above) said to us "Our more than one hundred bolts of net have been swept away completely, but thanks to the fishing net assistance we are able to go fishing." We also providing the fishing net assistance for mantis shrimp fishing for fishermen in Omotehama as well as Higashihama where we visited for coverage this time. Next time we will provide the second report from Omotehama, which will show fishermen actually fishing on their ship.

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June 28, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

06/21/2012

Making yukata for hopes: quality time at the Ohara meeting place in the Oshika Peninsula

The summer community festival of Ohara-hama in the Oshika Peninsula is expected to take place in July. In order to respond to the local people's wish to participate in the summer festival in "yukata"(summer cotton kimono), JEN purchased twenty-five rolls of cloth from a quake-stricken kimono shop in
Sendai and provided them for those people living in temporary homes and tsunami-hit houses. Sewing the yukata at the Ohara meeting place began on Wednesday, the 13th of June.

【They are sewing yukata.】
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The local people enjoyed sewing, saying, "Without kuge-desk (a small desk), sewing is really demanding!", "I've never done sewing before, so I don't even know what to do!" As handy tools to make yukata were not available, they had to work together to complete the task.

【How do  you suggest I stitch up here?】
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With one month left before the summer festival, they are going into the last stage of the procedure to make yukata for themselves and their grandsons. "I'll do it!" roared some of them, but I was afraid that they might over-do it. The ward head started a fire outside the meeting place to bake oysters and presented it to the people. JEN staffs were also treated to some of these baked scallops. I think scallops prepared in this fashion tastes the best.

【Baked oysters】
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JEN will continue to involve in area rehabilitation activities through community assistance.

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June 21, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

06/20/2012

【breaking local news】Damage by typhoon No.4

We'd like to offer our deepest condolences to those who were impacted by typhoon No.4. The following is a report of how typhoon No.4 hit Ishinomaki. On the 19th, ten thousand people of 4300 households in the coastal areas of Ishinomaki were told to evacuate their homes.
Local government took precautions to prevent people from suffering inundation in low land areas where the earthquake had caused subsidence because a typhoon-generated rainstorm at the time of high tide on the 20th was to be expected. (The Kahoku-shinpou, June 20)

JEN has been supporting a wide range of fishery activities in the coastal areas of Ishinomaki since last year. We got in touch with each coastal area and checked the damage caused by the typhoon in the morning of the 20th. We found that the electricity went out last night in some households of Higashihama but it has been restored. We were relieved to find out that the aquaculture facilities did not sustain any serious losses. One of our staff living in the Oshika peninsula also reported that the typhoon didn't inflict too much damage other than the water-covered roads. Some roads are still flooded.

【Morning July 20; Route 398 near Watanoha-sawada; Water-covered road】
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【Morning July 20; A mountain road leading to the Oshika peninsula; Rainwater made a stream.】
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Although typhoon No.4 didn't cause any serious damages, some slopes, as shown in this picture, contain water and pose the threat of a possible landslide. Some trees are also found toppled in mountain forests. In order to avoid serious damage by typhoon No.5, everybody needs to be prepared.

【The typhoon drenched a parking lot at a convenience store.】
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June 20, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

06/14/2012

Restore dreams and hopes to Ishinomaki: UNIQLO volunteers to help reconstruction.

UNIQLO CO., LTD, which was among the first to work on providing garments for people who had sought shelters without any belongings, has started a new project to boost recovery of the areas hit by the disaster and build a town full of vitality in the severely damaged city of Ishinomaki under the slogan: "Let's make Ishinomaki a town of dreams and hopes." On Tuesday, June 5th, the first group of forty UNIQLO employees gathered together at Ishinomaki from every region of the country as volunteers.

Upon arriving at Ishinomaki, the party of employees attended an orientation at a hotel in Shiogama, where they stayed. At first, a UNIQLO official made an opening address to them saying, "Now that we are going to spend three years finding out and working on what we can do for people in the affected area, please come up with a lot of ideas." Then a store manager of UNIQLO Hebita store told them what the current situation is like in Ishinomaki. After that the employees were divided into ten groups, of which seven were scheduled to find the difficulties teachers face and the problems students have in primary schools, junior high schools and high schools. The rest of them were to survey present conditions in local shopping areas, temporary shopping malls and rural areas like Hata, Tonami, among others.

【The orientation is now taking place.】
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【Teams have organized.】
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After groups had been organized, group members visited Nobiru district in the city of Higashimatsushima, the industrial port, Minamihama town, Sakana town, and the surrounding city of Ishinomaki. At the end of their first day, they mounted to Hiwayama park, where the base of operations for the affected area is located, to have a full view of the disaster.

【Hiwayama park has the command center of the entire affected area.】
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On Wednesday, May 6th, all groups examined their assigned areas and reported their findings at a review meeting. They identified their findings into four categories: "Awareness", "Needs", "Readily actionable" and "Demanding" and put each of them on a small piece of paper then taped them to a large-sized paper.

【They are reviewing findings.】
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【The paper full of Post-it notes on findings.】
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Sharp observations by UNIQLO employees and large amounts of Post-it notes filled the paper with useful information. Through the information, the employees were able to find the problems and solve them carefully one by one.
JEN will stand shoulder to shoulder with the people in the areas by cooperating to develop a town with dreams and hopes through volunteer activities.

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June 14, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

New recruits of RICOH trained onsite as members of society: in an effort to help recover fishery in Minamisanriku-Cho

The training for new recruits of Ricoh Company, Ltd. took place recently. The first group of recruits trained from May 23(Tuesday) to 25(Friday) and the second group trained from May 30(Tuesday) to June 1(Friday). With two 92-member crews, a total of 184 new recruits participated in the training. Before their training, on the 22th(Monday) and 29th(Monday), they visited Ishinomaki and set out on a tour by bus to see a pile of rubble at the Ishinomaki industrial port, the situation of land subsidence near Ishinomaki fish market, and to listen to a narrator express what the scene of the disaster was like after getting off the bus in front of Kadowaki primary school. One of the employees who first visited the affected area said, "Although overwhelming images have been shown on TV many times, I was really shocked to see this burned primary school with my own eyes.

After the tour they moved to the Higashi-Matsushima community center (Yugakukan for the second crew) and attended an orientation where they were told about the objectives and details of the activities by JEN staff and were divided into groups to discuss each goal and write them on paper, and the day ended.

【The orientation taking place.】
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The ninety-two new recruits of the first crew were divided into three groups and worked on making sandbags, scraping holdfasts off kelps, and sorting kelps and wakame (soft seaweed) at Motohama, Aratogihama and Shimizu, the coastal areas of Minamisannriku-town. The second crew also was divided into three groups and worked on the same operations at Sodehama, Sasameura, Hyashi, Motohama and Hiraiso.

Each group worked hard communicating with local fishermen. Making sandbags was an especially demanding task, and one of the new recruits who was hard at work said with large beads of sweat on his forehead, "Although it's a tough job, I feel deeply fulfilled!"

【They are churning out sandbags.】
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The sandbags, which weigh about fifty kilograms each, are used in almost all aquaculture facilities like oyster cultures and wakame cultures. In order for the fishermen to put oyster culture facilities back the way they used to be, they need tens of thousands of sandbags. This time the goal was set to produce about 8,000 sandbags collectively, but the new recruits strove to exceed it substantially by 1,622 sandbags.

Local fishermen were so pleased that they presented scallops to the new recruits and a barbeque party was held right off on the beach. They enjoyed it very much.

【Fishermen presented scallops to the new recruits.】
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On the final day, a review meeting was held. Each group exchanged opinions on the progress of their goals, the significance of social action programs and awareness raised during these activities. "Instead of merely providing for aid supply, we have to get involved with people there and thus it's necessary to tell others what we saw." one said. "I realized how important it is to look and listen on the scene. My view on providing assistance has changed at the sight of the scene of the disaster. I will visit the scene of the disaster for years to come."another stated. If we can share the situation of the disaster area with as many people as possible through these activities, it can also be helpful for the disaster area.

June 14, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

The sports meeting at Higashihama primary school united the heart of people

On Saturday, May 26th, a bright and clear day, a joint sports meeting of primary school and kindergarten children was held at Higashihama primary school in the Oshika Peninsula. Local people also joined the sports meeting and people from UBS Securities Japan Co., Ltd. rushed there to help organize the event with members of JEN. Higashihama primary school has twenty-two schoolchildren with a kindergarten within its premise and the schoolchildren are all good friends. While many Tairyo-bata (fishing boat flags) are flying in the schoolyard, the schoolchildren were playing games with stars in their eyes with strong vocal support from local people.

【"Go for it!" Vocal support is ringing out from the crowd.】
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【People from UBS are helping to organize the sports meeting. 】
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After many games, "Shishi-Furi"(a traditional dance with a lion's mask) was performed by the schoolchildren. The traditional dance to pray for bumper catches and crops was transmitted from the schoolchildren and the Shishi(lion) began to dance as if it was alive.

【"Shishi-Furi" traditional dance with a lion's mask: festival music began to ring】
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【"Shishi-Furi" traditional dance with a lion's mask: Sleeping Shishi comes to life.】
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Both members of JEN and UBS also had the pleasure of joining the game of Tama-ire(ball-toss game), tug of war, and a relay race. At the relay race every team was determined to win and looked very serious. With strong vocal support from the audience like "Go for it!" and "Keep in there!", JEN staff passed the baton from person to person in the relay race. The audience gave warm cheers and applauses to us saying, "Good run, you must be tired!" and so we felt united with the local people.

We saw many people in T-shirts with words written on them in dialect meaning, "You bastard Tsunami. Don't mess with me." These words show us the sturdy courage and strong spirit of the people in the coastal areas. Just like how a relay baton was passed from person to person, the baton of recovery will be passed on to children in the same way. JEN is looking forward to the day when many Tairyo-batas fly in every area of Higashihama and will continue to stand by the local people until they reach the finish line.

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June 14, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

06/07/2012

New recruits of GSK trained onsite in Ishinnomaki as members of society, as MR's

Earlier this month, GlaxoSmithKline, or GSK, conducted its introduction training for new recruits at Samurai-hama and Kitsunesaki-hama in the city of Ishinomaki and Hiraiso-hama in the town of Minami-sanriku. These are places where JEN continue supportive activities. During the five-day training, the recruits worked on making mother shells for oyster cultures, scraping holdfasts of kelps and coring kelps. To make a mother shell, you have to first pierce a hole in each scallop shell with a hammer and then run a wire through the hole to make a string of scallop shells. Young oysters settle in the scallop shells and grow for 2-3 years until harvest time.

【They are making mother shells: small holes are being pierced in scallop shells to pass the wire.】
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【They have scraped about 5,000 kilos of holdfasts of kelps.】
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Since people from GSK actually saw holdfasts of kelps and mother shells for the first time during their volunteer work, they seemed to have a profound interest of learning about the time and effort the fishermen dedicate to their products until they appear on store shelves. They received on-the-job training from friendly fishermen and they learned to carry out their assignment neatly as the days went by. On the fourth day of training, they visited the Ishinomaki Red Cross hospital and listened to the assistant manager talk about the disaster relief and the chief nurse talk about "the record of their initial response to the disaster".

Since the Ishinomaki Red Cross Hospital had provided training exercises for disasters on a routine basis, they could quickly and calmly set up disaster headquarters and a triage system (the sorting of patients according to the urgency of their need for care and emergency transport) and begin relief operations. The video footage of the tsunami made the trainees gasp in surprise and the chief nurse said to them, "What we have learned from the disaster should not fade with time! The concept of teamwork is very important, we can't save lives without making a team." These remarks seized the hearts and minds of the people from GSK, who are going to be involved in medical care as medical representatives, or MR. The staff of JEN also had a sense of self-renewal.

【People from GSK are listening to the manager at Ishinomaki Red Cross Hospital.】
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On the last day of the training, an evaluation meeting was held and people from GSK exchanged their opinions and impressions. One person stated, "After being on the scene here at Ishinomaki, I feel that the recovery is still lagging." Another person said, "I was relieved to see the fishermen responding positively to their situation."

【They are reviewing this training!】
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The five-day training changed the people of GSK, who now have a new attitude towards the situation in Ishinomaki after experiencing the problem first-hand.
They also helped the staff of JEN acknowledge the importance of their activities, and so the training was a real success.

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June 7, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/24/2012

May coastal fisheries be alive with activity!: Continued efforts toward the recovery of coastal fishing industry.

JEN are engaged in a variety of fishery support activities at fisheries in Ishinomaki city since last year. The activities are based on the cooperation from many people who understand and support JEN. Today, we are going to introduce our efforts toward the recovery of coastal fishing industry in ten fisheries that are under the control of the Ishinomaki branch office of the Japan Fisheries Cooperatives, or JF.

In Ishinomaki city, the tsunami has also afflicted ten fisheries: Sasuhama, Sawada, Ogihama, Samuraihama, Orihama, hamagurihama, tsukiura, Momoura, Otakehama and Tashiroshima, and swept away their fishing equipment as well as other fisheries. While many people were doubtful about the recovery of fishing industry, it was the International Rescue Committee, or IRC, an American nongovernmental organization, that began to support fishing industry in those ten fisheries along with JEN. So far since this February, we have been able to supply people engaging in coastal fishing activities in those fisheries with skytanks, a forklift truck, palettes, a kelp cropping machine and plastic catches containers.

【Skytanks delivered to fishermen.】
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【The kelp cropping machine will increase yields.】
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In mid April, we visited a fishing village to deliver a forklift truck and pallets with people from IRC who had just come to see how their assistance was being implemented. People there welcomed us and the ceremony to unveil a brand-new forklift truck drew cheers and applause from them. That was the happiest moment for us to be able to watch people filled with pleasure. They immediately test-droved the forklift truck.

【One woman got the forklift truck running!】
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One of the women said to us "Since the tsunami swept away everything, we have been at a loss what to do next.... We are so glad to have help from you. Thank you!" Right behind the forklift truck in a trail run, there remained a pitiful sight with heavily damaged houses by the tsunami left derelict. We were able to feel the strength of people who were willing to cope with difficulties with smiles on their faces even in such environment. Keeping people's smile within its heart, JEN will continue to find out what is needed in each fisheries and engage in supportive activities.

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May 24, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/11/2012

Hey! The fish tanks just came!

Higashi-hama[the word-for-word translation of Higashi-hama is Eastern seashores], an area along the saw tooth coastline of the Oshika Peninsula and the eastern part of Ishinomaki-city, has five seashores: Fuki-ura, Kanotate, Kitsunezaki, Takenohama and Makinohama.
On May 11, the fishermen in Higashi-hama were provided with skytanks on a beautiful sunny day with the support of UBS Securities Japan Co.

【The fishermen are putting stickers on the fish tanks.】
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While the fishermen are living by fishing sandeel and gathering kelp, they prepare in their spare time for oyster culture such as making mother shells to raise oysters and planting oyster seed. The fishing season for sandeel and kelp is almost ending and they will move on to fishing flatfish and mantis shrimp using gill nets. If it had been a usual year, they would have started gill net fishing, but, as it has been a poor catch perhaps because this year's seawater temperature stays low, they are going to start it in full swing from late this month (May) 

【The fishermen turn out one after another.】
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While they ship mantis shrimps fresh to markets, it is the fish tanks which are critical for them to ship, with which they have been provided this time.
As those half-ton tanks are one size smaller than standard ones, they can directly load them onto outboards and keep catches alive inside them off coast. After returning from fishing, they unship those fish tanks and forklift them onto trucks and ship them alive to market.

【The fishermen have a pleasant chat surrounding the fish tanks】

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One of the fisherman said "Well you know, they are really help, we can't manage without them!" They gathered with smiles on their faces and fork lifted and carried those fish  tanks on light trucks. Now they are ready for a large catch. The fishermen have stepped forward consistently and steadily toward recovery since the aftermath of the post-tsunami disaster. JEN will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with people in Higashi-hama promoting the recovery of fishery, the key industry of Ishinomaki-city.

【The fishermen reaffirm their determination to recovery and take a commemorative photo.】
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【Higashih-hama is still on the process of recovery】
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May 11, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/08/2012

Sewing on a machine for pleasure

The flowers of cherry trees in Ishinomaki opened in late April. Today, I'd like to introduce what it was like "Mono Dukuri Ochako(A bee cafe: a gathering of peers to accomplish a job that are difficult to carry out alone and allow socialization during an otherwise tedious chore like sewing; refreshments such as tea, coffee are provided by the group)." at the temporary meeting place where JEN is assisting local people to enhance the vibrancy of their community.

On April 28 to 29, under the clement weather, nine volunteers from MITSUI & CO., LTD helped women living in a temporary housing complex make pouches on sewing machines.
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Benesse Corporation wanted people in disaster areas to make use of sewing machines at a place like this meeting place and so donated thirteen sewing machines. Back numbers of specialized magazines on handcraft and do-it-yourself-kit for sewing were also donated by Benesse Corporation as well as materials to make pouches.

They were motivated by looking at naturally-derived and beautiful clothing fabric and ready to work on making pouches. They chatted lovely one another over their work:

"Next step is do the sewing in this way...","I wonder I'm doing fine!"," Oh dear, you have already done that!"
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For those who are not so experienced in sewing on machines volunteers taught them how to use them.
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People talked differently: "If you sew on machine, you are able to have a beautiful finish!", "I used to make these kinds of things.", "This is lovely and right size to carry my insurance card inside", "I'll present this to my granddaughter."

People were filled with joys of finishing lovely crafts and spending cheerful and happy hours.
JEN is committed to continuing to help people keep smiles on their faces.
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May 8, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/07/2012

LANCOME events by L'Oréal Paris at HANA house, meeting place: Makeup lessen, yoga class and hand massage service

In April 12, LANCOME Events hosted by L'Oréal Paris took place at HANA house and also at a meeting place in Katsuma district: HANA house is a community cafe established by L'Oréal Pari and managed by JEN: each temporary housing complex has a meeting place within its premises. At the events, many people joined makeup lesson, yoga class and enjoyed getting a hand massage.

When you walked into HANA house, you first saw a wide variety of cosmetics on its table. With sparkling eyes, women looked at beauty aids such as basic skin care products, facial serum steamers, foundation, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, lip stick, manicure and so on. When I asked some woman how she felt, she answered with a smile on her face "Well..., I wonder how I look, if I have my face done expertly. My heart flutters with fears and hopes."

【Exciting makeup lesson to start. 】
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On the bulletin board in HANA house, women after making up their faces posted their photos with their comments, which photos showed expertly made up visages of them.
I heard one of them say "Well, as the makeup makes my face attractive, it also makes my skin complexion rosy and I feel refreshed." Many attendees were there, some of them were repeat visitors of the previous event and others came with their friends.

