一般財団法人 連帯 東北・西南 RENTAI TOHOKU-SEINAN

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2013.05.22 15:53

Curry Event at Hiraizumi Town Hall (May 21st, 2013 Hiraizumi Town Hall, Nishi-iwai County, Iwate Prefecture)

On Tuesday, May 21st, we provided Tomodachi Curry® at Hiraizumi Town Hall in Nishi-iwai County, Iwate Prefecture free of charge to encourage the staff.

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Mr. Sugawara, the mayor of Hiraizumi, started supporting Rikuzentakata soon after the earthquake in cooperation with the cities Ichinoseki and Fujisawa by setting up a joint support headquarters and providing vehicles, large quantities of water and food, manpower, and accepting evacuees. He was very supportive of our cause for the activities when we provided the curry to the staff at Rikuzentakata City Hall in April, and helped us at the venue from before noon in between his official duties.

In addition to the support activities in the coastal area after the earthquake, the staff at Hiraizumi Town Hall went through a lot and put great effort toward the World Heritage registration of Chuson-ji. With our relationship with Mayor Sugawara going back to the early days of our activities, we decided to provide Tomodachi Curry® free of charge to the mayor and all his staff to show our appreciation.

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After finishing the curry event in Kesennuma in the afternoon the day before, we did our preparation at Minami Exchange Center to minimize the work to be done at the venue. Ms. Lee, who used to manage a restaurant in Roppongi joined us from Tokyo and helped us, and thanks to her efficient assistance we were able to finish the preparation in a relatively short period of time.

As with the staff at Kesennuma Social Welfare Council, it was good to know that the everyone at the Town Hall were also looking forward to the event. They greeted us with a big tent so that we could hold the event even in rain, and also with a lot of chairs and tables so that everyone could eat together.

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We began our preparation as soon as we arrived at the venue, and by the time we started adding the spices, the Town Hall staff came one after another to see how we were doing, intrigued by the smell of the spice. Some of them even lent us a hand with the cooking and was a great help. In fact, the mayor Mr. Sugawara also came to see us a few times and was checking the process of the preparation.

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Mr. Isao Aoki, the president of Yugen Kaisha Aoki Shoji, lent us a professional-use teppan-yaki frying griddle for baking naan to speed up the preparation. As with the day before, Mr. Aoki himself brought the griddle and helped us prepare them. In addition, Mr. Baba also came with his staff to help us, so the preparation went smoothly. Mr. Baba is the president of Baba Shoten Kabushiki Kaisha and is the tenant in the factory owned by Mr. Aoki.

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From 12 noon, we started serving the curry on everyone's plates. In addition to the usual members from Senmaya and Fujisawa, Father Takahashi from Mizusawa Church also joined us in serving the curry. The weather was nice and warm, and everyone had a good time having a good talk and enjoying the curry under the tent. The curry this time was for adults so we made it spicier than usual, and it was very well received. It seems someone even had three servings.

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As the event was held in Hiraizumi Town Hall, the priests from the nearby Chuson-ji and Motsu-ji also joined us and enjoyed Tomodachi Curry®.

After dinner, we served chai made using fresh milk, provided by a dairy farmer in Senmaya. The event usually ends here, but this time, Ms. Lee who joined us from Tokyo proposed to serve one of the Korean dishes, Chijimi (Korean pancake), to the staff and others who helped us. It was meant to be what we call a "makanai", a meal just for the kitchen staff. However, as Ms. Lee came from Korea, her Chijimi was so professionally made everyone loved it, so we made them to go as snacks for the staff at the Town Hall.

After the curry event at Hiraizumi Town Hall, our Representative Director, Yasuhiko Sata appeared as a guest on a radio talk show "Asumo Sagozai" in the program "Nanohana Radio" (14:35-15:00) broadcasted in Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture and a part of Hiraizumi by FM Asmo. At the end of the talk, Sata announced the ILC (International Linear Collider) Invitation Support Walk (approx. 10 km from the entrance of Konjikido Golden Hall of Chuson-ji to Ichinoseki city center) to be held on June 1st and asked the listeners to participate in the event.

The event was reported in the Iwate Nichi-Nichi Shimbun.

Article in the Iwate Nichi-Nichi Shimbun dated May 23rd, 2013

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Categories:Staff reports

2013.05.22 15:53 admin

2013.05.21 09:24

Curry Event at Kesennuma Social Welfare Council (May 20th, 2013 Kesennuma Social Welfare Council, Miyagi Prefecture)

On Monday, May 20th, we provided Tomodachi Curry® at Kesennuma Social Welfare Council of Miyagi Prefecture free of charge to encourage the staff and volunteers.

