一般財団法人 連帯 東北・西南 RENTAI TOHOKU-SEINAN

一般財団法人 連帯 東北・西南 RENTAI TOHOKU-SEINAN

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2013.12.25 19:51

Senmaya International Club and Event at Okago (12/23-24 2013 in Senmaya and Fujisawa, Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture)

● A Meeting at the Senmaya International Club

We held a meeting at the Senmaya International Club from 12:00 to 15:30 on December 23rd to cooperate in the revitalization of the local area.

Our Foundation had been using a rented, old traditional house in Senmaya, Ichinoseki in Iwate Prefecture as our base for our support activities for the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake. As a different traditional house nearby was given to our Foundation this spring, we renovated it and opened it as the Senmaya Interntional Club on October 5th.

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Since its establishment, our Foundation has been focusing our volunteering activities on considering specific ways to enable self-reliance in various ways through discussions and thinking together at the disaster-affected sites, and swiftly implementing these ideas. We asked the refugee residents to join us at the meeting on December 23rd, held between 12:00-15:30 to think about how to revitalize the Senmaya area which faces depopulation.

Our understanding is that as of October 1st, there are 499 evacuees /263 households from Kesennuma and nearby areas who now reside in three temporary housings in Senmaya area. Three representatives from two of these temporary housings joined us at the meeting.

Including the manager of the Senmaya Branch of Ichinoseki City Hall and residents of Senmaya and Fujisawa, a total of 17 people attended the meeting. We had a lively discussion on ideas for regional revitalization and communications among the residents of temporary housings.

The three participants from the Senmaya Branch voluntarily declared themselves "Team Senmaya" to make a statement to actively hold volunteer activities.

One of the representatives who joined us from the temporary housing complex agreed to cooperate in the activities to provide psychological support and assist our Foundation, and we intend to continue our support activities.

As our Foundation also wishes for those in the revitalization of the area to make use of the Senmaya International Club, we informed the staff of the Senmaya Branch Ichinoseki City Hall of our wish and asked to utilize it in an effective way.

● The Lighting Ceremony and Dinner Party at Okago Church

From 5 p.m. on December 23rd, we assisted in the Christmas Event (Illumination Lighting Ceremony) at Okago Church in Fujisawa, Ichinoseki in Iwate Prefecture.

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Okago is an area where over 300 Christians were martyred in the early Edo Period. Our Representative had been trying to think of a way to somehow assist in the revitalization of this area, and was introduced to Mr. Hatakeyama, the director of the Okago Christian Resource Center, from a priest in Fujisawa who always assist us. As such, we have been assisting in the lighting event since last year.

This was our second event, and the illumination lighting ceremony took place at Okago Church at 5 p.m. Everyone gathering at the event counted down together to switched on the lights. Several tens of thousands of LED lamps lighted up all at once, and the church was enveloped in a magical atmosphere with colorful illuminations in the pitch-black night. The atmosphere was even more magical this year, with a newly-planted fir tree in the churchyard and the 40 bamboo candles lighting up the way leading to the church.

Director Hatakeyama of the Okago Christian Resource Center had long been wishing over the years for an illumination event. We all thought of the numerous Christians who were martyred in this area long ago, and prayed for the souls of those who tragically lost their lives to the Great East Japan Earthquake in May 2011.

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

Iwate Nichi-Nichi Shimbun, December 24th, 2013

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● Chrismas Mass at Okago Church

From 11 a.m. on December 24th, we assisted in the Christmas Mass (Mass and Christmas Party) at Okago Church in Fujisawa, Ichinoseki in Iwate Prefecture. The Mass held at this church recommenced after more than 30 years as was the illumination lighting event.

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Father Takahashi of Mizusawa Church was asked to come, and the Christmas Mass at Okago Church was performed in a solemn atmosphere. Approximately 30 people gathered, including the local children.

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We held a simple Christmas Party after the Mass with the Christmas cakes lovingly baked by the local residents. We had a surprise guest, our Representative Sata's "Sata" Claus, and everyone at the party received a Christmas present. Our Representative planned this by himself and kept it a secret from the Foundation staff present at the party, so the staff was even more surprised than the children.

Our support activities in the Okago Church event have continued for two years now. Last year, our Foundation was the main force in handling the announcement of the event. This year, Director Hatakeyama took over and handled everything from planning to announcing which ended in a successful event. We realized that our activities were of use to the local revitalization, and hope that there will also be a wonderful event next year. We shall do our best so that the church will be filled with people at the Mass.

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

Iwate Nichi-Nichi Shimbun, December 25th, 2013

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Iwate Nippo, December 25th, 2013

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Categories:Staff reports

2013.12.25 19:51 admin

2013.11.23 12:50

Cooperative Participation in the AIDS Culture Forum(11/23 2013 in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture)

On Saturday, November 23rd, we provided Tomodachi Curry® at the "AIDS Culture Forum in Rikuzentakata" held in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture to cooperate in making it a lively event.

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Rikuzentakata First Junior High School was the venue, and in the school's premises there are temporary housing and Rikuzentakata Clinic.

The aim of this event is to provide awareness on HIV/AIDS to the young generations, and it has been held for six years since 2005 and organized by Rikuzentakata Junior Chamber, Rikuzentakata City Hall, and Ofunato Health Center of Iwate Prefecture. It was discontinued for two years due to the Great East Japan Earthquake, but this year it was brought back after three years.

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The event began at Rikuzentakata First Junior High School's gym with a performance by the artist Funny Pig from Rikuzentakata which warmed up the atmosphere of the venue. There were many participants from early on, and by the talk session began the gym was full of participants with more than 150 people.