【HANA house crowded with visitors. 】
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Hand-massage service and Rody yoga class were going on as well as the makeup lesson and there was an air of excitement in HANA house.

【Hand massages brought smiles to people's face. 】
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【Many toy horses, Rody, were welcoming visitors. 】
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Another venue for the event was also crowded with a lot of visitors and they had a good time. The Rody yoga class that uses jumping toy horses, Rody, is a moderate exercise that gets people slightly sweaty. A woman who was enjoying the yoga said "Jumping up and down is a great fun just like kids. The Rody is cute and refreshing." The Rody yoga stretched and relaxed both their mind and bodies and that's why they looked so happy with nice smiles on their faces.

【Practice Rody yoga in a circle. 】120507_dsc02062

Although the makeup lesson and hand massage service are prepared to service three people at the same time respectively, they were so high in demand that people waited in line. A woman waiting for her turn over tea seemed to be excited and said "I have come here after washing my face so that I may have my face done immediately."

【People waited in line for the makeup lesson. 】
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At the makeup lesson section, a woman there seemed happier to see them getting more and more beautiful as they getting their makeup on. And another woman was trying to learn to make up her face by herself like taking lessons at a makeup class, such as how to wear eye shadow and use cheek cosmetics expertly.

At the hand massage section, a woman had her trigger points in her hands pressed and, as the massage improved the circulation of her blood and alleviated the tension in her shoulders, she said happily "I was so relaxed that I almost fell asleep. My hands have turned much whiter."

【Getting a hand massage is relaxing. 】
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It's certainly been a laugh-filled day. If people cared their body, that got to their heart directly and got their eyes shining. People with a positive frame of mind and smiling faces seemed to have much nicer chat than usual.

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May 7, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

04/12/2012

A challenge to make " Hanging Hina " by people living in temporary housing

JEN continues its efforts to promote community activities in temporary housing complex and as a part of its activities people living there are now challenging to make 'Hanging Hina': Hnaging Hina are dolls that represent Emperor and Empress and their servants and displayed on March 3 to celebrate the Doll's Festival(Girl's day); they are made of old kimono cloth and hung by code from ceilings so as to save space to display.

This challenge follows one in March, in which people challenged to make Hina Dolls: Hina Dolls also represent Emperor and their servants but displayed on a special step-altar, (See people challenging to make Hina Dolls here.)

The challenge came from the voice of people; people will make one cord of Hunging Hina every month to prepare for next year's Doll's Festival.

One day in April, they are working on making owl dolls. I heard someone say "Since I was not able to come last month, I did hope to come this month." They were seriously involved in their work. Owls are believed to bring good luck to people or help people to avoid hardship because the word owl in Japanese has the same sounds as words for "good luck" and "free from hardship".

【Many people have gathered as usual. 】

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A woman who squinted her eyes saying "Oh, I can't see the needle!" had a help in threading a needle from her neighbor at the table. From what I heard, they had lived close to each other before the disaster. Although they have got to live in the temporary housing, bonds among their neighbors have taken root,

【Their cheerful conversations are almost audible】

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After they enjoyed potluck luncheon at the noon over rice balls, pickles and hot soup hand-made by JEN staff, they continued to make owl dolls. There was also a male participant among them and the finish of his owl doll was so excellent that people couldn't imagine that it was his first try and raised a cheer. JEN will continue its supportive efforts to develop a community where many people naturally gather and get into conversation with each other.

【An owl doll made by a mail participant 】

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April 12, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

04/05/2012

【3/24/2012 Day 3 Recital at a meeting place in Kesennuma city】

After Mr.Karan spent two days performing piano recitals for two days from March 22 at Ishinomaki city, he moved into Kesennuma.

Today we were blessed with fine weather, as if we had no snow last night. We visited a relatively small temporary housing complex of about 50 houses in Kesennuma city. The installation of the air-conditioning units was going on and so residents looked busy in observing the procedures of the installation. We thanked them for taking time to join the concert in spite of such busy situation. When they heard "Sakura Sakura" or "Koujyou no Tsuki" coming from his piano, some of them hummed tunes together. The scene also made my heart warm. After the recital, he and his audience enhanced friendship over tea.

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【3/25/2012 Day 4 Recital at Nakayashi-Kitsusa in Ishinomaki city】

On the final day, when Mr. Karan arrived at "Nakayashi-kitsusa", a community cafe at Nakayashiki in Ishinomaki city, college students and children already waited for him. Children looked at Mr. Karan from distance, being interested in a person from overseas. At first, they were almost impossible to say something to him, but finally they plucked up the courage to say "Hello" to him and got excited by getting Mr. Karan's friendly reply "Hello!" Before the recital started, they help us call in neighbors to join in over the loudspeaker.

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When Mr.Karan began preparing to perform pieces, his audience listened to his performance quietly and carefully as if they believed the concert had begun. It seemed that they had longed for the opening, he began performing five minutes earlier than originally scheduled and " Nakayashi-kitsusa " resounded with wonderful classical music.

Mr. Karan started the recital with his speech in Japanese, performed Greek music and finally finished by giving encores, Japanese melodies
.
When he began to perform "Sakura Sakura" or "Koujyou no Tsuki", his audience also began to sing. The sweet melodies played by him gave his listeners a comfort and nursery songs of Japan reminded them of good old days. Some of them were touched and shed tears to think of this and that. Every people said "Good!","That's a comfort!"; They seemed to have enjoyed the recital fully.

From what I heard, the tsunami has carried away numbers of pianos in this region and students who had been learning piano at a nearby piano class missed playing piano and joined today's concert. It seemed such circumstances have made today's concert a special event for people in the region. He was so popular that people asked him for autographs and photos taken with him. Although he and children got friendly, they had to say goodbye and children said to him "You'll come see us again, I hope?"," Could you teach us the piano,again?"
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Mr.Karan gave local people a comfort and pleasure through music in every place he visited. After his performances, people looked pleased with their eyes bright and expressed their thanks "Arigatou".

We came to realize over the last four days that what we really need is not words but music, music is able to unite us into one.JEN will continue to walk with people to help them renew their courage and hopes.

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April 5, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

【On March 22, day 1 Recital at Oginohama primary school and HANA house in Ishinomaki city】

Greek Pianist Panos Karan made his first visit to Japan last August after the disaster with his electric piano in order to cheer up people by music and held recitals at shelters and other plac
es. One year after the disaster, he revisited Japan to express his condolence and encourage people through music and made a recital tour around Japan; in Miyagi prefecture he held piano recitals at Ishinomaki city, Kesennuma and so on.

The first recital in Miyagi prefecture was held at Ogihama primary school in the Oshika Peninsula. Teachers, students and local people gathered to enjoy listening to his piano at its gymnasium, the recital venue, where the memory of the graduation ceremony the day before lingered on in everyone's heart. First, Mr. Karan introduced himself and shared his wishes for the recovery of the distressed areas with people there in his thoughtful speech in Japanese.
Then he played seven pieces of music in all such as Chaikovski Chopin Haendel, Greece music and finally Japanese music "Sakura Sakura" and the venue turned into a healing space.

【At Oginohama primary school seven current students listened to Mr. Panos Karan play 】
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When he finished his performance, some of the audience voluntarily stood up and applauded. He gave them encores.

【Mr. Panos Karan received great applause.】

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Local people and teachers warmly welcomed Mr. Karan and the recital finished by taking a commemorative photo with nice smiles on their faces.
Then he moved to HANA house, a community cafe in Kaduma district to perform the second recital of the day. When he arrived, many children already got together and so he held a small piano class for them.

【Children were very interested in Mr. Panos Karan's piano class】

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Mr. Karan surrounded by children and taught them how to play piano. They look at him with such serious eyes that we couldn't help smiling.

【A recital in the sunshine】

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In the warm afternoon sunshine, his performance ended peacefully and people there were comforted by his music and children's smiles.

【On March 22, day 2 Recitals at two different temporary housing meeting places in Ishinomaki city】

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Day 2, recitals took place at two different temporary housing meeting places in Ishinomaki city.
Many people gathered at the venue one after another inspired by the melody and also nurses who returned from a tour of house calls in temporary housing joined the recital.

【A large audience of local people at the recital 】

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"Thanks for holding a concert like this! A great comfort to me!", "I was so impressed to listen to a person from overseas performing 'Sakura Sakura' for us, an exotic Japanese song for him,"

These remarks showed how they felt and they didn't want to stop applauding saying "Encore! Encore!" It was while he was playing unscheduled "Koujyou no Tsuki (The Moon over a Ruined Castle)", a Japanese nostalgic melody from the score that people began to sing together "In spring, at the tall tower, the blossom -watching carousel... " and they felt so united that some of them were moved to tears. A woman brightly said "My husband, died in the disaster, used to listen to classical music at home. Everything including CD's had been swept away and so I haven't been able to listen to them anymore. But today I'm awfully glad I could listen to a live piano playing. All of them are familiar to me."

In the afternoon, he held the second recital of the day at another meeting place. Some people already waited in line in front of the meeting place. The audience there was also excited about his performance and called for "Turkischer Marsch" as an encore. He willingly improvised the encore. Finally, they shook hands and shoot photos. Wherever Mr. Karan went, he was very popular.

Particularly, women were so curious about him that they asked him questions in a friendly atmosphere such as "How old are you? Are you married? Is there someone you're seeing? You are so cool!"

Mr.Karan said "Although we can't communicate by words, we can convey our thoughts through music and it's happening here. This is a truly significant thing for us and I'm very happy to see that." Next day, Mr. Karan will head for Kesennuma city.

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April 5, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/29/2012

Help Out Fishermen in Sasunohama-shore; Socialize with Local Fishermen.

n Saturday the 24th of March, we asked people from Mitsui & Co. to work on garbage collection at Sasuhama in Ishinomaki city. Although a lot of snow still lingerd around in Sasunohama where much of houses were demolished by the tsunami, they collected rotted bamboos, bicycles and household appliances being carried here by the tsunami. While they were working, an aunt presented canned coffee drinks heated in a pan of hot water to them and they had a brief break with those canned coffees in their hands. A fisherman told them what happened in Sasuhama at the time of the disaster such as how raging waves coming toward them and people fled up to mountains.
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In the afternoon, they made arrangements for tomorrow's festival "The festival to celebrate the fresh start of oyster farming in Sasunohama".

We had asked people from Mitsui & Co. to help fishermen in making mother shells (Karakosashi), which is the initial step for oyster farming, and oyster seeding. Thanks to their assistance fishermen were able to harvest grownup oysters, because of this fishermen decided to serve those oysters at the festival.

【Classify Oysters of Rough Appearance One by One 】
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【Remove Satins from Mussels 】

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Local fishermen and aunts enjoyed making the arrangement for the festival with a laugh now and then.

Now next day is the festival. More information will follow in the next blog.

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○Credit card:
http://bit.ly/c7R8iA 
Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone:          03-5225-9352        , contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

March 29, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/25/2012

Express thanks to people all over Japan for help; festival in celebration of the resumption of oyster farming

On Saturday the 25th of March, the festival day to celebrate the fresh start of oyster farming has come.

In the aftermath of the disaster the fishery at Sasunohama fishing village was threatened to survive, but thanks to efforts made by a number of volunteers and supportive organizations, its oyster farming was able to be back in activity.

JEN with the cooperation of International Rescue Committee, or IRC launched a survey to research people's needs and has been sponsoring a workshop since this February.

The festival to celebrate the fresh start of oyster farming in Sasunohama fishery village began to take place is all about fishermen's hope that "We want to express tanks to people all over Japan and them to come to have oysters at Sasuhama".

The idea of holding the festival to celebrate the fresh start of oyster farming in Sasunohama fishery village originated fishermen's hope that "We'd like to express thanks to people all over Japan and them to come to Sasunohama and try our oysters".

On that day, their preparations began early in the morning. Volunteers from Mitsui & Co. also cooperated fully on the preparations from cooking to traffic control. So many people gathered in one small fisher village Sasuhama from tourists who come from as far away as Tokyo, Yamanashi and Gifu to local people living in Ishinomaki city. Moreover people who were forced by the tsunami damage to leave Sasuhama returned on that day and had happy reunion.

Piping hot steamed oysters and grilled ones, mussel soup were served to people and they enjoyed them very much.

【Smoking hot steamed oysters】
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【Mussel Soup with a smell of ocean】
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Conversation like "If grilled, oysters become more sweet.", "This is my first taste of oyster though, it's delicious." came out and a cozy atmosphere was created. A fisherman who heard an Enka, Japanese ballad in the back ground said with a laugh to me "Whenever I listen to a fishermen's song, the fisherman in me starts to stir." His remarks was unforgettable.

【Festival to celebrate the fresh start of oyster farming crowded with people】
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By the time the fishery in Ishinomaki becomes lively, JEN will continue its efforts to support the full-scale recovery of fishery in many parts of Ishinomaki.

【The sea of Sasunohama 】
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====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN

 
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card:click here
Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone: 03-5225-9352, contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

March 25, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/24/2012

"A seminar of hope" having started

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On Saturday the 24th of March, JEN began to offer an after-school program "Seminar of hope" at HANA house in Kaduma district, Ishinimaki city. The program is aimed to assist junior-high school and high high-school students in the disaster area for free in learning and preparing for examinations.

We named it "Seminar of hope" because we hope to be of some help in preventing hardship from making students give up their hopes and go on to the next stage of education.
Thanks to the cooperation with the NPO called "FLorence", learning assistance has started at HANA house where JEN is supporting to maintain communities.

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Since a study room in HANA house became available for students, many high school and junior high school students gathered to talk about a variety of topics; problems with study for an exam; high schools that they wish to go on to; choice of major field of study at college; what they hope to become in the future. Yet tensions were seen on their faces, children freshly talked about their hopes.

HANA house where usually people from children to adults in the region get together will turn into a place of learning for students on every Saturday afternoon from now on.
JEN continues to help children in the region to make their ways, responding the needs such as offering study room.

March 24, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/22/2012

Call for volunteers in September and October, 2012

The voluntary work for reconstruction support in September and October takes place on;

September 29 (Saturday), September 30 (Sunday)
October 6 (Saturday), October 7 (Sunday), October 8 (National Holiday)
October 13 (Saturday), October 14 (Sunday)
October 20 (Saturday), October 21 (Sunday)
October 27 (Saturday), October 28 (Sunday)

* Dates that follow will be noticed on our website as soon as they are firm.

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami brought enormous damage to the Tohoku district on March 11. From right after the disaster to the end of February 2012 a total of more than 7,000 volunteers have participated in recovering towns and cities including cleaning off houses wrecked by sludge and debris, dredging up mud from ditches and transporting supplies to temporary housing through JEN volunteer dispatch program.

One year after the disaster, volunteer work has shifted from 'emergency-relief' which requires heavy work like removing debris and cleaning up side ditches to 'reconstruction assistance' which involves revitalizing fishery industry and supporting daily life of people living in temporary housing.

JEN makes its motto to 'support effort to live through' and continues its mid and long term assistance. We are now hearing about what help people in the region who are set out to recovery need0 and coordinating them so that we may offer best assistance to those in need.

We want you to continue to participate in volunteer work so that those people may be able to stand at the threshold of returning to their previous life as soon as quickly and we together may be able to inspire them to think positive.

Terms and Conditions
1. Transportation to and from Ishinomaki must be organized by volunteers.
2. Volunteers will work and lodge in groups.
3. Volunteers need to bring a sleeping bag, food and drinks for their consumption, work clothes (rubber boots, rubber gloves, long sleeve T-shirt and trousers).
4. Volunteers need to be covered by volunteering insurance.

Times & Place to Meet
To participate in volunteer work, volunteers must gather by 9:00 a.m. in front of JEN Ishinomaki Office; SASADENBILL 201 3-13 Isenba Ishinomaki City; 5 minutes’ walk from JR Ishinomaki Station, and dismiss at the same place.
Be sure for the first-time volunteers to attend volunteer orientation that takes place at 5:00 p.m. every Friday.

The details are as follows.
※Volunteers must work for at least 1 full day.
※Application deadline: 5:00 p.m. 1 week before your work day.
※The fixed number of volunteers is 20 every day.

First-time Volunteers
Volunteer orientation is mandatory for the first-time volunteers and they are held from 5:00 p.m. every Friday at JEN Ishinomaki Office; SASADENBILL 201 3-13 Isenba Ishinomaki City; 5 minutes walk from JR Ishinomaki Station.
After the orientation, volunteers will be guided to accommodations at 6:00 p.m.

Accommodations
JEN Watanoha accommodations, which is located in 48-2 Watanoha aza Yamazaki Ishinomaki City, are available for volunteers for \500 a night.

Work Details
◆Helping recover fishery industry
◆Cleaning up damaged mountain streams, shrines and parks where children play; and besides what is desperately-needed at that time. We adjust volunteer work to match the changing needs of assistance.

Additional Information
◆The time and place of application are subject to change and so please make sure to go over JEN's website before you set out for volunteer work.
◆JEN will contact volunteers by email or phone to confirm application of volunteers.
◆Application will be closed once we reach the quota.
◆Minimum activity period is 1 day. Weekday activities are welcome.
◆As the office is small, there aren't enough space for volunteers to wait. Please assemble approx 5 minutes before the meeting time.
◆There is a possibility that work will be cancelled in case of rain.

Volunteer Insurance
it is mandatory to join the Volunteering Insurance.

Please apply at your nearest Japan National Council of Social Welfare. Once applied, it is valid for one year from April 1 to March 31.

Application
The leaflet tells you how to apply; fill in application form; send it by E-mail or Fax with the document to prove that you have joined the Volunteer Insurance.
E-mail volunteer@jen-npo.org / Fax 0225-25-5612

For details → 「manual_eng201204.pdf」をダウンロード

Application form → 「application_eng201204.doc」をダウンロード

Contact Us

Please contact volunteer@jen-npo.org for inquiries.
0225-25-5611

period for acceptance: 9:00 a.m. to 18:00 p.m. on weekdays

March 22, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/12/2012

【One Year After the Disaster; A n Event to Pray for Recovery at HANA house】

n March 10 JEN held an event "Let's make HANA ('flower' in Japanese) of hope bloom" at HANA house in Kaduma district to pose to pray for recovery before reaching the first anniversary of the disaster. HANA house is a community cafe aiming to support recovering a regional community and opened last November with the help of JEN's supporters.

On that day with the news that popular personality Bobby Ologun coming to help people take heart, about 300 people from children to the elderly in the region gathered at the HANA house. When Mr. Bobby came on stage giving them cheerfully "Hello, everyone!", people there shouted with pleasure and the place was packed in the atmosphere of happiness.