Our Foundation has been cooperating with Kesennuma Social Welfare Council since we began our activities, and we have lent out three four-wheel-drive cars soon after the earthquake as a means of transport for the volunteers to go to the affected areas. We have also been exchanging information on temporary housing areas where the communication among the residents has become less active, trying to determine where to hold the curry events. Many of the staff and volunteers at the Council are themselves victims of the disaster, but are working hard toward recovery. We prepared and held this curry event to thank them for their efforts and also to encourage them.

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This will be the third time to provide Tomodachi Curry® at a public institution following the event at Rikuzentakata City Hall held last month in April. We were glad to know that everyone at Kesennuma Social Welfare Council looked forward to the event. They greeted us and even prepared a big tent so that we could hold the event even in rain.

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As always, we made preparations the day before to minimize the work at the venue. It was done with the kind help from the local residents at Senmaya at Minami Exchange Center, also in Senmaya, where we are kindly provided with the use of the facility every time. As Mr. Onodera, the president of the Rotary Club in Senmaya, could not participate in the event, he generously offered 20 kg of poultry free of charge. In addition, Mr. Sato who owns a dairy farm provided fresh milk, also free of charge. On the day of the event, the curry was prepared and was ready in time with the assistance from the volunteer staff.

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Ms. Lee joined us from Tokyo and helped us prepare from the day before as she understood and agreed with our cause for these activities. She has been interested in volunteering, and has also joined the activities providing food in Sanya, Tokyo. It was impressive to see her work efficiently, as she used to manage a restaurant in Roppongi.

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Mr. Isao Aoki, the president of Yugen Kaisha Aoki Shoji, lent us a professional-use teppan-yaki frying griddle for baking naan to speed up the preparation. This time, Mr. Aoki himself brought the griddle and helped us prepare them.

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Everyone enjoyed the curry under the tent, chatting, and had a good time. They also liked the chai very much, which we prepared as an after-dinner drink using the fresh milk provided by Mr. Sato. Some of them even had refills. What we can do may be small, but we hope to cooperate with Kesennuma Social Welfare Council so that their support activities could operate smoothly.

Categories:Staff reports

2013.05.21 09:24 admin

2013.04.14 12:50

Curry Event at the Rikuzentakata City Hall (April 11th, 2013 at Rikuzentakata City Hall, Iwate Prefeture)

On Thursday, April 11th, we provided Tomodachi Curry® free of charge at the Rikuzentakata City Hall in Iwate Prefecture, to support the City Hall staff.

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There has been 1,556 deaths and 218 missing (as of Dec. 31st, 2012) in Rikuzentakata City due to the Great East Japan Earthquake, suffering the most in Iwate Prefecture. After more than two long years since the disaster hit, the city is still far from making a recovery. Hearing that the staff at the City Hall has been working very hard toward recovery though they themselves are victims, but are still haunted by the feeling of despair, we planned and carried out this curry event to convey the message of gratitude and encouragement.

While Rentai Tohoku-Seinan has been holding curry events mainly at temporary housing complexes, this is the second time for us to hold an event at a public institution, following the first one in May last year at Hirota Primary School in Rikuzentakata. Our objective until now has been to encourage the residents living in temporary housings and to cheer them up, and as such we had asked the victims of the disaster to join us in preparing the curry. However, this time the objective was different, and since we only had a limited time available to arrange everything, we did preparation the day before and minimized what we had to do at the City Hall.

We prepared the curry at Minami Exchange Center in Senmaya-cho where we are kindly provided with the use of the facility every time. Even though we planned beforehand and made preparations, there were unexpected shopping, etc. happening, and as a consequence we did not have the number of staff available as scheduled. As such, we asked the local residents of Senmaya-cho to assist us.

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When we provided Tomodachi Curry® free of charge to encourage the children and their families at the sports festival held at Hirota Primary School in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture last May, we became friends with Keisuke, who is in fifth grade. From there, we went on to hold a lunch party event providing curry again on Tanabata (the day of Star Festival), Saturday, July 7th, at a nearby temporary housing complex where he lives (Temporary Housing Complex 2, Okubo, Hirota-cho, Rikuzentakata). There, we became friendly with his mother, and when we told her of the latest event, she kindly offered to help even though she was a victim herself, and came to the City Hall from early morning.

