東北産を買おう。食べよう。 東北に行こう。 東北の経済活動を応援します。最近始めたプロジェクト『おちゃっこ隊』の活動も紹介しています。



To my friends around the world

Earthquakes in March and after
As you know, huge earthquakes and tsunamis hit Japan on 11 March this year.
It was a wordless disaster. Almost 20,000 people passed away or are still missing.
Even more than 9 months past, the Tohoku area has not yet recovered at all.
Good news are some areas have been cleaned up, and some shops and factories
have restarted. However the scars left on the land are so deep, which shows us
how big the damages were. So many people lost their houses, jobs, as well as
someones special. They are now really struggling to live both materially and
mentally. Also, there are quite a few who cannot move forward, even come out
from their home, with some reasons.

After the crisis, I’ve been asking myself what I can do except donations.
The biggest trigger for me was the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.
Fukushima, which is now unfortunately the most famous city in the world, is
actually very special place to me. Although I’ve never lived there, I’ve eaten so
many Fukushima products since I was a kid. I could say I was grown up by
Fukushima. So I wanted to do something for Fukushima as well as whole Tohoku.

I started “Buy Tohoku products” action in March, to support their economics,
introducing shops and events via blog, as I could not find such a website at that
My first volunteer visit to Tohoku was at the end of April. Before getting there
I thought I might find something I could do when I saw it myself. But the reality
was thousand times sad than I had seen on TV and newspapers.
It would definitely take so long time for them to recover. Although I don’t know
how worth my visits are, I just have to go, I decided. Since then I’ve been the
sites once or twice a month. Sometimes I joined a “cafe” volunteer tour, which
serves hot drinks and biscuits to make people feel at ease, and sometimes
rubbles/mud cleaning-up volunteer too.

My project
Recently my friends and I started our own project, to make face-to-face supports
at the same place continuously. Volunteer tours I joined were quite often one-off
events. It was a good opportunity to get many places, but I never know how the
people I’ve met are now.
I wanted to see how they and their circumstances were changing. I just wanted
to leave a tiny promise to them “I would come back to see you again!”

The aim of our project is to assist people to get back to normal lives. As
mentioned, many people don’t have enough courage to go ahead. There
are also some who unfortunately got used to receive something for free and
lost their work motivation.
However, since supports are getting decreased and will be terminated sooner or
later sometime in the future, it is now important to help those people to lead
more independent lives, rather than just providing things to them.

“Working together” is our project theme. We offer tiny opportunities for people
to come out, and to get them together which help them to build their community.
For example, we don’t take a soup kitchen which we cook and serve, but we cook
together with the residents.

By visiting them every month, we would like to make a good relationship with
them little by little. With listening to their needs, ideally we wish to make work
opportunities for them to earn some money.

We mainly visit temporary housings in Onagawa, where is placed in middle
of a mountain where no shops nearby. The elderly people without cars have
difficulties to go shopping.

Our activities
-- As greetings we delivered vegetables inSeptember.
-- October: Our first organized event “pot dish” party.
-- November: Christmas wreath & sweet potato pie making,
-- December: A present draw is planned.
And... our project continues to the next year, even in winter.


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Places I’ve been since April
-- Minami-Sanriku (April)
-- Iwaki (June)
-- Onagawa (June)
-- Kesen-numa, Ishinomaki, Onagawa and Higashi-Matsushima (July)
-- Ishinomaki (August)
-- Onagawa (Septemeber)
-- Onagawa (October)
-- Kesen-numa (October)
-- Oshika (November)
-- Onagawa (November)
-- Kesen-numa (November)
-- Fukushima(December)
-- Onagawa (December)

Current Tohoku
Below are Onagawa in September. Rubbles have been removed but nothing has
changed. Many places in Tohoku coast area are still like this, and needs supports.

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