【Mr. Bobby's light talk of humor suffuse people's face with a broad smile】

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After his talk, people were served with pan-fried noodles of Ishinomaki thanks to the cooperation of "the academy of brown pan-fried noodles of Ishinomaki ." Sweet smelling pan-fried noodles lured such many people into standing in line at its tented booth that a total of 500 helpings of pan-fried noodles were served, substantially exceeding the original quantity of helping by 200.

【Keep looking at pan-fried noodles being cooked】

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【 Very cheerful looking Grammas' "Jyoshikai"(Jyoahikai is hot among girls in Japan now, a girls night out to enjoy chatting over dinner or drinks,)】

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Employees from NIHON L’OREAL ltd. provided a makeup course and a hand massage service. They were so high in demand that people waited in line, men enjoyed the hand massage service as well. Each of them spent time in relaxing in ways they want.

At another place carpentering birdhouses and benches took place. Members of the architecture club at the Ishinomaki industrial high school along with their teachers were working on making birdhouses reflecting the image of birds that fly high in the future and benches with children for their use.

【Learn to go through with even difficult tasks】

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Looking at finished birdhouses and benches before them, children looked happy filled with a sense of achievement. They painted favorite pictures and signed messages on those birdhouses; among them a birdhouse with "Kaduma, Hang in there." was seen.

【A birdhouse filled with their aspiration 】

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JEN will continue its efforts to support communities, listening and responding to children's yearning for recovery.

====
For donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
 Account holder: JEN

 
 Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://bit.ly/c7R8iA 
 Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

 For any inquiries regarding bank transfers,
 please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone:          03-5...       , contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

March 12, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/10/2012

One Year After the Disaster; A n Event to Pray for Recovery at HANA house

On March 10 JEN held an event "Let's make HANA ('flower' in Japanese) of hope bloom" at HANA house in Kaduma district to pose to pray for recovery before reaching the first anniversary of the disaster. HANA house is a community cafe aiming to support recovering a regional community and opened last November with the help of JEN's supporters. On that day with the news that popular personality Bobby Ologun coming to help people take heart, about 300 people from children to the elderly in the region gathered at the HANA house. When Mr. Bobby came on stage giving them cheerfully "Hello, everyone!", people there shouted with pleasure and the place was packed in the atmosphere of happiness.

【Mr. Bobby's light talk of humor suffuse people's face with a broad smile】
120310_1_p1090186

After his talk, people were served with pan-fried noodles of Ishinomaki thanks to the cooperation of "the academy of brown pan-fried noodles of Ishinomaki ." Sweet smelling pan-fried noodles lured such many people into standing in line at its tented booth that a total of 500 helpings of pan-fried noodles were served, substantially exceeding the original quantity of helping by 200.

【Keep looking at pan-fried noodles being cooked】
120310_2_p1090220

【 Very cheerful looking Grammas' "Jyoshikai"(Jyoahikai is hot among girls in Japan now, a girls night out to enjoy chatting over dinner or drinks,)】 
120310_3_p1090233

Employees from NIHON L’OREAL ltd. provided a makeup course and a hand massage service. They were so high in demand that people waited in line, men enjoyed the hand massage service as well. Each of them spent time in relaxing in ways they want.

At another place carpentering birdhouses and benches took place. Members of the architecture club at the Ishinomaki industrial high school along with their teachers were working on making birdhouses reflecting the image of birds that fly high in the future and benches with children for their use.

【Learn to go through with even difficult tasks】
120310_4_p1090314

Looking at finished birdhouses and benches before them, children looked happy filled with a sense of achievement. They painted favorite pictures and signed messages on those birdhouses; among them a birdhouse with "Kaduma, Hang in there." was seen.

【A birdhouse filled with their aspiration 】
120310_5_p1090357


JEN will continue its efforts to support communities, listening and responding to children's yearning for recovery.

March 10, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/09/2012

【Recovery support through music No.2, Instruments donation to Ishinomaki firefighter musical band】

On March 9 JEN at work of recovery support activity in Ishinomaki, along with mudef a foundation, which is operating “HOPE FOR JAPAN”, donated music instruments to the firefighter musical band of local government association for broad-based administrative affairs in Ishinomaki(hereinafter referred to as musical band).

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【Donation of musical instruments 】

This donation done by mudef and JEN was followed by the one to all told 16 of primary, junior high and high school in Ishinomaki city. 

The musical band has given fire prevention concerts, parade and regular concerts at Ishinomaki city, Higashimatsuhima city and Onagawa-machi with the slogan of “Appeal for ‘Be aware of fire’ through music.” and been loved by local people. Two members of the musical band were killed in the line of duty by the March 11 disaster and in addition, ten of their fifty five instruments and all of their uniforms have been affected. Since then they have been unable to practice music and join events held in the region.

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【Instruments Survived the March disaster】


Although resuming its activity has been desired, there have been no aids for instruments. Knowing this hardship, JEN and mudef donated music instruments with the collaboration of GLAY, a rock band which sympathizes with the policy of ‘HOPE FOR JAPAN’.

Those are ten instruments, which were damaged by the tsunami, including an alto saxophone, a tenor saxophone, a soprano saxophone, a piccolo, a flute, a horn, a euphonium, a harmony director and two clarinets. At the presentation ceremony, their thanks from representatives were strongly expressed such as “Even now fifty members are engaging in searching for missing persons every day.”, ”We will try hard to resume our activity.” Those members with new instruments in hand looked smiling to hear the new sound.

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【Unscheduled performing of instruments 】

JEN stuff also look forward to hearing their playing local-minded music.

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【Make a fresh resolve】

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓
○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
 Account holder: JEN

 
 Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.


○Credit card:
http://bit.ly/c7R8iA 
 Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office
(phone:          03-5225-9352        , contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

March 9, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/08/2012

Looking at stranded boat

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This is a picture of a mid-size trawler taken on December 10, After 9 months since the earthquake, yet not to be able to remove until only this one has been left in harbor.

The owner of this boat is a man now JEN are supporting. We would like to tell a story about this boat and the owner himself.

The owner, who is running a scrapping company bought this boat before the earthquake and was preparing for discharge and dismantlement. He was caught by enormous shake while he finished setting things up to discharge the boat 5minutes later. He realized that tsunami comes shortly so he has to evacuate to higher ground. He was hit by the first wave after he stayed 30 minutes in harbor to moor his boat again on dock, because of his concern to the boat, and swept away. He clung onto tombstones in cemetery to save himself. After then he went up on the hill, helped many other people evacuating from the swell. However, he remembers with only fragments about the second wave that have swallowed all the houses.

He moved to Pachinko shop near the hill. He spent 2 nights there. On the third day he walked 7 hours and went back his home. He found his house and his family safe, but has lost one of his employee, 2 trucks, and 1 heavy machine.

Days he spent in the disaster were realities those were too unreal to him, not knowing what to do hereafter. When he was struggling to get over himself he found JEN. He got offer from JEN about lending a truck to self-employed business.

He have never heard of its name, have not met them before, that was enough for him to think such kind of business must not be true, but in fact he could not find any trucks by himself at that time. He could not find even one by purchase or by lease.

He contacted us with only half belief, but the issue has moved forward. Finally we have agreed with him that JEN will provide 2 trucks for him by lend-lease. With these he could restart business by himself. He could also employ additional 4 staff. Now he is also positive in using his trucks for social support activities.

(Project for restoring people’s life continued until the end of February with the support from Japan Platform)

He said. “I have watched people supporting disaster recovery on TV. Now I am the one who needs support and I appreciate so much that I cannot explain with word. It was a really good experience for me.”

[JEN staff listening to the owner’s story]

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Now then, let us tell about his boat. On this year January 10 we have succeeded to land his boat on the ground. In fact we have tried two times previously and failed both. This was a third try for us. That day both owner and JEN staff were fulfilled with happiness.

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And on February 27 we started dismantlement of the boat. Trucks supported by JEN are also here.

[Dismantled ship parts carried away by truck]

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The last one boat stranded in the harbor, this image will remain in people’s memory for a long time. The scenery of the disaster area will change constantly, but we strongly think we should not forget about the lesson of the disaster and concept of helping each other.

March 8, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

03/01/2012

For my grandchild – Hina Doll making at makeshift housing complex

“I’m making Hina Dolls for my grandchild, because they were flushed away by Tsunami.  JEN has been undertaking Hina Doll making in makeshift housing complex throughout the Ishinomaki district, Miyagi Prefecture.  The Doll’s festival is coming soon here in Japan in March. Since residents in makeshift houses were hardly feeling seasonal events, JEN is now engaged in letting people feel seasons.

The picture below is showing how residents spend some time in the gathering meeting room in the makeshift housing complex.

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In cooperation with volunteers, JEN provided patterns, colored paper, and materials for parts of Hina Dolls. Instructors of Hina Doll making are local people in this Ishinimaki.

More residents are now enjoying making crafts in makeshift houses with local instructors.

Learning fine skills from those instructors, residents look happy making up crafts things over cups of tea. 

Residents living in makeshift houses suffer from various troubles.

People who don’t know each other have to should introduce themselves first.

Gathering Meeting rooms can help residents know each other. Tea parties and making-things sponsored by JEN can help residents make up their community.

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Some people  happen to  start talking about themselves in time.
Others make Hina Dolls for their grandchildren whose Hina Dolls flushed away in Tsunami. Still others make Hina Dolls for their dead grandchildren.

Eloquent Hina Dolls made by those residents are now welcoming the 1st Doll’s Festival after the Great Earthquake in the makeshift housing complex.
     120228_p1010007_2
  .

March 1, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

02/23/2012

Kazuma Himawari-Kai meeting in HANA house

Old familiar faces came back after a long while. 16 members of Kazuma Himawari-Kai gathered in HANA house in Kazuma district.

About Kazuma Himawari-Kai

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Kazuma Sumire-Kai was former name of this community. We heard about 40 to 60 female members over 70 were there before the earthquake. It was originally established for elderly people who are healthy enough but not having much opportunity to go out --because they live alone-- to provide place to meet and talk to each other. In that time there were also 15 to 20 of the age 50’s and support of local community to help them.

Many of them have gone elsewhere because of the earthquake, but gradually they are coming back. This gathering for was held by those of them who came back, and who keep staying. And they started new community as Kazuma Himawari-Kai. Even there are not so many people as it used to be, somehow seeing faces of friends and neighbors appeared to be so delightful to them.

The gathering started from a message of the chairperson, then session about “How to wash hands and gargle” and “Necessity of wearing a mask”. Everyone was listening carefully about the guidance by municipal healthcare officer.

(Guidance of how to wash hands by healthcare officer)
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Next we played ball game using a ball made with milk packs. We match each other with scores. After it was over, we chat with friends sipping tea.

(Throwing a ball)
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During the gathering we sang “Bokenai (not demented) song” and “Bokemasu (become demented) song” with given handouts. We sang a cappella or with hand claps. As we went on, some members started to sing whatever songs they like and started to dance. Everyone looked really lively and joyful.

(We enjoy singing, dancing)
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“We’ll meet here again.” Said one of participants and marked on a reservation note in HANA house. Everyone was pleased that they found a wonderful place.

HANA house was usually used for gathering of children and their mothers. This time it was used for the elderly such as Kazuma Himawari-Kai. Now they are is aiming to support restoration of community of all kinds of generations through various kinds of activities.

Scars of the disaster are still remaining everywhere in the town or inside one’s heart in invisible way.
JEN will support maintaining moment or place of relief so that people suffering difficult condition can recall “their feeling before” at least for a moment.

February 23, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

02/18/2012

The three-month anniversary event on Oshika-noren Avenue -A live concert by Katsuragi Yuki-

On Saturday, February 18, a concert was held to commemorate that three months had passed since the opening of Oshika-noren Avenue, which is located in Ayukawa Beach on Oshika Peninsula. It was clear in the morning and the event started with an open-air karaoke contest. Local karaoke fans got together and they sang their favorite songs.

[ Karaoke fans are singing strongly to the clear blue sky!]
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At the same time, Jen staff members asked them to fill out a questionnaire. Jen conducted a customer survey on Noren Avenue and also asked questions of residents in make-shift houses. About 100 people filled out the questionnaire in all. Some customers were from some other cities or prefectures. One of them said, “ I’ve come to do some volunteer work near here and today I visited this venue.”

[ Conducting a survey on the Noren Avenue ]
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[ Conducting a survey at the nearby make-shift houses ]
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In the afternoon, Katsuragi Yuki, who paid a consolation visit to this place just after the disaster and a live concert was held. People started to gather and the audience was about 300 people. This event finished in a great success . The town and its residents have taken another step forward.

[ A live concert by Katsuragi Yuki ]
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[ A lot of people gathering on the Noren Avenue ]
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In the late afternoon, Katsuragi Yuki visited Hana House in the Kasai district. She also visited this place just after the earthquake. A lot of people waiting for Yuki to arrive here had their clothes autographed, and shook hands with her. Hana House was filled with their happy smiles.

[ People waiting for her autographs and handshakes with her ]
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In the end, people in all took pictures of themselves to commemorate this day. People on Noren Avenue and Hana House will surely meet some other new people. People meet and build up their ties. Jen will support people so that they can share such scenes more.

[ People took pictures in commemoration of the reunion.]
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[ Dispatching Volunteers] Kitsunezaki Inari Shrine  ~ Omikoshi Volunteers ~

Duration: From February 24 through 27, 2012
Total number of volunteers participated in: 3980
Total number of volunteers supporting fisheries industry: 755

For three days, from Feb.25 through 27, 36 volunteers including employees of Mitsuibussan Co. took part in this activity.

February 18, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

02/14/2012

Restoration of livelihood –A step to the future

After the quake disaster, Ishinomaki City had been in a situation where all the business was out of operation, as workers specializing in removing rubble throughout the town and collecting garbage suffered a great deal of damage too.

JEN conducted an investigation in order to make the affected associations contribute to removal of debris and collection of garbage, by providing trucks.

As a result of the investigation, the most severely affected was a manager of a 120-year-old recycling firm, whose house with the office was located near the mouth of former Kitakami River.

At the time of the earthquake, 10 out of 33 employees died in the disaster.

In the depths of despair, he did not have any drive to restart working. He had various difficulties: “The reality was that even if I wanted to reconstruct the company, actually there was nothing, no office, no work. However hard I tried it was impossible to rebuild the firm. Is there no choice but to give up? But.”

In such a situation, when JEN talked about renting dump trucks and trucks for collecting garbage for free, he did not believe at first, but saw a little light of hope: “If we have cars, we can work. We have to resume business. We can only move forward step by step, but as I survived, I was determined to work hard for the employees too.”

Rented trucks for garbage collection
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In addition, as cars are available, not only he can resume business operations, an effect of promoting employment has been created, and 5 of former employees have come back and are working. He expressed his gratitude: “As from 70 to 80 percent of the customers have been affected, we do not have as much work as before, but we have work to collect scrap iron and retail too. This is also thanks to the cars that can be used for work.”

Furthermore, they participated in an activity contributing to society, such as repairing wharfs gouged out by the tsunami with the cars.

Dump trucks repairing a wharf
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Recently, they have been repairing a half of an affected plant in Kawaguchi Town, while operating in another half. He also said that he wanted to grapple with trade, which he thought of as a part of the business. “From now on, we have to tread a thorny path, but first of all, from minus to zero step by step, we are planning to move forward steadily.”

A plant in Kawaguchi Town
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Although he had some hard time in Minato Elementary School, he had many pleasant times too.

He said “We cooked meals together, and were invited for a trip from Yamagata too, so we could do worse than having friendship of the Japanese. I am grateful. Through encounters and experiences with people from many different countries, not only Japan, bonds have no borders.

He smiled cheerfully, “Although we are not sure in what way we can, we would like to repay favor to people who supported us.”

The manager of the recycling firm and his wife
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This project is carried out thanks to all the supporters and in cooperation with Japan Platform. To assist as many people’s support of themselves as possible, Jen would like to carry out supports that will be nourishment for hopes. Step by step, to a hopeful future.

February 14, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

02/09/2012

Why don’t we plant flowers together?!

Last October and November, JEN staff members and volunteers planted young flowers of viola and tulip bulbs at several makeshift housing complexes in Ishinomaki City.

This event was realized in cooperation with Felishimo Co., Ltd. And supporters, who helped us providing planters, soil and young flowers.

What is the most important in doing some activities in the makeshift house complex is to inform the residents of a program in advance.  One week before this event, JEN handed out each door the leaflet saying ‘Let’s plant flowers together!!’

The local seed shop owner helped us provide young flowers and bulbs of flowers and on that day he taught JEN staff members how to plant young flowers and take care of bulbs.

Explaining how to plant flowers to JEN staff members

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When the time to start this program was coming, residents gathered one by one, and JEN staff members explained how to plant flowers.

‘Tulips don’t wake up unless they are exposed to cold.’
‘This time planters are not deep enough, so please plant nearer to the surface of soil; otherwise they could not grow their roots deep enough.
‘Oh, that’s new to me!’

[photo] Residents listening to JEN staff members

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So, time to start!
‘I can’t decide what color to choose.’
You can choose the colors for violas but you can’t tell what colors to come up as they are bulbs.
The event went on in a peaceful and pleasant atmosphere, and residents got stuck on planting flowers.

[photo]  Residents working on planting without saying anything

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On that day some families were not able to take part in this event due to their private business.  Some other residents were kind enough to plant flowers in planters for such families. 
JEN placed the planter with a leaflet. 
We finished planting flowers for all residents and also placed planters of flowers around the meeting place.
You can enjoy violas in winter and tulips in spring.

[photo] Residents enjoying chatting

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After planting flowers, we all gathered at the meeting place and had some tea.
‘I had not been gardening for the past six months.’
‘I feel pleasantly tired.’
I’m convinced everyone felt refreshed.  Good job!

[photo] Chatting over a cup of tea

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Later, we received thank-you calls from the residents.
‘When I came home, I was surprised to find a planter in front of my house.
Since I live alone, this made me happy.  Thank you.’
‘I received a planter JEN provided.  I was just about to plant some flowers. Thank you so much.’
Those voices have made us happy, too.

We hope to see the good smiles again in spring when colorful tulips are in full bloom.
JEN will go on taking mental care and supporting community activities in the hope of extending friendship ties.

February 9, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

01/19/2012

The 1st Karaoke Party at the Makeshift house complex

The 1st tea party and Karaoke was held at the meeting gathering room of a makeshift house complex in the Kahoku district on the Thursday, January 19th.

This was held at the request of residents there, and was the 1st Karaoke event JEN worked on to support communities. When JEN members visited the meeting gathering room to report this event, residents had already started singing merrily and freely to Karaoke music.

[ picture ] A lot of people gathered in the morning
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Residents rarely have chances to sing out loudly, living in makeshift houses for a long time.

“I haven’t sung for ages “
“Since I don’t usually sing out loud, I’m not in good voice.”
“That’s because walls are not thick enough.”