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Mr. Chiba, who owns a yakiniku (barbecue) restaurant Kakunoshin in Kawasaki-cho, came to help us with his staff Mr. Oyama from early morning as well, despite of their busy schedule with the upcoming opening of a new restaurant. Mr. Sato, the priest from Fujisawa-cho whom we are friends with, also came to help us before noon. Mr. Onodera from the Rotary Club in Senmaya-cho could not be with us on the day of the event, and so he kindly sent us free of charge 36 kg of chicken meat. There was also Marie from the U.S. who joined us after volunteering in Minamisoma, and assisted us from the day before with the preparation.

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Mr. Isao Aoki of Yugen Kaisha Aoki Shoji, lent us a professional-use teppan-yaki frying griddle to bake naan, which was very helpful and speeded up the preparation.

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In our previous curry events, we had been serving curry directly from the pot at the venue. However, because this time we had to efficiently serve within the limited amount of time available for lunch break at the City Hall, we chose to prepare the curry and naan in packages beforehand and hand them out. We couldn't pack all of the 300 servings necessary, and had to ask some people to wait. However, we were all relieved to have successfully handed out all 300 servings after about 15 minutes since our start at noon.

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Mr. Sugawara, the mayor of Hiraizumi, started supporting Rikuzentakata soon after the earthquake in cooperation with Ichinoseki and Fujisawa by setting up a joint support headquarters and providing vehicles, large quantities of water and food, man power, and accepting evacuees. He was deeply touched to see the mayor of Rikuzentakata work tirelessly for the citizens, despite having lost his wife and becoming a victim himself. With such an experience, Mr. Sugawara has been of great support to our activities, and came to help us at the venue before noon in between his official duties. We sincerely appreciate his smiles and efficient work.

The staff at our Foundation was surprised to hear from our Representative Director that we would be holding an event to comfort and encourage the City Hall staff. As the purpose of our activities is to support self-reliance, we would of course like to encourage the City Hall staff members who are all working day and night to support the self-reliance of the citizens, but our fundamental wish is for the victims themselves to swiftly recover a positive mind strong enough to join us in our activities. Our thoughts were reinforced when the City Hall staff said afterwards, "Please don't let this be a one-time event."

The curry event was reported in the Iwate Nichi-Nichi Shimbun, below.

Kitade, Noboru
Rentai Tohoku Seinan Staff

Article in the Iwate Nichi-Nichi Shimbun dated April 13th, 2013

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Categories:Staff reports

2013.04.14 12:50 admin

2013.03.12 12:19

Memorial Service for the Victims and Dedication of the Angel Statue (March 10th and 11th, 2013 at the site of Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki City, Iwate Prefecture)

On Sunday, March 10th and Monday, March 11th, 2013, we held a memorial service for the victims and a dedication ceremony of the Angel statue at the school ground site of Ishinomaki City Okawa Elementary School in Iwate Prefecture. We held this ceremony to pray for the repose of the victims' souls of the Great East Japan Earthquake two years ago, hoping that the bereaved families and those having relations with the Okawa area to take their steps forward into the future with "hope" even in the midst of "sadness".

1. Mr. Richard P. Evans and the Angel Statue

Mr. Richard P. Evans, born in 1962 in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A., is a writer known for his works on family love (http://www.richardpaulevans.com). After graduating from the University of Utah, he worked at an advertising agency, and while working there he wrote a story called "The Christmas Box" for his daughters. The story became popular with word of mouth, and with a suggestion from his friend, he self-published the work which went on to become a best seller in the U.S. Mr. Evans continues to write best sellers one after another, and besides his writing he is also active in charity work for children in distress. (In Japan, the book is published from Kodansha with the title "Kurisumasu Bokkusu (Christmas Box)".)

The statue of an angel, which is the symbolic figure in the story, did exist in the cemetery in Salt Lake City where the story is set but was destroyed by the massive flood of 1984. However, a new angel statue was dedicated by Mr. Evans on December 6th, 1994. Mr. Evans' actions were supported by many of the readers, and replicas of the Angel statue began to be placed all across the U.S. Currently, there are 116 statues in the U.S. and 1 in Canada, and the Angel statue dedicated in Japan will be the 118th Angel statue. Every year on December 6th (the day the girl in the book passed away), many grieving families and friends come together to share their sorrows of losing their children and to encourage each other.