We saw some realities of resident in their shy faces. Some people even requested asked to sing duets with JEN staff members. We laughed and sang pleasantly merrily together.

Some residents
A song often sung at oyster processing factories reminded some residents of their those old days.
Some residents brought snacks or Japanese pickles with them, and we have felt this gathering place(room has now come to be supporting their daily lives.

[ picture ] Duets with JEN staff members !!
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A woman who had lost her grandchild sang an Enka song, “ My Grandchild (Mago)” in tears.
A woman sang a song which has a line, “ Flowers will bloom when snow melts away, hopping for brighter future.

This Karaoke was a special event with memories and hopes of so many people.

January 19, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

01/09/2012

HBS Students Visited Ishinomaki –First Day

Students from Harvard Business School (HBS) visited Ishinomaki, for two days, on January 7th and 8th. The aim of their visit was to observe current situation at Ishinomaki and interview with local people about JEN’s cloths distribution project supported by UNIQLO in April 2011.

At first, they were gathered at JEN Ishinomaki office.
They seriously listen to the explanations from JEN staff who had provided supports since the time when the Great East Japan Earthquake just occurred.

The students questioned about variety of points about distribution of cloths.

[Students from HBS at JEN Ishinomaki office]

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[The HBS students gazed at the information about the disaster time]
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Next, they went to Fukki-ura at Ojika peninsula. On the way of Fukki-ura, they dropped at Hiyori-yama park and it was their first time to see the whole scenery of Ishinomaki-city. We could feel they were at a loss for words.
 
When we arrived at Fukki-ura, local people kindly welcomed us. At first, the students and local people introduced each other sitting at round table. Despite the language difference, they gradually feel each other’s feeling and they smiled naturally.

[Smiled naturally each other for first meeting]

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Local people told that how had been when the earthquake had occurred and how glad they had been when they received the cloths etc. They had variety conversations through interpreters. We could know their happiness which was led by the choice of cloths from which they could chose what they like ,their size and favourite colour.
HBS students left Fukki-ura with strong hope of reconstruction in the future.
Their visit would continued to the next day.

[Photo with every one]

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January 9, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

HBS Students Visited Ishinomaki –Second Day

On Sunday, January 8th, it was the second day of Ishinomaki-visit by Students from Harvard Business School (HBS). On that day, they jointed in volunteers from Rissho-kosei-kai and individual volunteers and worked together, so that there were 45 volunteers in total.

The task on that day was removal of a plum tree and plastic green house in Watanoha area. That land enable to be used as a farm again, however, the owner would like it to re-born as raw-land and kindly requested JEN to do the volunteer task.

They have long waiting list of children to enter nurseries, although there are some nursery around. By making raw-land at that land, there are some possibilities to construct kindergartens and nurseries to meet the needs of local government and each organization in the furture.

[To knock down the frame work of plastic green house]

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The work was carried out with spades and pickax brought from JEN Volunteers’ rest house (Watanoha rest house) which is located near the land.

As for the cutting plum tree, firstly we broke the branches but the tree had not died down so that the task was very tough.

Next, for removing the root, although it was big job with digging hole for wide area, the volunteers helped each other and completed before noon.

JEN staff wish the re-born land would be used efficiently in the future.

[Struggling with removing plum tree’s roots]

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[Pile of the removed roots]

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In the afternoon, HBS students moved to Ayukawa which is located at the top of Ojika peninsula. The project site was near the temporary commercial avenue “Oshika-noren-gai” which was opened middle of last November.

The work was begun with weeding, then they removed and separated of the small rubbles and rubbish.
After aploximately 2-hour work, they made 2 big piles. The pile included big staff such as tires and fridge, and the boards with nails, so that they need much attention for their safety.

[Rubbish taken out one after another]

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There are few houses and Oshilka-noren-gai around the cleaned place. JEN believe that the cleaned place would be a step of bright future for the residents and people come to the commercial avenue. JEN will continue volunteer activity.

[The result of the volunteers’ work]

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January 9, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

01/06/2012

Rubbles removal volunteer report – Tanigawa primary School, Ishinomaki city (December 17, 2011)

Period : December 17 and 18, 2011
Total number of Volunteers : 4,463 people

On December 17 and 18, JEN, together with twelve Mitsui Corporation staff, for the first time entered the school building of Tanigawa primary school run by Ishinomaki city, which had been utterly destroyed by tsunami. JEN and Mitsui staff removed rubbles and carry out equipments.

Tanigawa primary school is located on Samenoura bay of Ojika peninsula.

On March 11, when pupils were rehearsing graduation ceremony, the Higashinihon earthquake disaster happened. Then, many people took refuge to this school, however, by the instruction of local people who felt danger seeing extraordinary move of tide, all people again took refuge to the mountain nearby. Thanks to this quick judge, no people was killed by tsunami in this area, which is a lucky case.

But plenty of sand flowed in the school building of Tanigawa primary school, it is extremely difficult to carry out rubbles and school equipments.

{Rubbles are scattered about inside of the school building}

The photos below shows that Tanigawa primary school was attacked by tsunami.
This is a clock on the entrance of school building, a part that was covered by tsunami is now brown color. The clock shows time tsunami attacked this school as if time stopped on March 11.

{Clock showed trace of tsunami}

A big trees is still on the landing of stairs to second floor of school building. We cannot foresee when we will be able to carry out school equipments from the second floor.

{A big tree on the landing of stairs}

Pupils of Tanigawa primary school are now studying in another school.  In the areas which faces sea, like Ojika peninsula, there are several zones where repair work is making little progress.

JEN continuously supports such difficult area. However, for the reconstruction of these areas, your corporation and long time is necessary.

JEN continuously accept supporters who are willing to corporate with us.
      

January 6, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

Rubbles removal volunteer report – Tanigawa primary School, Ishinomaki city

Period :December 17 and 18, 2011
Total number of Volunteers : 4,463 people

On December 17 and 18, JEN, together with twelve Mitsui Corporation staff, for the first time entered the school building of Tanigawa primary school run by Ishinomaki city, which had been utterly destroyed by tsunami. JEN and Mitsui staff removed rubbles and carry out equipments.

Tanigawa primary school is located on Samenoura bay of Ojika peninsula.

On March 11, when pupils were rehearsing graduation ceremony, the Higashinihon earthquake disaster happened. Then, many people took refuge to this school, however, by the instruction of local people who felt danger seeing extraordinary move of tide, all people again took refuge to the mountain nearby. Thanks to this quick judge, no people was killed by tsunami in this area, which is a lucky case.

But plenty of sand flowed in the school building of Tanigawa primary school, it is extremely difficult to carry out rubbles and school equipments.

{Rubbles are scattered about inside of the school building}
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The photos below shows that Tanigawa primary school was attacked by tsunami.
This is a clock on the entrance of school building, a part that was covered by tsunami is now brown color. The clock shows time tsunami attacked this school as if time stopped on March 11.

{Clock showed trace of tsunami}
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A big trees is still on the landing of stairs to second floor of school building. We cannot foresee when we will be able to carry out school equipments from the second floor.

{A big tree on the landing of stairs}

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Pupils of Tanigawa primary school are now studying in another school.  In the areas which faces sea, like Ojika peninsula, there are several zones where repair work is making little progress.

JEN continuously supports such difficult area. However, for the reconstruction of these areas, your corporation and long time is necessary.

JEN continuously accept supporters who are willing to corporate with us.
      

January 6, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/28/2011

Rebuilding of community – Reconstruction of the area by ourselves

JEN made plenty of activity for the rebuilding of community after earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

JEN started meal service at the end of March. JEN provided people who went back to their house, of which first floor cannot be used but second floor is good to live, from shelters with warm lunch so that they can feel relieved.

This was a start of community café.

On July 22, JEN stopped meal service that had continued for four months.  At the begging, meal service was an emergent issue for the people who cannot use their kitchen or gas.

JEN started meal service in Nakayashiki are only, however, also started in Kazuma area in May.

At the begging of June, local people starded to help volunteers who was making meal service. In this way, collaboration of local people and volunteers began.  Then, we met people who gathered in the meeting place in Koganehama area.

In July, in addition to one meal service a day, various activities such as soccer school for kids, interchange with volunteers who provided nice coffee, and visit of volunteers who made hair cut as relaxation started..

In the last half of July, there is an atmosphere people can gather with comfort, JEN made a judge to stop meal service.  However, it does not mean the stop of support.

On the way of support for independence, JEN faces many phases. Stop of meal service was a really big turning point.  Then new system started. Namely, people of these three areas run their own three areas, and JEN supports this system.

At the end of 2011, three community café are run by the inhabitants.  From the start of a new year, community cafes will start plenty of activities for the reconstruction.  Leader of these activity is each of inhabitants. Not JEN as a supporter.

[ Community café of Nakayashiki area “Nakayashikissa” ]

Meal service in April

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Handycraft school in community café
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Art therapy for kids
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[ Community café in Koganehama area “Koganehama-kaikan” ]

Staff announces activity
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Entrance before repair work (will complete in the spring of 2012)
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[ Community Café in Kazuma area “HANA-sou” ]

Meal service in May.  As this place was pulled down, meal service and other activities are made in the tents until autumn.
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Community café “HANA-sou” is completed in November. In this care, people can bear the cold wether.
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By the corporation and participation of plenty of supporters and inhabitants themselves of these areas, people are rebuilding their communities.  JEN will support these movements from the sidelines.

 

December 28, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/24/2011

【Rebuild Community 】Christmas Party at HANA house

On December 18 a Christmas party took place at HANA house, a community cafe in Ktsuma -Minami district. With the help of NIHON L’OREAL ltd. workers in Tokyo preparations for the party including arrangement for hand massage service and crafting wreaths had been completed and those workers along with JEN staff welcomed local people. While the wind was blowing hard on that day, the party was crowded with many people from children to the elderly.

【Outside of HANA house; Colorful flowers bloom】
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【Entrance is full of shoes 】

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Bright daylight was getting in and the Christmas song was heard in HANA house. A decorated Christmas tree welcomed people at the entrance. Time and again people there were heard to exchange greetings saying "Hi there, It has been a while.", because since the disaster they hadn't been able to see each other and they for the first time could reunite with their old friends at HANA house.


【Serve visitors hot tea and cakes 】
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On that day people could participate in hands-on wreaths crafting which was crowded not only with women but men. They decorated wreaths in any way they want and took those products to their homes.

【Wreaths crafting attract many people】
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Many people also waited in line for hand massage and general massage service. They spent nice and easy time enjoying hand massage by people from NIHON L’OREAL ltd., talking about their daily affairs. 

【Talk spring from hand massage 】
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On looking at notebooks on the table, children gathered saying "Let me paint something on it!". They looked somehow happy, even though they were bothered at which color to use for painting pictures. One child painted a cute little girl, another one painted a number of colorful large circles and the other one painted with all their strength to tear his paper, they all looked happy.

【Children get excited about painting 】
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Participants were provided with gifts at the last, makeup for adults and candy for children.

【Christmas present 】
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HANA house has been a place where local people can get together without reserve since it was able to open with collaboration from NIHON L’OREAL ltd. and by donations from supporters. It is the place for adults to spend relaxed time over tea as well as for children to come together on their way home from school. Children are heard to say "Hi, I'm home" on the way back from school today. 
A Famous Christmas Song Record Concert takes place  on the 25th of this month.

====
For donation…

↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN

 
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://bit.ly/c7R8iA 
Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office
(phone: 03-5225-9352, contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

December 24, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/21/2011

Recruit volunteers for March

The voluntary work for reconstruction support takes place on March 15(Saturday), 18(Sunday), 24(Saturday), 25(Sunday), 31(Saturday) and April 1(Sunday).

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami brought enormous damage to the Tohoku district on March 11. From right after the disaster to the end of February 2012 a total of more than 4,000 volunteers have participated in recovering towns and cities including cleaning off houses wrecked by sludge and debris, dredging up mud from ditches and transporting supplies to temporary housing through JEN volunteer dispatch program. One year after the disaster, volunteer work has shifted from 'emergency-relief' which requires heavy work like removing debris and cleaning up side ditches to 'reconstruction assistance' which involves revitalizing fishery industry and supporting daily life of people living in temporary housing. JEN makes its motto to 'support effort to live through' and continues its mid and long term assistance. We are now hearing about what help people in the region who are set out to recovery need0 and coordinating them so that we may offer best assistance to those in need. We will accept volunteers again from March 16. We want you to continue to participate in volunteer work so that those people may be able to stand at the threshold of returning to their previous life as soon as quickly and we together may be able to inspire them to think positive.

<Terms and Conditions>
1. Transportation to and from Ishinomaki must be organized by volunteers.
2. Volunteers will work and lodge in groups.
3. Volunteers need to bring a sleeping bag, food and drinks for their consumption, work clothes (rubber boots, rubber gloves, long sleeve T-shirt and trousers).
4. Volunteers need to be covered by volunteering insurance.

< Application Date >
On every Saturday and Sunday from March 16 to April 1; March 17(Saturday), 18(Sunday), 24(Saturday), 25(Sunday), 31(Saturday) and April 1(Sunday)
Dates that follow will be noticed on our website as soon as they are firm.

To participate in volunteer work, volunteers must gather by 9:00 a.m. in front of JEN Ishinomaki Office; SASADENBILL 201 3-13 Isenba Ishinomaki City; 5 minutes walk from JR Ishinomaki Station, and dismiss at the same place.
Be sure for the first-time volunteers to attend volunteer orientation that takes place at 7:00 p.m. every Friday.

The details are as follows.
※Volunteers must work for at least 1 day.
※Application deadline: 5:00 p.m. 1 week before your work day
※The fixed number of volunteers is 20 every day.

<First-time Volunteers >
Volunteer orientation is mandatory for the first-time volunteers and they are held from 5:00 p.m. every Friday at JEN Ishinomaki Office; SASADENBILL 201 3-13 Isenba Ishinomaki City; 5 minutes walk from JR Ishinomaki Station.
After the orientation, volunteers will be guided to accommodations at 6:00 p.m.

<Accommodations>
JEN Watanoha accommodations, which is located in 48-2 Watanoha aza Yamazaki Ishinomaki City, are available for volunteers for \500 a night.

<Work details>
◆Helping recover fishery industry
◆Cleaning up damaged mountain streams, shrines and parks where children play; and besides what is desperately-needed at that time. We adjust volunteer work to match the changing needs of assistance.

<Additional information>
◆The time and place of application are subject to change and so please make sure to go over JEN's website before you set out for volunteer work.
◆JEN will contact volunteers by email or phone to confirm application of volunteers.
◆Application will be closed once we reach the quota.
◆Minimum activity period is 1 day. Weekday activities are welcome.
◆As the office is small, there aren't enough space for volunteers to wait. Please assemble approx 5 minutes before the meeting time.
◆There is a possibility that work will be cancelled in case of rain.

<Volunteering insurance>
It is mandatory to join the Volunteering Insurance.
Please apply at your nearest Japan National Council of Social Welfare. Once applied, it is valid for one year from April 1 to March 31.

<Application>
The leaflet tells you how to apply; fill in application form; send it by E-mail or Fax.
E-mail
volunteer@jen-npo.org / Fax 0225-25-5612
For details →download「hp_eng.pdf」
Application form →  download「application_eng.doc」

<Contact us>
Please contact
volunteer@jen-npo.org for inquiries.
Volunteer coordinator: 080-3303-3249
period for acceptance: 9:00 a.m. to 18:00 p.m. on weekdays
December 21 2011, Dispatch of Volunteer, Removing debris, Helping recover fishery, Reconstruction support, Mental care, Great East Japan Earthquake| Permalink

December 21, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/20/2011

Rebuilding the community and supporting protection against disasters

On December 14 in Watanami branch office in Ishinomaki City, a presentation ceremony to give a patrol kit to Ishinomaki Watanami Area Young Crime Preventer Training Association.

The president of the association, where a patrol kit became unavailable due to the disaster, requested a kit from JEN, and it was presented today.

The president and members receiving the catalogue
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The weather was good, and Mr. Tsuruoka, the president, with a new uniform and a smile, expressed his gratitude: “Thank you for a new uniform.”

The president wearing a new uniform
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After that, the president and the members got on a patrol car and went into action vigorously. They will work hard for prevention of crime in Ishinomaki from now on too.

JEN will move forward to a reconstruction step by step, with local people.
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December 20, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/19/2011

Support for reconstruction through music – Chiristmas present of musical instruments from GLAY.

On December 19 (Mon), JEN, together with a foundation “mudef” which is running a support project of the reconstruction from the earthquake “HOPE FOR JAPAN”, held a ceremony of presentation of musical instruments to sixteen schools in Ishinomaki, that lost instruments by the disaster.

[in the middle high school in Ishinomaki – new musical instruments are on the stage/]
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Brass band is very popular in Ishinomaki. Brass band by pupils was on the street for the sports festival in the spring, river opening in the summer traffic safety parade in the autumn.  ]

However, the schools, which used to be pleasant learning places, suddenly changed due to the earthquake.  There are twenty nine schools of which building was covered by water or destroyed.  Musical instruments in schools were also flowed away or covered by the sea water.

Most schools were used as a evacuation place until a few months ago.  After the earthquake, people used curtain to prevent the coldness in some school.  Some pupils are still studying in the other schools as their schools were completely burned by the fire.

Under such situations, a rock band “GLAY”,supporting mudef, presented musical instruments to schools in Ishinomaki as a Christmas gift.

[Presentation ceremony]
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Eighty six kinds, two hundred eighty nine musical instruments has been presented. Before this, JEN interviewed each school about requirement for the instruments. Each school has each need.  In the middle high school where the presentation ceremony was held, they received nine instruments such as trumpet and trombone.

During the ceremony, video message from GLAY was introduced.  They said that they hoped pupils/students will make wonderful sound with those instruments in Tohoku area.  It was very strong and warm message.

[Message from GLAY]
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After that, Brass band people played music. When the earthquake happened, they were practicing for the graduation ceremony that had been scheduled to be held on that day. Their performance was very high for the gold prize, and their sound was very loud and seems pleasant on this ceremony day.

[Music play by brass band]
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After the ceremony, brass band people gathered in front of instruments put on the stage.
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“Wow, great!”  They shouted and received the instruments.  They looked very happy.
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Many school students and pupils have less opportunity to do with music due to limited environments such as temporary schools.  However, as GLAY says, music has power to make people smile.

We are really looking forward to listening the sound of brass band in Ishinomaki again through this presentation 

December 19, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/14/2011

Chabo! Ms. Kazuyo Katsuma’s Inspection in Ishinomaki – Day 2

On Thursday, December 8, Ms. Kazuyo Katsuma, the author of “chabo!”, and others made an inspection in Ishinomaki for the second day.
On the day, Mr. Junishi Morioka, the chief editor of Kobunsha, participated too, going into action from early morning with Ms. Katsuma and JEN staff.

On the second day, they visited Nobiru Elementary School in Higashimatsushima City and Nobiru Station on JR Sengoku Line.
JR Nobiru Station, where the tsunami swept toward, has still not been restored, and the Sendai-Sengoku section has just resumed service via other stations with buses as their proxy jointly.

A platform of JR Nobiru Station: The tsunami swept toward the height of the mark of the station name
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Leaving Nobiru Station, they headed for the assembly hall of temporary housing in Konan area in Ishinomaki City next.

In this region there are only a few numbers of buses circulating in the city, and there are not many places where people can go shopping immediately.
On the day, when JEN held Ochakko(tea-drinking party) for the first time in the assembly hall, there were many people who have met each other first time since they started living in the housing. Building a community for people who come from various regions and live in temporary housing, is just about to start.

In the assembly hall: Ms. Katsuma and others fitted in with the circle at once.
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They added to the gaiety of the talk with local people while drinking tea, and the party was listening to experiences that a variety of people had at the time of the quake.

Then they went to Okawa Elementary School in Kohoku area in Ishinomaki City, Nagatsura region, where houses are still flooded, Okatsu Town and Onagawa Town.

Okawa Elementary School, where 70 percent of the students died
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Nagatsura region, where houses are still flooded
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In spite of a long distance travel, everyone was gazing at the scenery that was seen from the window of the car. By the time they were coming back from Nagatsura to Ishinomaki City area the evening was almost there.

After that, at a community space “Nakayashikissa” in Nakayashiki, Ms. Katsuma and others visited a weaving class, and finally dropped by the Ishinomaki Office of JEN.

We listened to their comments on the inspection for 2 days in Ishinomaki there. Then, they exchanged opinions about the problems in Ishinomaki from now on with the staff. It was impressive that Ms. Katsuma and others were thinking about the reconstruction of Ishinomaki with JEN staff in earnest, and it was a meaningful time for us too.

Exchanging opinions with JEN staff
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December 14, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/12/2011

Ms. Kazuyo Katsuma, the author of “chabo!”, visits Ishinomaki

On December 7 and 8, for two days, Ms. Kazuyo Katsuma, the author of “chabo!”, Ms. Yumiko Kanba, a member of the promoting committee, and others visited Ishinomaki.

“chabo!” is the abbreviation for Charity Book Program, which is a donation program by JEN realized through the courtesy of the authors.

On Wednesday 7, Ms. Katsuma and others firstly visited Minato area in Ishinomaki City.

Minato area was severely damaged by the tsunami, and the ground floors of many houses were submerged under water, and then became uninhabitable. Ms. Katsuma and others were attentively listening to the explanation by JEN staff, who lived in this region until just before the disaster.

Minato area: Mountains of debris piling up can be seen on the background.
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On transfer (Uonomachi area): A tank is left lying down.
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Next Ms. Katsuma and others visited Fukukiura in Oshika Peninsula.

JEN continues support to resume fishing industry in Oshika region, where fishing gear such as nets and sky tanks have been washed away by the tsunami.

Local fisherpersons taught Ms. Katsuma and others net-knitting and they had an actual experience of it. As there are not many successors who can knit nets, the guidance of veteran fisherpersons is very important for transmission of technical know-how too.

Ms. Katsuma challenged fishing net-knitting too!
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After that, they saw how it was like to land a basket on the boat, going out on the sea with fisherpersons.

A blue sea spread endlessly.
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Conger eels, crabs, and urchins were caught!
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Departing from Oshika Peninsula, they headed for HANA-So, opened in Kazuma area.

HANA-So just opened on the 29th last month as a local community café, but it had become a place where mothers who chat with tea and children come back straight from school and gather. To the children’s voices “Hi, I’m back!”, everyone answers “Welcome home!”.

They visited HANA-So.
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Children playing train cheerfully
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Later, Ms. Katsuma and others visited Hiyoriyama Park. A view of Ishinomaki City seen from Hiyoriyama has changed so much that there was nothing we could say. For the reconstruction of Ishinomaki, Ms. Katsuma and others continue the inspection on the next day too.

(From left)Bureau chief of JEN, Kiyama, Ms. Katsuma and others, JEN staff
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A view seen from Hiyoriyama
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December 12, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/07/2011

Support to the report of Ishinomaki by TELETICA, a televition office in Costa Rica.

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On December 5 (Mon), a reporting group of TELETICA, a television office in Costa Rica visited Ishinomaki to report on the reconstruction from an earthquake disaster.  They visited various places in Ishinomaki with JEN, who is supporting mental care, rebuilding of community and recovery of fishery in this area.

First, a TELETICA reporter visited a meeting place of shelters and interviewed sufferers about the situation when the earthquake and tsunami attacked them.

Recovery for Japan (RFJ) staff, who is supporting relaxation and mental care, also cooperated with them for the interview.

Among  sufferers, there are people who have mental problem. In the meeting place, JEN is rebuilding the community taking care for those people.

[JEN staff and local people : active talks in spite of the first meeting]
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[massage by RFJ staff]
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In the meeting place on this day, they held “Ochakko-nomi” in relaxation café. 
“I wanted to come here, but I could not do it due to inconvenience. Finally, I have come here!” In the meeting place, many people were talking comfortably. Some people were receiving massage.

[Piles of adiabator]
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In shelters, coldness is becoming severe. In order to avoid coldness, adabator is piled up outside. They will prepare for the winter from now.

[JEN staff is receiving interviews about activitiy in shelters]
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A reporter of TELETICA interviewed JEN staff about the community activities in shelters.

Next, they visited Fukiura area at Higashihama, Oshika.  Local fishermen were making fishing nets together with JEN Ishinomaki staff there.

Fishermen explained how to make nets to a reporter.  JEN provides materials for the fishing net, and fishermen are making fishing net by themselves.  JEN’s support is to encourage their independence.

[Making fishing net together with the local fishermen]
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Last, they visited Okawa primary school in the area of Kawakita, Ishinomaki.  When they arrived, it was already dark.  So they took video using front light of the car.  About seventy per cent of pupils had been killed here.  In order to console them, plenty of flower, sweets and drinks were there.  In the letter written by a sufferer to the dead daughter, “When I wake up every morning, I feel that you are next to me..” she worte.
We cannot see in the dark photo, but there is a destroyed school building over there.

[At Okawa primary school]
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Reporters of TELETICA seemed to be heavily shocked by the interviews at shelters.  They were very eager to report although time is limited to one day.  Places they visited today were only parts of the stricken area.  However, we would like Costa Rica people to know the situation at Ishinomaki.

We have started to walk for the reconstruction.
JEN will continue to support them step by step.

December 7, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

12/06/2011

[ Drill for prevention of disasters] to make assurance doubly sure for the activity in stricken area – first aid lifesaving training by Ishinomaki staff.

On December 6 (Tue), JEN Ishinomaki staff received a traing of first aid lifesaving at Ishinomaki fire service headquarters.

[JEN staff arrives fire service headquarters!]
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In order to keep high will and act safely, to receive training first aid lifesaving is very important.  JEN Ishinomaki staff learned how to revive heart, how to use AED and how to stop bleeding from a fire station staff.

[For the first aid of human life, to secure breathing.]
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[JEN staff is learning the way of heart massage.]
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Now, training has started. JEN staff were divided in groups and practiced heart massage.

For the heart message, they have to put palms at the center of breast, without bending elbows, and push breast with their weight.  In order to revive heart, they have to push breast about one hundred times per minute.  JEN staff are all eager to learn it.

[JEN staff are practicing heart massage.]
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Next, they made role plays. There were four roles. Those are to call ambulance, to do heart massage, to use AED and to act as fire station staff.  Bearing the real situation in mind, they practiced very seriously.
For most staff, to use AED was the first experience, but they acted calmly in accordance with automatic voice from AED.

[AED pads are put diagonally around the heart.]
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JEN staff took a written examination after the training for four hous.  All staff passed it and finished a training for the first aid lifesaving.

We JEN Shinomaki staff recognized the importance of the first aid lifesaving.  We will do our best for the activity in the stricken area. 

 

December 6, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

11/30/2011

UNDP Goodwill ambassador – Ms. Misako Konno visits Ishinomaki

On October 21 (Fri), Ms. Misako, Konno、a goodwill ambassador of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) visited Ihinomaki.  She visited various venues together with JEN staff.

First, She bisited Sudachi area, Higashihama, Oshika, and inspected fishing equipment support by JEN.  Higashihama is very famous for the fishery of mantis crab, but almost all fishing nets are flowed way by tsunami.  In order to recover the fishing life, fishermen are now making new nets.  Ms. Konnno learned how to make net from the Mr.  Ishimori, a leader of Ishinomaki east branch.

[Photo : Mr. Ishimoro and Ms. Konno]
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[Photo : Ms. Konno learned how to make a net.]
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Next, Ms. Konno visited Ayukawahama.  She inspected a place where “Oshika temporary shopping street” will open in November.  Ms. Konno had conversation with Mr. Numakura and Mr. Henmi, shopowners.  They were talking about the situation of the earthquake and planning of a shopping street.

[Photo : Ms. Konno, Mr. Numakura and their friends]
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Last visit was to Koganehama hall at the center of IShinomaki.  JEN is running gymnastics school for kids and mental care activities (supply of chance of communication, massage and others) here. Children were there and showed their cheerful voices on this day, too.

[Photo : Kids are full of energy!]
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Children played with balloons or played tag with JEN staff.  Ms. Konno got close to one girl and listened to her.ing to her.

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All people have smiles when they see children laugh.  However pleasant time goes very fast.  Before leaving, Ms. Konno took a souvenir picture with children.

Thanks to Ms. Konno’s visit, many people had wonderful smiling faces in each area of Higashihama, Ayukawahama, Koganehama.  JEN is willing to make a new step for the reconstruction together with people in the areas.

 

November 30, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

11/28/2011

Preparing for a severe winter – Distribution of heaters to leased temporary housing

JEN have been distributing about 70 items of daily necessities needed for life, to 6890 households among temporary housing in Ishinomaki City.

End of September: Distribution to temporary housing by JEN team
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We distributed from door to door.
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As the season is in transition, it gets awfully cold in the mornings and the evenings in November in Ishinomaki City, located in the northeastern part of Miyagi Prefecture. In December, the temperature often goes down to subzero.
In preparation for winter that will get harsher and harsher in Ishinomaki City, distribution of heaters to private rental housing (leased temporary housing as follows) has a great meaning.

On Monday, November 28, when the coldest time of the year was just around the corner, JEN started to distribute heaters to 6400 households who live in leased temporary housing, and sent a set of an oil fan heater and an electric carpet to each of about 200 households on that day, thanks to donation from supporters and in cooperation with Japan Platform.

Oil fan heaters and electric carpets loaded on a delivery van
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Deliverers were so busy.
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Measures to distribute heaters to leased temporary housing was the center of attention in society, and on that day, which was the first day of distribution, a TV station in Miyagi Prefecture visited Jen to cover the activity.

A JEN staff giving an interview to a TV station
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Then, to our joy, we received gratitude from people to whom heaters have been sent. We had many letters, postcards and phone calls. We will excerpt and present part of them below.

l This first support warmed my heart too. Different from temporary housing, we were omitted from the number of victims, so we felt a bit sad wondering if we were forgotten. I feel that the support encouraged us and was heartfelt. Thank you very much. I am deeply grateful. (Woman in Ishinomaki)

l Because we have never received relief supplies, thanks to this support my gloomy feelings were wiped away. Thank you so much.(Woman in Ishinomaki)

l I was really saved when I received an electric carpet and a fan heater at the time when cold temperature touched me to the core. I lost my husband in the disaster, and our newly-built house has been smashed, so I have a still long way to go toward revival while repairing the house, but I would like to work hard with cheer from people who support me. (Woman in Ishinomaki)

As of December 7, JEN has completed distribution of heaters to 5900 households. We are planning to carry out distribution to all the households by the end of the year.

It is getting colder and colder in Ishinomaki day by day. The wind is cold, and at night the temperature gets extremely cold. To send as much warmth as possible, to have a spring brimful of hope, JEN will continue tackling.

November 28, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

11/21/2011

Nakayashiki Art School for kids

On November 19 (Sat), JEN held the Art school for kids at a community space “Nakayashiki Kissa” at Nakayashiki under the corporation of art volunteer team of studio Ai.

In spite of the rain, many children attended this art school on this day.
At first, children did not draw anything on the large white papers. However, after seeing art volunteer team staff drawing pictures pleasantly, they started to draw pictures with their favorite colors and make paper folding freely.

[Children is drawing pictures with their favorite colors freely]
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In a relaxed mood with volunteers, children gradually started individual original works.

Girls put cutouts to the wall and made colorful pictures.

[Serious look!]
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[Colorful picture]
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On the other hand, boys are delighted to see insects and animals of paper folding made by volunteers.  They shouted  “Amazing!”, “Looks storong!” 

[Cutouts of Mantis, butterfly, bird and others]
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Before closing the art school, children said “When is closing? “What time do we go home?”  They did not seem to be satisfied, but closing time came. They corporated to put things in order.

JEN held the art school for kids on the next day, too. Children made many wonderful articles full of their idea.

[Articles – picture of fir and socks for Christmas]
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[Articles – full of kids’ ideas]
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People and children always gather at Nakayashikissa. There are adults who discipline children even if they are not their own children.
Nakayashiki area also heavily suffered from tsunami.  However, Nakayashikissa will watch children as a lamplite.

November 21, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

Restoration of business and temporary shops – Oshika shopping street has opened!

On November 18 (Fri), a temporary “Oshikashopping street” opened in Ayukawahama, Oshika.  After one month and half from the start of works, it was completed before the real winter.  A photo of the ground-breaking ceremony is here.

There are sixteen shops in “Oshika shopping street”.  They were living in Oshika peninsula and terribly suffered from earthquake and tsunami. However, they have been managing “reconstruction market” at Ayukawahama.  JEN supported peoples’ strong requirement for the restoration of shops and has materialized it with the support of HELP, a German NGO, supported.  Collaboration of JEN and HELP originated in the support for refugees in former Yugoslavia eighteen years ago.

On the sunny day, many people gathered for the opening ceremony. Chairman of Oshika Inai chamber of commerce and other people made speeches to celebrate for the opening.  JEN also attended this ceremony, made tape cut and delivered rice cake to congratulate the start of “Oshika shopping street”.

[ Photo : tape cut under the clear green sky.  It was unbelievable nice day.]
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[Photo : Very busy for rice cake delivery. More than five hundred people visited there on the day!]
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There are sixteen shops in Oshika shopping street.  Those are shops for food and beverage, fish, liquor, fruits and vegetable, beauty salon, souvenir, daily goods, electronic devices and others.  Just after opening the shopping street at eleven a.m., all shops were full of customers.  People were enjoying shopping for daily goods, vegetable and fish.  They also enjoyed eating ramen, sushi, soft cream and other foods that they could not taste for a long time.

“Long time to see you!”
Some people met together for the first time after the earthquake.  All shops were full of smiles of customers.

[Phote : A path is between the shops.  There are two same shop builidngs.]
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People have been waiting for the opening of beauty salon for a long time.  Right after opening this salon, one customer came to have her hair cut, and other people were watching it with deep interest.

[Photo : At beauty salon, the first customer and people who are watching it]
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Before, people in this area used “Oshika reconstruction market” once a week, or went shopping to the center of Ishinomaki that is about forty minutes by car or bus one way.
From now, this “Oshika shopping street is a symbol for the reconstruction.  This is a place for shopping and relaxation for the people in this area.  JEN hopes that this street will become a place full of life and many people enjoy meeting and energy here.

At Ayukawahama, people daily life is gradually recovering.  They have made a strong step forward to the real reconstruction onthis day.  This is a start for the reconstruction of the future town.  JEN will walk along with people in Ayukawa, Oshika peninsula for the reconstruction.

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November 21, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

11/17/2011

Oshika area – JEN has completed drills for prevention of disasters for all shelter.

On November 17. JEN made guidance of prevention of disasters and delivery of fire extinguishers to each household of shelters at Ayukawahama, Oshika peninsula, under the corporation of Oshika fire station, Onagawa.
JEN completed all drills for prevention of disasters held at shelters in eighteen zones in Oshika area on this day.

[ From now, we will visit each housing!]
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JEN started the drills for prevention of disasters at shelters in Oshika peninsula in the middle of October.

Now, each shelter has one fire extinguisher, but there is no water tank and sewage.  Furthermore, as shelters are not independent houses, in case of fire, there is higher risk of damage of fire.

As they live in shelters from now, it is very important to secure the safety and reduce anxiety for them.
JEN think that such support will be linked to the mental care of people living in the area.

In Oshika area, they have had drills for prevention of disasters of earthquake and tsunami every year.  In addition to those, for the prevention of fire, JEN planned and carried out drills for prevention of fire disasters for all eighteen shelters in Oshika area and delivered fire extinguishers to all 443 shelters. 

[Drill for prevention of disasters – telephone call for fire station]
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[Drill for using fire extinguisher in front of meeting place at shelters]
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[Many housewives attended a drill] 
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On 17, the last day of the drill, staff of the fire station and JEN visited each shelter and explained how to use fire extinguishers.  Through face to face communication and delivery of the fire extinguishers, conversation about the season and daily life occurred in addition to the how to use the equipment.

[Delivery of fire extinguisher by JEN staff]
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[Laugh comes out from the conversation]
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After the drills of prevention of disaster at eighteen shelters, some people said,

“We were living in individual houses before and did not care for neighborhood except relatives.  However, thanks to the drills, now we are very much concerned about the prevention of disasters.”

Many old people are living alone in shelters. In the area, spirit of mutual aid is important. In addition to that, drills for prevention of disasters for the for the worst case is also meaningful.

[View of Ayukawahama from Shelters]
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November 17, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/31/2011

【Community Space】 Flip Flop making class at common room.

On October 28, at the community space in Nakayashiki district, Flip Flop making class took place with collaboration from a local NPO in Ishinomaki "Association for encouraging people by handcrafting".

In the class, participants were divided into groups, thong making team and sole making one and they preceded their parts cheerfully. In order to make thongs, you have to repeat the process of first stitching inside-out cloth on a sewing machine and then turning it back. There is a trick of turning it back. The participants were finishing off turning the thongs back neatly using long chopsticks.

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In order to make a sole, first you have to hook a plastic cord on a hanger to make it the sole interlining and then knit up small strips of cloths, which cloths were relief supplies from all over Japan but left without takers. Participants learned about details from an instructor and were caught up in their work.