2. Dedication of the Angel Statue to the Devastated Area

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All our staff members at the Foundation involved in the support activities have been feeling that they can hardly grasp the deep sorrow of those suffering, and have been contemplating of some way to comfort the children and others who have lost friends and families. As I was close to Mr. Evans, it came to me to dedicate the Angel statue to the devastated area, and ever since I had been looking for an appropriate site to place this statue.

3. Meeting Mr. Takeyama

I learned that the local residents of Okawa region in Ishinomaki City, where 74 children and 10 teachers of Ishinomaki City Okawa Elementary School in Iwate Prefecture have died or are missing after the Great East Japan Earthquake, were planning to build a memorial. I also read in an article on Yomiuri Shimbun (Yomiuri Online; newspaper publisher) that Mr. Ikuo Takeyama, the representative of the Kamaya Memorial Building Committee, was trying to raise funds to build a memorial beside the school. Reading this article gave me the opportunity to meet Mr. Takeyama in person.

On the day of the earthquake, Mr. Takeyama was able to escape from the disaster as he was in the Hamamatsu area for his work. However, His daughter (19 years old at the time) who had graduated from Okawa Elementary School, his wife, and his mother were struck by tsunami while they were trying to evacuate by car.

After actually visiting Okawa Elementary School and listening to his story, I came to believe that there is no other place more appropriate to place the Angel statue.

4. Preparing for the Dedication of the Angel statue to Okawa Elementary School

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Mr. Takeyama at the site before the foundation work

The site after the completion of the foundation work

Mr. Takeyama has made tremendous effort in realizing the dedication of the Angel statue at the school ground site of Okawa Elementary School, holding discussions with the school's PTA and many others involved. Thanks to his effort, we were able to receive an official approval to place the Angel statue at the school as one of the memorials.

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Import of the Angel statue was handled by our Foundation, but the foundation work and the pedestal construction, and the setting of the Angel statue were all handled free of charge with the kindness of Mr. Isao Aoki, the president of Yugen Kaisha Aoki Shoji (Aoki Shoji Limited Liability Company; Ichinoseki City, Iwate Prefecture), who had been supportive of the intent of this dedication.

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Preparing hot chai

Additionally, Dr. Kenichi Shoji, the director of Shoji Naika Ichoka of Mizuho Healthcare Corporation (Shoji Internal Medicine and Gastrointestinal Hospital; Ishinomaki City), had arranged for the accommodation for our staff and the tents necessary for the ceremony in addition to the set up on the day of the event. Moreover, he kindly hosted a dinner on the evening of March 10th in Ishinomaki City for the 25 people involved, and also provided lunches on March 11th.

5. Locally Hosted Joint Memorial Service

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The locally hosted Joint Memorial Service was scheduled to be held in front of the memorial placed in the school ground (in the back of the Angel statue), but was moved inside the school building due to the strong wind blowing outside.

6. Memorial Service for the Victims and Dedication of the Angel statue

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On March 10th, after the locally hosted Joint Memorial Service, the ceremony was conducted in front of the Angel statue by Mr. Hitoshi Soeno, the chief priest of Wakamiya Hachiman Shrine who had kindly come all the way from Nagoya.

In addition to the staff from our Foundation, present at the ceremony were the local residents who had helped us realize this event, the Angel Representative for Mr. Richard P. Evans, Ms. Lisa Johnson and her husband, and the creator of the Angel statue, Mr. Jared O. M. Fairbanks.

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Additionally on March 11th, we had asked Father Masashi Takahashi from Mizusawa Church in Iwate Prefecture, and the priest Mr. Ryoki Sato from Togen Temple (Soto School) in Fujisawa-cho to each conduct a memorial service. Furthermore, our Muslim staff Syed Tahir from the Foundation read verses from the Koran (the sacred book of Islam) describing the role of the angels. It was an ecumenical ceremony, recognizing the dialog among the many beliefs toward global peace.

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from left: Priest Mr. Someno, Priest Mr. Sato, Representative Director of the Foundation, Father Takahashi, and Syed Tahir

From the Angel statue named the "Angel of Hope", we hope that people may be able to feel the strong message to firmly rise with "hope" from within the "sadness".

We take this opportunity to introduce the message from Ms. Lisa Johnson, the Angel Representative of Mr. Richard P. Evans who came to Japan for this ceremony, and the March 14th article from the Iwate Nichi-Nichi Shimbun describing the ceremony.