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In the afternoon, the thong team joined the sole team. Participants were seen to teach each other what they had learned from the instructor. "We might as well use this cloth sandal in our makeshift housing.", "It might be good for floors.", they were saying.
The thongs were reworks of disaster affected cloths from taken down houses after the disaster, thanks to those house owners. Filling the thongs with breath of the disaster, the cloth sandals were finished off one by one.

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Participants are now thinking of how to make use of and deliver to their supporters those finished Flip Flop.

October 31, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/25/2011

【Livelihood】 Carrying soil to neighboring Onagawa

On October 23, we helped carry fertile soil to a farm land in Onagawa. A land owner who has a problem with sight offered his land for farming for those who are living in makeshift housing complex nearby.

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The land owner owns the housing site and, thanks to his courtesy, it was realized to construct makeshift housing complex and for thirty one families to move in them. The Misato Social Welfare Conference or MSWC talked a farmer into using the farmer's fertile soil. In response, five trucks headed to the farmer's house, which trucks belong to a forwarding agency that is providing JEN transportation service with those trucks.

On their arrival, it looked like an easy job to load the soil onto all those truck all at once using the farmer's power shovel, but muddy road by yesterday's heavy rain prevented it and so only a truck of soil was completed after hours of struggle. In this way along with people from MSWC, the soil was carried to Kojohama in Onagawa next town of Ishinomaki where people were waiting for it.

At Kojohama, two students from Koushida agricultural high school in Oosaki district, a student from Sendai Ikuei Gkuen school and ten local volunteers were waiting for the soil to arrive. They leveled unloaded soil on the farm land; made ridges; sowed seeds. One of the land owner's desires, who is totally blind, born fruit through people's warm assistance. When a staff member of Japan Platform, a JEN's partner, visited Onagawa, the staff got to know that local people were trying to realize a farm land and had troubles. This led to this volunteering activity. Soil and trucks were necessary to develop a farm land and they had difficulty in getting them. So they came to ask JEN for helping hand. JEN Dscn0590_640x480

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concluded that, that being the case, JEN should help them. Then JEN immediately called for its forwarding agency to come and help JEN.

This was how the farm land was realized in corporation with many people such as MSWC, JPF, the land owner who offered his rot, people who use it, and JEN. Thank all of you for your corporation.

October 25, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/24/2011

【Physco-Social Care】Nine pupils

~At Oginohama primary school in Ojika peninsula~

On Oct. 22, a 'show and tell' took place at Ogihama primary school in Ojika peninsula and JEN joined it as an audience where JEN's volunteers have visited time and again and are totally familiar with the principal and the pupils. Local people who gathered in the gym were pleased to reunion and their familiar voices were heard here and there, like "It's been a long time. Have you been fine?"[

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The tsunami swept over Oginohama primary school playground and a stream nearby by and traffic signals and utility poles in front of the school were leveled to the ground. JEN has engaged in removing sludge from the school, its periphery and cleaning up the stream. And so the stream now is so pure that sweet fish came back. Just when the pupils got pleased with that, landslides caused by the typhoon 15 made our efforts go down into the drain.

Local people call landslide "Yama-tsunami"(Tsunami from the mountain). However, after the landslide JEN continued its efforts to remove sludge from the playground and its periphery along with volunteers.

The number of pupils of Ogihama primary school has dwindled one by one to nine from twenty-one due to transference. Even the 'show and tell' with only nine pupils, they danced 'The Soran' dance lively.

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Then, old six friends of theirs came in and reunited. All told, fifteen pupils danced ' Oginohama primary school Soran ' bravely in front of the many people.

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The energetic dance by those pupils who have been brought up with sea moved audiences' hearts.

"Thank you!",
"We want more!"

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the whole floor burst into cheers. Their remarks "Whatever happened, this is our hometown." and a song "Furusato" or 'my hometown' sang by all of the participants impressed us greatly.

Like this, JEN will help local people rebuild their life step by step sharing in spirits with them.

Those pupils lifted spirits of JEN's staff and volunteers. In return, JEN along with volunteers will tomorrow give people's spirits a lift at another place.

October 24, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

【Volunteer Dispactch】Still on-going at inflicted houses

Period: 7/10/2011-13/10/2011
Total participants: 3083 volunteers

We engaged in helping an affected resident clean up their house at Urayashki district.
Water had reached high up to the ceiling of its first floor.

Day one, we completely removed sludge piled up beneath its first floor. Day two, we applied some antiseptic to its bases and joists so that people may be able to live there again.
He was so moved that he could not help having watery eyes and thanked us saying, “I haven’t’ see any people like you who helped me overcome difficulties after the March disaster.”

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THe owner of the house was at first thought that he would have to accept the demolition of his house. “- but now I think I can see a light in the future.” said he quite hopefully.

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Within a stone’s cast off the main street, there were quite a few houses which have not yet been untouched. JEN will continue to meet every call for help from individuals.

October 24, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/20/2011

【Temporary shopping center】Encourage younger generation

Img_1383 It has been two weeks since the construction of “Noren-Gai” mall started.

As I heard that remarkable progress has been seen, I accompanied a person in charge who was heading to the constructing site. You can see how “Hanjokigann-sai” or the ceremony to celebrate good business was taken place in this picture.

The framework of the mall has been completed. In one of two mall-blocks, the installation of insulators was already finished. The construction contractor is from Fukushima neighboring prefecture, he himself has also been inflicted by the March disaster.

With so many refurbishments and building new houses asked by local clients to get through, he was managing nearly ten carpenters to complete building “Noren-Gai” as quickly as possible, where about 4,000 people in Ojika would come to shop daily.

This footage was taken by chance. A young man in the picture(at left) had others' attention, running and skipping busily, lightly here and there with a bunch of documents in his hand.
He is the youngest shopkeeper in sixteen shops in “Noren-Gai” and going to run a grocery.
You can notice his resolution even from his outfit. The temperature of that day was below twenty centigrade.

On October 23, she will come to Tokyo to participate in an event making time amid the construction.

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Before the March earthquake, the coastal water body around Ojika Peninsula was a very rich fishery and it was the core business to sell marine products caught there.

After the disaster, he resolved to live up to the expectations of elder people around him because they told him how crucial it was to recover marine products processing business there which could employ a lot of local people, prevent them from fleeing there and sell those products as the staple products there. And so I decided to back his great resolution.

Volunteers who engage in support can give a trigger to restart to those who receive the support but simply by that any outcome won't be expected. It is not until cooperation with those local people followed by their own one-step toward restarting is secured, that the support results in self-reliance. I greatly thank all of the people in Ojika for their corporation.

October 20, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/19/2011

【Disaster Risk Reduction】 Improve living environment at a temporary shelter

On Oct. 16, a disaster risk reduction workshop took place at a temporary shelterunder the guidance of the Ojika district office of the Onagawa fire department. JEN had conducted the workshop for other countries, too.

JEN also provided them for victims of the cyclone disaster in Myanmar and the massive earthquake in Kashmir, Pakistan in 2005 as a relief activity. Just like this, in natural disaster-affected areas, JEN had always been engaged in conducting disaster risk reduction workshop to be well prepared for future natural disaster.

Now, back to the relief activity for the Great Eastern Earthquake. Currently, temporary shelters are equipped with fire extinguishers at every door but water tanks for fire extinction and sewerage system are not built. In order to strength the further disaster prevention, this workshop will play a great role.

On this day, about twenty people especially elder persons joined. Under the guidance of fire department officials they got training for how to call for an ambulance and conduct initial extinction in case of fire or emergency.

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"When a fire breaks out, first you must elevate your voice so as to make yourself heard and report to the fire department quickly without trying to put out the fire by yourself" said the officer, and they listened carefully with great interest.

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JEN, on that day, delivered dry-chemical extinguishers to each family and will continue to conduct disaster drills at other makeshift housing for the period to come. JEN would help enhance awareness of disaster prevention and, especially among other things, maintain the environment so that local people who have just started their new life can live peacefully in the makeshift housing complex where many people are living together.

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October 19, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/18/2011

【Livelihood】 A head office for the emergency response to disaster in Higashihama district disbanded.

JEN has been engaged in supporting people in Higashihama since July. JEN cooperated with people there in carrying in and neatly delivering vegetables, fruits, rice and so forth for all of the families in Higashihama.

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This support ended by the end of October. Mr. Toyoshima who was the member of the head office recalled like this, "We should not continue to receive help without limitation, we must make self-reliant efforts toward recovery from now on." His strong remark told us his resolution toward recovery.

"It'll take much more time to recover and rebuild, but we do make desperate efforts.", said a ward head.

On Oct. 14, seven months ago on this day the head office kicked off, its closing ceremony took place.

Higashihama was marooned area from helping hand, because roads to these areas remained shut down due to the disaster. Under such conditions, the head office was organized on March 14. After the self defence force began its relief operations, the head office took people's daily order at every district and listed necessary relief goods, then waited for those goods from the self defence force.

JEN's vegetables support ended, but, as people said "We want to start our previous business as quickly as possible", JEN decide to begin supporting fishing equipment instead.

JEN will continue to support people in Higashihama who made a new start toward recovery and rebuilding so that they might be able to put their life back as quickly as possible.

October 18, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/17/2011

【Volunteer dispatch】Do you remember volunteering at a greenhouse in June?

JEN engaged in removing sludge from the greenhouse at Watariha-nekishimae district deploying all of the volunteers sent from companies. Although it was before summer, we struggled too much as if we were working in a steam bath.

You can see how hard it was from this picture.

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The other day, we received a message from the greenhouse owner. He told us that they had harvested autumnal vegetables without failing!! but those veggies had not grown big enough to sell at markets as usual but he would continue to grow them.

Thank those who struggled in the greenhouse! We are looking forward to seeing you at Watanoha.

October 17, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/14/2011

Restoration of livelihood and dispatch of volunteers – helping oyster farming in Kozakihama in Oshika Peninsula

Period: 2011/11/4-11/10
Cumulative total number of volunteers: 3422
Cumulative total number of volunteers supporting fishery: 356

Today, Friday, November 11, the volunteer activity is making matrices for oyster farming in Kozakihama for the second time. These matrices are for oysters that will be used in summer next year. This year as the oysters have been washed away by the tsunami, a larger number will be needed; therefore they have to be prepared from now.

This time 20 employees of Prudential Life Insurance, and 10 employees of Mitsui Bussan participated.
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At first they were a bit awkward, and working cautiously, “Is this OK?” However, as time passed they got used to it, and even devoted the intermission to be absorbed in the work.
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At last everyone was competing how many they could make in the time limit.
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When we asked for comments they said that it was difficult, they could attain a mental state with nothing present, could train their power of concentration, etc.

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Also, it was very impressive that they had a pleasant chat with local fisherpersons during the work.

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Finally we took a group photo. This amount of matrices has been completed.

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When they were going back, they surely got tired all of a sudden. We really appreciate their hard work. Thank you.
It will be from around fall the year after next when they can harvest the oysters on the matrices we made this time. All we hope is that everyone’s wish for reconstruction will bear fruit in fall 2013, and bring a smile.

October 14, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/11/2011

【Community Space】Traditional and local flavored HotPot takes place at Kazumaminami district

A party to celebrate fall harvest where people enjoy over Japanese hotpot , Imonikai, took place at Kazuma-Nishi park on October 9.

Many people from children to elderly people gathered that day: children enjoyed playing soccer, catch, painting and drawing lots before the nabe was ready to eat. On the other hand, the elderly were sitting seats prepared in tents and enjoyed talking each other.

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In the scene of drawing lots contest, an elder boy was seen to encourage a younger one who got disappointed at failing in winning a lottery he aimed at, saying, ‘Don’t let it get you down, you may be able to try for again’.

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Two different hotpot were prepared, Miso-based one which is favored in Miyagi prefecture and soy sauce-based one in Yamagata prefecture.

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The elderly were enjoying those nabes talking each other about what they had been doing lately.

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Some of them enjoyed both Miyagi-favor nabe and Yamagata-favor nabe and some others looked forward to the next party to be held, and so they didn’t seem to run out of conversation topics. As such, the first 'Imonikai' was full of peoples’ laughing all day long.

October 11, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/09/2011

【Livelihood】 People prop up each other for their home town, Kitakami No.2

~ The tsunami reached up to eleven kilometers away from the mouth of a river.  ~

The transportation company who participated in the first social contribution activity on October 4, took part in the second one at a place near Kawakita police office.

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Although that place is located inland far away from the coast, it was inundated with the tsunami. On measuring the distance from there to the nearest mouth of the Kitakami River, we found out that the tsunami ripped through the Kitakami river for about eleven kilometers.

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Insofar as I can see on a picture, that place is located in such an inland area that it's difficult to imagine what happened. On looking around, you can notice the trace of fifty centimeters deep tsunami. The tsunami obliterated the ridges of rice fields and so the agency helped piling up gravel on those breached ridges as a social contribution activity.

Our program for recovering people's life is taking place in corporation with supporters and Japan Plat Form.

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October 9, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/07/2011

【Temporary Shopping center】 Awaited temporary shops to open at Ayukawahama district in Ojika peninsula!

  Ayakawa dictrict in Ojika peninsula, where district had been thriving as a fishery town, was deadly inflicted by the disaster and many of the business owners there lost their stores.

JEN has been supporting to construct 'Ayukawahama Norenngai', a temporary shopping center as a stronghold of their recovery so that people in Ayukawahama may be able to recover their living and stimulate businesses in corporation with the chamber of commerce of Ishinomaki city, that of Ojika where Ayukawahama belongs and Ojika Recovery Support Conference.

Finally, the construction has completed. On Oct. 6, 'Hanjo-kigannsai' a ceremony to pray for good business in Ayukawahama and 'Shichifukujinnmai' a local performing art by people there took place and many joined them.

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'Ojika Revival shopping stall' which has been taking place once a week since June will open permanently as 'Ayukawahama Norenngai', a temporary shopping mall. All told, sixteen stores will start business there; they are ranging from fresh food stores, living ware stores, drug stores, and restaurants. It's going to open at middle of the November.

JEN's recovery assistance still continues in the period ahead. We would like you to come and get a feeling of vitality here in Ayukawahama.

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October 7, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/05/2011

【Volunteer dispatch】 At a private house in Hamagurihama district

Period from 9/22/2011 to 9/29/2011
Cumulative participants 2919

On September 30, we engaged in removing sludge from a local private house in Hamagurihama district, which is a small village with less than twenty families. The house was hit not only by March 11 earthquake and tsunami but also a flash flood came down through the mountain stream behind it during the typhoon No.15 last month.

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In this way, it was inflicted twice by deadly scourges. It all started by removing sludge with shovels. Some of the volunteers were so good at carpentry job that they nailed up boards that formed the foundations of its floors with a few carpenter tools on hand, using timbers prepared by its owner.

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October 5, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/04/2011

【Livelihood】 Support each other for home town, Kitakami

~Oct.4 Social contribution through removing rubbles~

JEN is lending a truck to an owner of a transportation company in Ishinomaki. So that the owner of the company may be able to make his living. On that day, we went to Kitakami along with him where he was at work using the truck. Kitakami in Ishinomaki city is one of the regions where helping hand has not been reached out for long time after the earthquake and tsunami.

JEN has been supporting people there grapple with wide variety of works toward recovery since July. First, JEN dispatched volunteers. Many volunteers helped oyster and scallop farming. Almost all of them are from other prefectures.

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On that day, the owner joined us in working on a social contribution activity using the truck. That took place at Tsuriishi shrine atop stone steps in Jusanhama district, Kitakami town near 'Nilkkori Sun Park'. The devastating tsunami hit the stone steps and washed out its lower part, but today we piled up gravel and restored it. Our program for livelihood is taking place in corporation with supporters and Japan Plat Form.

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October 4, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/03/2011

【Temporary Shelter】 A tea party to meet each other

P1030907  On October1, a tea party took place at a meeting place in a temporary shelter complex.

This time, intended participants were people living in the third and the fourth section in this complex. Although it was the first tea party, a good many people of all ages gathered.

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There aren't supermarkets or retail stores nearby and so local people shop at a far-off city or a moving stall coming down twice a week.

At first, a few of the people were wondering whether or not to participate in the tea party. However, once they sit around the same table, they naturally began to talk each other even they were complete strangers and many of them were seen to have pleasant chat. Quite naturally, they were seen to introduce each other, exchange contact information and give information for daily life.

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Amid everyone was having a happy time, the time to close the party came. Then local people helped JEN volunteer staffs tidy up.

Being blessed with fine weather, we were able to have the first cheerful tea party. We will have the tea party here in the period ahead. The tea parties have taken place at eight places recently and we will continue to hold them at appropriate occasion and place based on the needs.

October 3, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

10/01/2011

【Livelihood】Help each other seeking to recover the community

~Social contribution through a levee restoration work~

This is the report on a social contribution activity by a business owner who is the one the most deadly inflicted victims and currently receiving JEN's support.

The business owner had been thinking of what to start with day after day, since the tsunami swept away all of his assets including his office building and vehicles.

In June when he was almost resolved to restart his business, JEN dispatched a warm many volunteers there. Being inspired by those volunteers, he found out his starting line to restart.

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JEN lent a dump truck of four ton burden so that he may be able to earn his living. This gaves him a leg up to restart his previous business. Although he himself has been deadly inflicted, he began to revet levees breached by the tsunami as social activity at his client's premises, a coastal shipbuilding corporation.

You can see an ongoing recovery that local people are overcoming the disaster by helping each other.

JEN, as a catalyst, will continue to provide each of the local people with assistance needed by them. Our program for recovering people's life is taking place in corporation with supporters and Japan Plat Form.

October 1, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

09/30/2011

Tsunami Aftermath - Reflections of a Volunteer Worker

A volunteer from England had expressed her thought about the experiences.

***

Traces of homes,
shells, smashed, skeletons;
Weeds thriving among
bare foundations,
Rubbish mountains of concrete, items un-discernable, mementos?

Coastal areas wrecked
the land sunk into the sea.
New roads & new sea defences,

Temporary, square, pre-fab shelters,
certainly not homes -
resembling camps,
containing the displaced, the lost
without fences or guards.

Residents and survivors,
so generous, so politely Japanese,

Only six months later,
So brave, embracing life, sharing with us volunteers
a drink on a hot day, a joke,
the events on that day, their toilet facilities.....

And yet bereft of their homes
their livelihood
and for many - their loved ones.

JEN call for volunteer

Click here for the detail

September 30, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

09/28/2011

JEN a besoin de volontaires d’octobre 2011 à février 2012 !


Jusqu’à la fin septembre, plus de 3.000 personnes ont participé aux activités de JEN en tant que volontaires. Chaque jour, une vingtaine de volontaires aident à la restauration de la ville d’Ishinomaki. Grâce à leur aide, nous avons pu nettoyer la boue et les débris dans certains quartiers, distribuer du matériel d’urgence aux habitations temporaires, et fournir des repas chauds (déjeuner et dîner) aux personnes qui déblaient et nettoient leurs maisons.

Nous remercions les volontaires venus de tout le Japon, pour nous aider à nettoyer les maisons, les espaces publiques tels que les centres d’évacuation et certaines usines afin de préparer leurs réouvertures. Nous avons également besoin de volontaires dans les zones pêche pour permettre un retour rapide aux activités.

De façon à encourager la pensée positive des habitants de Tokohu pour qu’ils retrouvent une vie normale, nous vous demandons votre soutien.

Veuillez trouver ci-dessous les informations concernant l’appel aux volontaires d’octobre 2011 à février 2012. Nous vous remercions de votre aide.


<Conditions>
1. Le transport jusqu’à Ishinomaki ainsi que le retour doivent être organisés par les volontaires ;
2. Les volontaires travaillent et logent en groupe ;
3. Les volontaires doivent apporter leur sac de couchage personnel, nourriture et boissons, vêtements de travail (bottes en plastique, gants, T-shirt à manches longues et pantalons) ;
4. Les volontaires doivent être couverts par une assurance volontariat.

<Planning>
*    À partir d’octobre 2011, les activités de volontariat sont fermées tous les lundis et mardis.
*    L’engagement minimum pour les volontaires est de 1 journée. Les engagements les jours de semaine sont les bienvenus.
*    Les candidatures resteront ouvertes tant que le quota de 20 candidats ne sera pas atteint.
*    Délai pour candidature: 17h, une semaine avant la date de participation

***Tous les mardis***
Lieu de rassemblement: Devant le bureau de JEN Ishinomaki
Addresse: Sasadenbill 201, 3-13 Isenba, Ishinomaki City (à 5 minutes de marche depuis la gare JR Ishinomaki)
Heure de rassemblement: la veille (mardi) à 17h00 

Une session d’information sera tenue après le rassemblement. Les volontaires seront conduits à leur logement après cette session (départ 18h).

***Tous les samedis***
Lieu de rassemblement: devant le bureau de JEN Ishinomaki
Addresse: Sasadenbill 201, 3-13 Isenba, Ishinomaki City (à 5 minutes de marche depuis la gare JR Ishinomaki)
Heure de rassemblement: samedi 9h.

Une session d’information sera tenue après le rassemblement. Les volontaires seront conduits aux zones de travail après la session.

<Logement>
Adresse: JEN Watanoha (48-2 Watanoha aza Yamasaki, Ishinomaki City, Préfecture de Miyagi)
Frais de logement: 500 yens / personne.

<Description de la mission>
1) Enlever la boue et les débris des maisons (nettoyage de la boue, jeter les débris et les meubles qui ont été apportés par la vague du tsunami)
2) Aide à la distribution de biens de consommation dans les maisons ou les préfabriqués
3) Soutien à la reconstruction/restauration des activités de pêche
4) Nettoyage des ruisseaux, lieux saints, et parcs
Ainsi que toutes autres tâches jugées nécessaires.
Les tâches peuvent changer en fonction des besoins. Nous vous remercions de votre compréhension.


<Autres informations>
1) JEN contactera les volontaires par email ou téléphone pour confirmer leurs candidatures.
2) Les candidatures seront fermées quand les quotas de participants seront atteints.
3) Merci de contacter JEN pour toutes propositions de volontariat régulier.
4) Il est possible que certaines missions soient annulées en raison de la pluie.

<Assurance pour volontaires>
Il est obligatoire de souscrire à une assurance volontariat ‘Catastrophe Naturelles Plan A’.
Nous vous demandons de bien vouloir souscrire à votre propre assurance auprès du Japan National Council of Social Welfare. Une fois souscrite, cette assurance est valide jusqu’à la fin mars 2012.


Plus d’informations, cliquez ici (en Anglais):

Formulaire de candidature: 「application_eng.doc」をダウンロード
Merci de contacter  volunteer@jen-npo.org  pour toutes questions.

September 28, 2011 in francais, le tremblement de terre, Tohoku Earthquake, Volunteer Infomarion |

09/27/2011

Tale from a volunteer 6: On a Stunning Sunny Day at the bay - By D.A.

During an 8 day stay at JEN’s Watanoha House, Ishinomaki, as a volunteer, I was amazed by the number of volunteers. People come from all over Japan to participate in the volunteer programme for a day or more, some staying at Watanoha House, where everyone eats and sleeps under the same roof.

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The work was physically hard and my body aches in places I didn’t know existed, but it was great to see that a large group of us had a significant impact on clearing the storm drains of a little fishing village in Ayukawa in Oshika Peninsula. The local fisherman in charge was grateful to have us there and at lunch time he put a piece of wood across 2 trestles to create a make-shift table for us on which to enjoy our noodles - which 2 sisters staying with us in the House had had the foresight to prepare and bring for the House-volunteers. I was so hungry by then that this simple meal was a feast fit for a king!

Looking across the bay on this glorious sunny day, the view was as pretty as any you might wish to see, so difficult to comprehend the sight the Tsunami must have presented on 3.11, causing the devastation behind me.

Remarks: D.A, from England, contributing for 3 weeks in Japan. 2weeks at JEN Head Quoters, 1week in Ishinomaki.

*Share your experience with us.  
Send your message to: info@jen-npo.org

===
For inquiries (in English)
Sludge Removal Volunteer click here
===


September 27, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake, Volunteer Infomarion |

09/08/2011

Call for volunteers in September

Over 2700 volunteers have participated in JEN’s activities so far!

With those support, we were able to remove debris and sludge at Watanoha and Oshika area, distribute relief supplies to temporary housing, and provide lunch and dinner to those residents working to clean up their homes.

Presently, JEN is supporting not only cleaning up community space and factories with those employees to restart their business, but also supporting fishery reconstruction.

We can all support those people to make a first step to regain their livelihoods and be optimistic about the future again.

Please see below for details of volunteering in September. It has changed that volunteers joining volunteering for their first time need to apply for their own insurance.

Thank you very much for your support.

<Terms and conditions>
1. Transportation to and from Ishinomaki must be organized by the volunteers.

2. Volunteers will work and lodge in groups.

3. Volunteers need to bring a sleeping bag, food and drinks for their consumption, work clothes (rubber boots, rubber gloves, long sleeve T-shirt and trousers).

4. Volunteers need to be covered by volunteering insurance.

<Schedule>
Time and meeting point may change due to local situation. Please check our website before departure for any changes. Thank you for your cooperation.

※Please note that the meeting point differs on Wednesdays (arriving on the previous day) and Saturdays (arriving in the morning).

※As the office is small, there are no space for the volunteers to stay and wait. Please assemble approx 5 minutes before the meeting time.

※If the application does not reach the quota, the application will be open for volunteering. Please ask individually. The application will be closed once we have 20 volunteers.

◆Every Wednesday
(Application deadline: 5pm, 1 week prior to participation date)

September 14, 21, and 28

Meeting point: Outside of JEN Ishinomaki Office (※)

Meeting time: 5:45pm, previous day (Tuesday).

★The orientation will be held after assembling. Volunteers will be sent to the accommodation after orientation (leaving 6pm).

※Address: SASADENBILL 201, 3-13 Isenba, Ishinomaki City (5 minutes walk from JR Ishinomaki Station)

◆Every Saturday
(Application deadline: 5pm, 1 week prior to participation date)

September 10, 17, and 24

Meeting point: Prefabricated building next to Senshu Univ. (former JEN Office)(※)

Meeting time: 9am, Saturday.

★Orientation will be held after assembling. Volunteers will move to work areas after orientation.

※Address: 284-1 Minamizakai Shinmito, Ishinomaki City (1 minute walk from main gate of Ishinomaki Senshu Univ.)

<Accommodation>
JEN Watanoha Accommodation

Address: 48-2 Watanoha aza Yamazaki, Ishinomaki City

※If number of volunteers reach 20 quota, prefabricated building next to Senshu Univ.
(284-1 Minamizaki Shinmito, Ishinomaki City)

<Work details>
◆Debris and sludge removal at house (cleaning up debris, sludge, mud, trash, furniture submerged in water brought by the tsunami)

◆Distribution of relief supplies to temporary housings,

◆Supporting fishery reconstruction activities

◆Cleaning up streams, shrines, and parks

And, any other work necessary.

Work may change due to supporting needs.

Thank you for your understanding.

<Additional information>
◆JEN will contact volunteers by email or phone to confirm application of volunteers.

◆Application will be closed once we reach the quota.

◆Minimum activity period is 1 day. Weekday activities are welcome.

◆Volunteering activities are closed on Tuesdays.

◆Please contact JEN for continuous volunteering.

◆There is a possibility that work will be cancelled in case of rain.

<Volunteering insurance>
It is mandatory to join the Volunteering Insurance.

Please apply at your nearest Japan National Council of Social Welfare. Once applied, it is valid until end of March 2012.

For details → 「hp_eng.pdf」をダウンロード

Application form →  「application_eng.doc」をダウンロード

Please contact volunteer@jen-npo.org for inquiries.

September 8, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake, Volunteer Infomarion |

08/26/2011

“Autumn Is Just Around The Corner” From Oshika Peninsula

It has been 6 months since the Earthquake and Tsunami that struck Japan.

JEN, has been holding regular “Ochakko Nomi” or Tea Drinking parties since August 21st inside the meeting rooms at the temporary dwelling areas of Oshika Peninsula.

Jen is hoping that the people who recently moved into their houses there manage to communicate and share their experiences with the other residents, and a new strong-bonded community filled with laughter flourishes.

How to make this small village alive the same way projects like the “Community Space” in the City of Ishimaki? Every day Jen goes around the peninsula to listen to the voice of its inhabitants and their opinions about this matter.

To get to the Oshika Peninsula, we have to cross the bridge that connects the peninsula and the mainland while driving along the beautiful coast .

Right after we cross, there is an incredible view that jumps into our eyes.

We take a look at the mainland, and although it is low tide time, the level of the sea water is very high.

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The road that goes along the coast looks like this all the way long. For the people of the Oshika Peninsula this is their real “lifeline”. And so is for us. We are aware of the dangers that await us; the road could crumble if the weather suddenly changes or if an aftershock occurs. But we are decided to go. Even now, 5 months after the disaster.

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A small beach swallowed by the high tide.
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Autumn is just around the corner...

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August 26, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/25/2011

Unseasonable Lavenders

                                                           Dsc_0329_low

It was almost September. Unseasonable lavenders are giving off faint and tender fragrance which you can recognize from 10 meters away.

There are queues of crane trucks and lorries but few pedestrians.

The town remains stopped ever since “that day”.

Plant is taking roots. We firmly believe that the town will come to life and liven up soon again in near future.

August 25, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/23/2011

“Ojakko Nomi” from Oshika Peninsula

 Up to the end of September, we are close to ending aid distribution.

JEN, going forward, give research for picking up even tiny demands from people who live in temporary dwelling area, and continue developing long term supporting activities for them based on their opinion.

This is the first time that people get together and talk about their live there.
It is called “Ojakko Nomi” in the temporary dwelling area at Oshika Peninsula.

“Ojakko Nomi” in Ishinomaki is that getting together in neighbours to enjoy chatting with tea, sweets and pickles.

<Photo: Lounge chat room in the temporary dwelling area.>
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<Photo: Everyone is sitting in a ring and enjoying “Ojakko Nomi”.>
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People, who moved into this temporary dwelling area, came from different peripheral districts.   Approximately half of the residents attended the “Ojakko Nomi”.

“It is the first time to meet with everyone like this” said grannies.   They performed singing and dancing each other with showing a bit of shyness.

It has been one month since they moved into here, and people have gradually settled.   However, they still clearly remember about the earthquake and the living in evacuation shelters, and seldom talk about stories of those days.   Despite of the facts, “Ojakko Nomi” is a kind of trigger to put them in a positive state, and they started giving their opinion such as…
“We had better organise a neighborhood association.”
“We need some rules for living here”
“We would like to have a manual labour something like needlework together”

When JEN left the place, they gave greetings that, “When will you come next time? What shall we do for next “Ojakko Nomi” and sounded like looking forward to JEN’s next visit already.

August 23, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

08/10/2011

Call for volunteers from July to September.

More than 1700 people participated in JEN’s activity as a volunteer.

We were able to remove mud and sludge in Watanoha Area and Oshika Area, distribute relief supplies to temporary house, and provide warm meal every lunch and dinner for the people cleaning up their houses covered with mud, with support from many people.

Large area was devastated by tsunami.

Thank you to all volunteers coming from all over Japan, we look for precious items from piles of sludge, and share the joy with those owners when we find them.

To encourage positive thinking of Tohoku people to go back to regular life, we are looking forward for your support.

Please see below for details of volunteer call from July to September.

Thank you very much for your support.

<Terms and conditions>
1.Transportation to come to Ishinomaki must be organized by the volunteers
2.Volunteers will work and lodge in groups.
3.Volunteers need to bring a sleeping bag, food and drinks for their consumption, work clothes (rubber boots, rubber gloves, long sleeve T-shirt and trousers).

<Schedule>
Time and meeting point may change due to local situation. Please check our website before departure for any changes. Thank you for your cooperation.

※Please note that the meeting point differs on Wednesdays (arriving the day before) and Saturdays (arriving in the morning).

※As the office is small, there are no space for the volunteers to stay and wait. Please assemble approx 5 minutes before the meeting time.

※If the application does not reach the quota, the application will be open for volunteering. Please ask individually. The application will be closed once we have 20 volunteers.

Every Wednesday (Application deadline: 5pm, 1 week prior to participation date)
July 20, 27, August 3, 8 10, 17, 24, August 24, 31, September 7, 14, 21, and 28.
Meeting point: Outside of JEN Ishinomaki office(※)
Meeting time: Previous day (Tuesday) at 5:45pm.

★The Orientation will be held after assembling. Volunteers will be sent to the Rest House after the orientation (leaving 6pm).
※Address: SASADENBILL201, 3-13 Isenba, Ishinomaki City (5 minutes walk from JR Ishinomaki Station)

Every Saturday (Application deadline: 17pm, 1 week prior to participation date)
July 23, 30, August 6, 13, 20, 27, September 3, 10, 17, and 24.
Meeting point: Prefabricated building next to Senshu Univ. (former JEN Office)(※)
Meeting Time: Saturday 9am

★Orientation will be held after assembling. Volunteers will move to work areas after the Orientation.
※Address: 284-1 Minamizakai Shinmito, Ishinomaki City (1 minute walk from main gate of Ishinomaki Senshu Univ.

<Accommodation>
JEN Watanoha House
Address: 48-2 Watanoha aza Yamazaki, Ishinomaki City
※If number of volunteers reached 20 quota, prefabricated building next to Senshu Univ. (284-1 Minmizakai Shinmito, Ishinomaki City).

<Work Description>
◆Mud and sludge removal at individual house (removing mud, sludge, trash, furniture affected by water)
◆Support distributing relief supplies to temporary house.
◆Support fishery reconstructure activities.
◆Cleaning up streams, shrines, and parks

And, any other work necessary.
Work may change due to supporting needs. Thank you for your understanding.

<Other Information>
◆JEN will contact volunteers by email or phone to confirm application of volunteers.
◆Application will be closed once we reach quota.
◆Minimum activity period is 1 day. Weekday activities are welcome.
◆Volunteering activities are closed on Tuesdays.
◆Please contact JEN for continuous volunteering.
◆There is a possibility that work will be cancelled in case of rain.

<Volunteering Insurance>
It is mandatory to join the Volunteering Insurance. Until August, JEN will look after application and cost of joining Natural Disaster Plan A.
Please look after your own Volunteering Insurance application after September at Japan National Council of Social Welfare. Once applied, it is valid until end of March 2012.

Application Form →「application_eng.doc」をダウンロード

Please contact  volunteer@jen-npo.org  for any question.

August 10, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/26/2011

【Dispatch of volunteers】 At Higashihama in Oshika Hanto

Period: 7/15/2011-7/21/2011
Total participants: 2059 volunteers

Activity report at Higashihama in Oshika Hanto, Ishinomaki City.

JEN has been involved with the people living in the area in many ways, ranging from distributing relief supplies to holding a doll making workshop in Higashihama Elementary School. This time, JEN supported preparing oyster farming, which is one of Higashihama’s major industry.
 
Usually, oviposition of oysters start at the beginning of August, but since the sea temperature is rising this year, oviposition started 2 weeks earlier. This meant that we need to work on the preparation immediately. Also, the fishermen could not do their regular work, as they had to clean the fishing grounds messed up by rubbles caused by the tsunami.

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Scallops are used to attach oyster larva on farming. We make a hole in the scallop, and put a wire through it. Stack them in layers and put it back in to the sea. The scallops got covered up with mud by the tsunami, so we started with cleaning up the scallops one by one.

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<photo: Piles of scallops to be used for oyster farming>

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Next, we put a wire thorough the scallop.

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<photo: We also ask the current situations of Higashihama to a mother living in Higashihama while we work.>

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<photo: This is 1 set, with approx 74 scallops in a wire.>

Each oyster farming fishermen makes approx 1,000 of them in 1 season.
This operation is done usually in April, but we are trying to complete them by the beginning of August to make it before oviposition.

==
We are still calling for mud and sludge removal volunteers.
For more details, click here!
*For those of you who have volunteered in JEN, please send us your feedback!
Send your messages to: info@jen-npo.org (Title: “Tale from a volunteer (date of participation, name)
==
====
For donation…

↓↓↓↓↓↓↓
○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
 
Account name: JEN

 
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.


○Credit card: http://bit.ly/c7R8iA

 
Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.
For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone: 03-5225-9352, contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

July 26, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/25/2011

【Community Space】 “Nakayashikissa” at Nakayashiki

-Rice-cake making party on the last day of soup kitchen-

We have been holding the soup kitchen at Nakayashiki since April 7, after 3 weeks from the tsunami.

July 22 was the last day of that soup kitchen. JEN had been preparing for meals at several places in Ishinomaki City, but it has come to the end at once.

164 volunteers participated in the soup kitchen, and served 24,967 meals. Since this was the last day, we held a rice-cake making party with the volunteer team in Nakayashiki and the people in the community.

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<photo: People in the community gathered around the taiko drumming of the children.>

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<photo: Together… 1, 2, 3…!>
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<photo: Mothers put kinako, seeweed, natto, and bean paste (anko) on the rice-cake>

After the rice-cake making, Mr. Abe, who provided us the “space” and gave us the opportunity to start the soup kitchen, looked back the 4 months.

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“…it past 4 months from that day, and I still feel like I’m dreaming, but we were able to come this far…

…we had the devastating tsunami… but thanks to tsunami, I was able to meet everybody. I never had much opportunity to talk with my neighbors before, but we got to know and help each other under tough conditions.