Yasuhiko Sata
Representative Director
Rentai Tohoku-Seinan

Message from Ms. Lisa Johnson

Article in the Iwate Nichi-Nichi Shimbun dated March 14th, 2013

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Categories:Staff reports

2013.03.12 12:19 admin

2013.02.10 10:53

Chinese New Year celebration (Sunday February 10th at the Bellino Hotel, Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture)

From 6 to 9 pm on February 10th, we held a Chinese New Year celebration together with the Chinese residents, other international residents and their families in Tohoku at the Bellino Hotel Ichinoseki in Iwate Prefecture.

The current relationship with China unfortunately continues to be a difficult one, but on a private level we have a friendly relationship. Through our support activities, our Foundation has become acquainted with a number of wives from China that have married Japanese and are working hard in Tohoku, and they have supported us in our activities such as the curry events at temporary housings by helping us prepare the dishes. With our feelings of gratitude, we together celebrated the beginning of the New Year.

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The applications received to attend the ceremony far exceeded the initial 100 seats available, but in the end we had 200 participants at the event. Ms. Saito, the chairwoman of the hotel which we used as the venue was very supportive of our aim in holding this event. Not only did she support us during the initial preparations, she was very flexible in accommodating the huge change in the number of participants.

The Representative Director of our Foundation began his opening speech by saying "I would like to express my respect to you all from China who had left their homeland to marry Japanese people and has put all their efforts to this day." The speech was followed by a lecture by Mr. Hidenori Sakanaka, the director of the Japan Immigration Policy Institute. He stressed the necessity to change the social system including education and to accept immigrants, which is the only way to avoid "population crisis" in Japan where the population continues to decrease.

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This was followed by a toast, with participants enjoying 10-year-old Chinese rice wine stored in jars, a gift from the president of Kenkoh Trading Co., Ltd. in Tokyo, Mr. Fu, and Japanese rice wine in barrels, a gift from the president of Kakunoshin in Kawasaki-cho, Mr. Chiba, and the president of the Rotary Club in Senmaya-cho, Mr. Ogata. The banquet was given in a buffet style.

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Everyone was inspired by the performances by the pianist, opera singer, and harp player from China, and was also surprised by a special Chinese acrobatics show, the mask change performance.

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These performances were followed by representatives of China, the Philippines and Japan gathering on stage and singing songs from their respective countries with a piano accompaniment. After the songs by the Japanese team, everyone sang "Kitaguni no Haru (North Spring)" in Chinese and had a great time.

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It was impressing to see Mr. Koga, the owner of a music restaurant whom the Representative Director is friends with, replying to various piano requests with his experienced skills in the latter half of the stage performance. The finale song was a cheery "Beer Barrel Polka" requested by the Representative Director and played by Mr. Koga, and everyone got up and marched in a single line throughout the room which was a spectacular sight to see. We hope that even those shy at first were able to join in with all the others and enjoy the march with a smile on their faces.

Together with Ms. Saito, the chairman of Bellino Hotel, we were very excited by the end of the event thinking that for next year, this type of fun event could be grander.

The event was admission free, but we invited all to "donate if you enjoyed the event." Everyone's kindness totaled to approximately \80,000 in the donation box set in the room. We take this opportunity to thank everyone, and would like to report here that we will forward your kindness to the people in Tohoku through the self-reliance support activities of our Foundation.

The Chinese New Year celebration was reported in the Iwate Nichi-Nichi Shimbun.

Article in the Iwate Nichi-Nichi Shimbun dated 11 February 2013

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Categories:Staff reports

2013.02.10 10:53 admin

Information

RENTAI TOHOKU-SEINAN Support activities
Reports of our activities

Latest articles

  • The 7th Symposium on Self-Supporting Efforts
  • Dinner Meeting (12/23, 2017 at Senmaya International Club, Senmaya, Iwate)
  • Christmas Event (12/23, 2017 at Taiyo Gakuen Children's Home, Ofunato, Iwate)
  • Meeting at Senmaya International Club(7/1 2017 in Ichinoseki, Iwate)
  • Kids Event (7/1 2017 in Rikuzentakata, Iwate)
  • Symposium on Self-Supporting Efforts: Toward the Light (3/11 2017 at Ichinoseki City, Iwate)
  • Memorial Service (3/11 2017 at the former site of Okawa Primary School, Ishinomaki, Miyagi)
  • Curry Event(12/18 2016 at Sandanbashiri Kohoku Temporary Housing Estate, Ishinomaki, Miyagi)
  • Play with Kids Event (7/9 2016 at Rikuzentakata City, Iwate)
  • Joining Meal Services (4/23-24, 2016 at Mashiki Town, Kumamoto)