…tsunami was not a good thing, but it didn’t give us only negative influences. I guess it may depends on how you think…

…of course it is not happy at all being swept up by the tsunami, but… you know what I mean? Men can keep working hard if they hear the happy laughter of women participating in the soup kitchen. If women get depressed, men get depressed. I really think that we were just lucky to be kept alive.

When we became the victim of the tsunami, we got lost on how we were to live, but thanks to JEN and the volunteers from all over the world who removed the sludge and debris, it made us feel that we might be able to carry on.

Hereafter, we will look forward to our future. Thank you very much for your kind support.”

The space which was used for soup kitchen will change its name to “Community Space” and all kinds of activities, according to the needs, will be held. The space will be managed by the people in the community and JEN, together.

The lifeline is still not completely restored after 5 months from the earthquake in Kamikama area, where Nakayashiki is located. As a result, there are many people who are living in the 2nd floor of their house by receiving food distribution from the City. This is one of the characteristics of this earthquake, many people evacuating at their home. The population of this area became less than 1/4 (including evacuees) after the earthquake occurred.

“March 11 was the worst day. It can’t be worse. We’ll try our best.” says Mrs. Abe. JEN will support the community to get activated once again.

JEN is wishing that the Community Space will develop as a space where people feel relieved and secured, and as a base for supporting activities towards the neighbors. JEN will go forward step by step with the people in the community.
The long way to reconstruction has just begun. Thank you very much for your continuous strong support.

P1020209

====
For donation…
↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657 
Account name: JEN

 
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.

○Credit card: http://bit.ly/c7R8iA

 
Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone: 03-5225-9352, contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

Thank you for your support.

July 25, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

07/11/2011

【Mental healthcare for children】 Workshop by Cirque du Soleil

On June 17, a gym class workshop was held at Ishinomaki Kita High School, coached by the performers of Cirque du Soleil “ZED”. The students were fascinated with the performers from all over the world, Brazil, Russia, and America.

Funakoshi Elementary School in Ogatsu-cho, which was washed away by the tsunami, is using one of the facilities of the high school to restart the class.

The morning workshop was for the 43 students of Ishinomaki Kita High School.

P1000913 
<Photo: Communicating in circles! Ice break!>

Next, they broke up into 3 groups: juggling, acrobat, and dance.

Rimg3529
<Photo: Pretending to be an animal, tiger vs. panther.>

“Don’t be shy, just have fun!” said the performer.
The students’ movement gradually became smooth.
The afternoon workshop was for the 14 students of Funakoshi Elementary School.

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<Photo: Students started to get relaxed by the funny performance.>
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<Photo: Dancing! Let’s copy the movement of the performers!>

Reviewing the workshop, a teacher of Ishinomaki Kita High School said, “The students are commuting from the devastated area, but since our school building was safe, there was no support until now. We are very happy that we were able to see the students’ smiling face after such a long time from the earthquake.”

There are many ways in supporting, but we interacted and shared laughter together. Once again, we were able to realize that we can connect with each other if everybody gets participated, even though we speak different languages.

Long time is required for mental healthcare. It is very important to continue believing the power made up when a person and a person encounters.

====
For donation…

↓↓↓↓↓↓↓
○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
 
Account name: JEN
 
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.


○Credit card: http://bit.ly/c7R8iA

 
Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down menu.
For other inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (Phone: 03-5225-9352, Contact: Tomita or Asawakawa).

July 11, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

06/01/2011

About volunteering

First of all, we would like to thank all of you that participated in our volunteering schemes during the Golden Week!

With your cooperation, we were able to remove sludge and remnants from homes in Watariha and Oshika neighborhoods. At the soup kitchen, we were able to provide warm meals for lunch and dinner, everyday since the start, to those residents working to clean up their homes.

The damage extends to a considerable area.

Nevertheless, it is for the volunteers that gather from all over the world that we can share precious moments. For instance that day when one of the volunteers searched for something in amidst of debris in a destroyed house, that made the owner full of joy.

We can all help those people regain their livelihoods and be optimistic about the future.

The instructions for the recruiting of volunteers are the following.

Your contribution is essential in the reconstruction process for the affected people. We urgently call for your assistance.

<Conditions of participation>
1. Accommodate transportation to the site. (Assembly and dismissal at the site)
2. Be ready to stay at a common accommodation with others. 
3. Accommodate sleeping gears, food and water, appropriate garments and gears for the labor work.

<Recruiting schedule>
Assembly place and time are subject to change upon local needs. Please make extra care to check for any changes, before departure, through our website. We apologize in advance for any inconveniences caused.

◆Starting every Wednesday (Monday at noon is the deadline for application for the volunteering session starting that Wednesday)
June 1st, June 8th, June 15th, June 22nd, June 29th
Assembly place: JEN Office (*)
Assembly time: 18:00 of the day before (Tuesday)
★After the meet up, we will hold an orientation, then we will take you to the accommodation.
★closed on every Tuesday

◆Starting every Saturday (Thursday at 17:00 is the deadline for application for the volunteering session starting that Saturday) 
June 4th, June 11th, June 18th, June 25th
Assembly place: JEN Office (*)
Assembly time: 9:00 that day
★After the meet up, we will hold an orientation, then we will take you to the site.
★closed on every Tuesday

Address of the Office  : 284-1  Minamisakai Shinmito Ishinomaki City (a one-minute walk from Ichinomaki Senshu University south gate)

<Accommodation>
JEN Watariha Accommodation
48-2 Yamazaki Watariha, Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture

<Number of people>
20

<Details of volunteering work>
★Removal of sludge and debris from houses (clean-up of sludge, trash, furniture submerged in water brought by the tsunami)
★Distribution of goods to homes or pre-hab housings
Contents will change according to the local circumstances. We ask for your understanding.

For details, you can download the form 「call_for_volunteers_sludge_removal_aftergw.docx」をダウンロード .
You can download the application form 「application_form.doc」をダウンロード .
For any queries, please email volunteer@jen-npo.org

Please post the application form to JEN Tokyo Headquarters at
Daini Tobundo Bldg 7F, 2-16 Agebacho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
162-0824
or fax it to 03-5225-9357.

June 1, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/30/2011

Tale from a volunteer 5: A friend in need is a friend indeed

It Was very good to have gone as a volunteer to Ihinomaki on the last time, i felt very good to help out people there, but i think that i have to help more Japan, Because it is not enough whatever i do, Japan has given me a lot since i came here in 1990.

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I'll do my best to go again and do all i can to comfort the people out their :< a friend in need is a friend indeed>.

As a Moroccan in Japan and on behalf of all Moroccans i extend my condolences to the family of the one who lost their lives in the Great earthquake of March the 11th.
033

Once again i thank the team JEN for giving me the opportunity to join their volunteer work in Ishinomaki.
Looking forward to serve you and Japan.

Best regards

Idrissi Moulay Omar

046

Share your experience with us. 
Send your message to: info@jen-npo.org

===
For inquiries (in English)

Sludge Removal Volunteer click here

Soup Kitchen Volunteer click here
===


May 30, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake, Volunteer Infomarion |

05/21/2011

Tale from a volunteer 4: To Care and To Be Cared

~ That care is all you need. Let’s go volunteering! ~ by K.K.
5211

Nationality, age, profession, sex… It has been truly an exciting experience to live together with such a diverse team. In fact, the team got on very quickly despite the diversity.

Our work consisted of different needs. Mud removal, hay removal, roof tile removal, cleaning houses, transporting various things… None of them were easy task. And yet when I visited the affected people’s homes, all of them were so positive and strong, each holding his/her emotions for successful reconstruction.

We were told to accommodate food by ourselves, but I thought relying even a bit on local supermarkets could be a good idea, in Ishinomaki City. Supermarkets and restaurants are slowing reopening, and goods are lining up the once empty shelves. I believe using money locally is one way of assisting. On another note, receiving food from local residents is important too.


‘To care, and to be cared’ - eventually leads to a friendly environment in which all of us can work together.

  During the golden week (a week-long holiday), due to unexpected costs such as huge congestion with pouring volunteers in the area, some had to refuse accepting volunteers. Compared to the Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, with the aid of the internet and various social networking sites, I think people no longer see‘3.11’ as somebody else’s tragedy. I am one of them.

  It seems that more and more companies are becoming more flexible in regards to volunteer holidays. I hope that this will not end up as a temporary change, but will continue for half a year, one year, two years, to let us not fade the global attention and pursue continual assistance.

  “I have never done ‘volunteering’. I don’t know where to start, nor how to start!”
There must be a lot of people sharing this anxiety. If one of the many of us who have done volunteering could give them a little push

“ That care is all you need. Let’s go volunteering! “
then, the circle of assistance would expand…

5212

We appreciate your kind support.
Donation by credit card is possible from here.

Thank you very much for your cooperation!

May 21, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/20/2011

Tale from a volunteer 3: Sludge Removal Volunteer in Oshika

My first experience with post-disaster volunteering - by K

52021 During the Golden Week from May 6th to 7th, for the first time in my life I participated in voluntary work.

The first day, the six of us volunteers were at Kugunari neighborhood in the northern part of Ishinomaki City, helping out with cleaning a fishing boat reparation factory .

According to the factory owner, this coastline was famous for its ‘crying sand’ - sand that when you walked on that makes ‘crying’ sounds. But now the beach itself is miserably gone in its entirety.

We found a 4-ton truck that seemed to be totally worn out, for some reason a local bus, a tractor completely buried in sludge. The ground was filled sludge blended with screws from boats, various reparation tools, nails, screws, bits of glass, and slates.

Our work consisted of removing nails, screws and bits of glass that could flat a tire, and it took us one whole day to work on an area of about two tatami mats (approximately 2*2 squared meters). The old man wanted to test the truck so we helped him with that, and surprisingly the truck began running even though it must have been under water when the tsunamis came. The winch on the truck therefore started working, and we were able to pull out the tractor that was buried deep in mud. I cannot forget the man’s contentment.

52022 The second day, we helped clean up the ground floor of a home in watanoha neighborhood.

The two days work has completely worn me out, as I do not regularly exercise, by the end of the volunteering weekend, my legs, back, shoulders and arms were so sore.

I’m not back to office, my body is still sore, but whenever I realize this, I feel that I could somehow share the pain with those affected in the North.

PS. There was a young man from Switzerland, who took a long leave from work (unpaid!) and came all the way to Japan on his own to participate in volunteer work. I could not say anything, but was just in awe with admiration and respect.

In this tiny country where tens of thousands of the fellow Japanese are in grave emergency, I believe that it is not only about sending warm messages to the area and the people, but it is about time to actually help reconstruct their livelihoods.
===

We appreciate your kind support.
Donation by credit card is possible from here.
Thank you very much for your cooperation!

May 20, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

[Soup Kitchen Volunteers, Team 5] Kazuma disrict, making over 200 meals everyday!

52011

Until May 9th, we had one team cooking, but from the 10th, we now have two teams. This allows us to cook more than 400 meals per day.

It’s now Kazuma district that we are doing the soup kitchen assistance. This assistance will end someday (even though we just started working here), but this place eventually should become a point in the community where people can pop by!

Recruiting volunteers for soup kitchen.

We appreciate your kind support.
Donation by credit card is possible  from here.
Thank you very much for your cooperation!

May 20, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/18/2011

Unprecedented natural disaster- by Keiko Kiyama

"Unprecedented natural disaster"-what does that mean? - by Keiko Kiyama (Board/Secretary General)

It is often said that this is the triple suffering with Eastern Japan massive earthquake, Tsunami and nuclear reactor accident.

"Unprecedented" can be meant by truly resulted with this triple suffering.

NGO staff, business people, scholars, government officials, politicians, and media people, adults and children..., let's do something which we never have done before.

2 months has past after the earthquake.  With the victims, all the supporters have been working so hard, and everybody is quite exhausted. However, nobody is taking a rest at all.

The reason is...just because this was a "unprecedented" natural disaster.
Everyone has been working hard up to his/her limit. 

It is not lack of the effort, but the size was too big to cope with in a short time.
The victim's environment ( QOL) at the sight is extremely hard.  But this is the real fact. 
That's why we have to keep working as much as we can, although it takes for a long time.
If you are considering any support, it will be never too late; if you are hesitating to take an action, it will be truly "too late".

Even it got a little late, important thing is "starting right now".

Let's start moving with "emergency act" in your heart.  Your act will be excessing your moral.
We have been expecting the declaration of "emergency act" by Japanese government for last 2 months. But we can not wait any longer.

Let's take an action which might excess your own moral, considering always for the best of the victims.
Our action; what you can do at where you are will change the victims' situation.

May 18, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/17/2011

Tale from a volunteer 2: Could you help with our house too? By P.F.

From April 23rd until May 10th, I participated the volunteering scheme, and just got back from Ishinomaki City yesterday. I was able to have a very meaningful time there.

5171 Thanks to the house we were staying at Watanoha, the volunteers from all corners of Japan were able to get along smoothly and very well. Communication went well, I believe, with the local residents of the affected area.

I got involved in cleaning two houses of this one family, whose three houses that they own were all submerged in the tsunamis. The owner of the properties were so content that we helped cleaning his houses, that the first house that we cleaned, from the next day he lent it to a friend of his that was falling into depression at an evacuation center nearby. As we were working in his houses, gradually the neighbors started talking to us, and began asking us whether we could help clean their houses too. Many people served us tea, at one point during a break, us volunteers went from houses to houses to receive tea!

One of them cooked us ‘tonjiru’ (pork-based soup) and brought it all the way to our house in Watanoha. It was as if we were receiving soup kitchen, but then I really enjoyed the conversation we had with the local residents during that dinner.

Some told me that they were worried about asking volunteers to help them, or that despite them calling for help nobody came to them. These people were beginning to reveal their inner thoughts with us.

One old lady that I talked a lot with, when I didn’t come around to see her for a few days, came to visit me a little worriedly, saying “I want to ask you for some help, but maybe you’re busy…”. There were many ‘little stories’ of the community, such as the exact borderline of the dumping ground, or individual family’s problems etc. I thought it was important to keep the balance and build a trusting relationship with them.

5172 Because I was luckily able to stay there for a long time, I was able to experience many things. In order for short-term volunteers to come in and work there easily, and for them to be received by the local community smoothly, the trusting relationship we build with the local community is essential. On this point, I thought JEN’s community-based policy was very useful and effective.

JEN staff working on site were all hard workers. I thought Mr Nimura would eventually pass out from exhaustion, but he actually seems tough than he looks!

Soon Golden Week (a week-long holiday at the end of April) will be over, and local needs will alter as time passes, I would really like to do what I can to assist the people there.

I am thinking of joining the volunteering scheme again from May 22nd until 26th.

I will bike all the way up there again! 

==========
We appreciate your kind support.

Donation by credit card is possible  from here.

Thank you very much for your cooperation!

May 17, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

05/07/2011

A Voice from the volunteer 1: Sludge Busting with JEN

"A Gaijin Point of View" - By GM (UK resident of Japan)

I worked for JEN in Ishinomaki as a “sludge-buster” on April 26 and 27, just before the Golden Week rush. I approached them because of their reputation as a zero-waste, grassroots organization that—in the words of the old Heineken jingle—“reaches places that other NGOs do not reach.”

Tents_low


I expected to be sleeping in my tent in the grounds of Ishinomaki along with the other volunteers, but a day or two before I arrived, JEN had managed to rent an old house just outside the tsunami zone. As a result, the JEN volunteers were lucky enough to have light, heat and even a functioning toilet. Given the physically demanding nature of the work, it was a blessing to have a place where we could relax and sleep in comfort at the end of the day. (At the campsite, it had been so cold, windy and rainy, that many volunteers had been forced to sleep sitting up in their cars.)

Jenhouse_low


My fellow volunteers were an interesting and diverse bunch. There was an Afghan-born, German-educated semiconductor researcher, resident in Japan since 1991, who had driven up with his son and several of his university classmates; a German-Swiss web designer, who had taken unpaid leave from his job to fly to Japan to help out; and a Hebrew-speaking Japanese photographer who had ridden all the way up from Tokyo on his scramble bike.

Bigjunk_low

People in Ishinomaki who need their houses or land cleared up submit a “needs form” to the volunteer center. The center then matches their needs with the available pool of registered volunteer labor. While I was there our allotted task was to tidy up a field at the furthest reach of the tsunami. It was a hard and time-consuming task. It took about a day to clear up all the big, heavy items of rubbish—doors, windows, beams and so forth.

Wara_low

It then took a further day to clear up the “wara”—the dried grass that covered most of the field. There were tangled clumps under the trees and hedges at the edges of the field. The best way to collect it was to get down on all fours and roll it up like a smelly great carpet. It was hard and dirty work, but we all felt good when the job was done.

It is estimated that the tsunami covered an area of 433,000 square kilometers, so volunteers will be needed to help with the clean up for years to come.

Thanks for your contribution, GM-san.

Share your experience with us.
Send your message to: info@jen-npo.org

===
For inquiries (in English)

Sludge Removal Volunteer click here

Soup Kitchen Volunteer click here
===


May 7, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake, Volunteer Infomarion |

04/28/2011

From the second batch of soup kitchen volunteers: Cherry blossom party (Ohanami)

On 25 April, the soup kitchen volunteers enjoyed the Japanese tradition of dining by the cherry blossoms. The food on the menu were udon noodles, rice cakes, and sweets made of red beans.

They were invited by Nakajima Inc. who is providing their premises for the soup kitchen.
The cherry blossom tree does look very pretty.

Ishinomaki_04255

April 28, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |

04/27/2011

Too Slow Support in the Field -by Keiko Kiyama

- by Keiko Kiyama (Board/Secretary General)


I, once again, would like to express my condolences to the deceased and the bereaved families and my sympathy to those hit by the earthquake and tsunami.

As you may know from the website of JEN, we first started our operation in Sendai, and then, shifted to Ishinomaki to support people affected by the disaster. I would like to write blog articles related to Great East Japan Earthquake for the time being.

Comparing with what I have seen in the field of emergency assistance overseas, the emergency responses here keep me surprising. First off, speed of support is too slow. Off course, I must admit that we are also a part of such slow support activities. But, to be honest, it is unacceptable to see evacuees being relocated from classrooms in a school to a gymnasium or volunteers still providing soup kitchen to evacuees at the moment when whole 6 weeks have passed in Ishinomaki.

This is neither criticism to the government nor to the local municipality. Efforts by local municipality staff, who are also affected by the disaster, are amazing. It is not my intention to say ‘do it harder’ to those staff who are already working so hard.

But, even so, why don’t things work fine there?

One thing is scale of damages. Damages reached too vast areas in too devastating scale. Much im