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We provided Tomodachi Curry® at this event thanks to our relationship with Dr. Mikihito Ishiki of Iwate Prefectural Takada Hospital, and the request was to prepare about 200 servings. We did the preparations the night before at the Senmaya International Club (SIC) and made Tomodachi Curry® on the day of the event outside the venue.

Mr. Kyosuke Tachibana of Sendai Akiu Spa Hotel Iwanumaya joined us from the day before at the Senmaya International Club by staying the night and it was a great help. He was very efficient and we truly appreciate it.

Additionally, Mr. Yoshihiro Kanno, the director of Senmaya Branch of Ichinoseki City Hall, kindly presented us with a donation to assist in the event, and sent four staff from the Branch office to the venue to help us. We take this opportunity to extend our appreciation.

Dr. Tabata, the director of Iwate Prefectural Takada Hospital also came and joined the talk session.

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Tomodachi Curry® was scheduled to be provided at 12 noon after the lecture in the morning was over. We were to provide the curry within a limited time which was until 1p.m. when the next lecture began, but we were relieved to have been able to complete it in time. We were happy to hear many people telling us "It was delicious."

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"Class on Life", lecture by the "night watchman teacher" Mr. Osamu Mizutani

Categories:Staff reports

2013.11.23 12:50 admin

2013.10.25 18:22

Syed Tahir from our Foundation was introduced in the Ishinomaki Medical Association Bulletin.

Dr. Kenichi Shoji, the director of Shoji Naika Ichoka (Shoji Internal Medicine and Gastrointestinal Hospital) of Mizuho Healthcare Corporation, contributed an article in the 260th issue of the Ishinomaki Medical Association Bulletin. The article introduces Syed Tahir from our Foundation, and with Dr. Shoji's permission we post his article.

Dr. Shoji had been of great assistance when we dedicated and built the Angel Statue at the site of Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki on March 11th of this year, from arranging the accommodation for our staff and obtaining the tents and setting them up, even hosting a dinner on the evening of March 10th in Ishinomaki for the 25 people involved plus providing lunch on the 11th.

We take this opportunity to thank Dr. Shoji again for his kind assistance.


Ishinomaki Medical Association Bulletin

September 2013
No. 260

Charms of people in Tohoku
Kenichi Shoji

On a Sunday three months after the Great East Japan Earthquake, I received a strange phone call. "My name is Syed Tahir. I'm a volunteer from Nagoya who is working in Iwate. I am calling because Dr. Masamoto told me to say hello to Dr. Shoji. I was wondering if I could visit you some time when convenient for you..." Dr. Masamoto is an internal medicine specialist who is my senior at the university. He runs a kidney dialysis centre in Handa, Aichi prefecture. He has bought a hospital where he used to work as a part-timer and is now its manager. Currently he has acquired several clinics and is busy managing business rather than treating patients.

On the following Sunday, Mr.Tahir drove his car with no car navigation system and made great efforts to find his way to my house all the way from Senmaya, Iwate. He came to Miyagi by car full of rescue supplies immediately after the earthquake. First, he worked as a volunteer at Minato Primary School in Ishinomaki for 2 months and now is based in Hiraizumi, Iwate, working in various disaster-affected areas.

Mr. Tahir is a Muslim and belongs to a minor Islamic sect called Ahmaddiya. In his home country, Pakistan, Ahmaddiya followers are often suppressed by larger sects such as Sunni and Shi'ite. Perhaps because of that, he came to Japan 20 years ago as if following his brother, who is running a trading company in Nagoya. Since then, he has helped his brother's business. Now at the age of 46, he has a wife and three children. One is a second grader at junior high school and the other two are the 6th and 4th graders of primary school.

There is a teaching of Ahmaddiya that one must help those who are in need. As he has been grown up in an environment where this attitude is naturally accepted, Mar. Tahir almost reflexively rushed for Tohoku by a truck full of rescue supplies provided from Ahmaddiya. I cannot forget his puzzled reaction when he was asked why he was involved in volunteer activities by an elderly man in Iwate. He seemed to suspect that it would not be convincing enough for the old man if he had said that it was only a natural thing to do and tried to explain his reasons logically. However it was not easy to have his religious belief understood. According to Mr. Tahir, the universe is regulated by the plan of God and nothing can be irrational or incidental. He sounded as if he were a Christian. Later, Mr. Yasuhiko Sata, president of TKB Corpotation whom I met through Mr. Tahir, told me that Islam is based on the Old Testament and has much in common with Christianity.

TKB is a company whose former name was Tokibo Co., Ltd. As a major dealer of medical devices such as ventilators, it is well known amongst healthcare professionals. The present president Mr. Sata's father was a medical doctor and involved in a medical device related business. The experience led him to set up his own company called Tokibo. Mr. Yasuhiko Sata took over his father's business and expanded the company into an enterprise group with many affiliated companies in the US and Europe. Mr. Stata created a juridical foundation called "Rentai Tohoku-Seinan" in May 2011 with a view to supporting the 311 victims in Tohoku to re-establish their lives. Mr. Tahir met Mr. Sata through his volunteer activities and now works as the board director of "Rentai Tohoku-Seinan".

On a Saturday in July, Mr. Tahir visited our home after some while. "As I'm so busy with my volunteer work that I cannot spend any time with my family, I decided to move to Sendai and bring them with me. My wife and children agreed to my decision." The announcement came out of the blue and I tried to convince him that he had done enough work as a volunteer already and suggested to go back to Nagoya and focus on his own work. However he seemed to be totally determined. After he came to Tohoku, he had a chance to meet various people. Perhaps it was because many people were still caught up in the heat of the moment after the Earthquake, but he made a lot of friends to whom he could open up and let himself out amongst those living in temporary compounds and fellow local volunteers. He did not wish to lose these precious relationships by going back to Nagoya. This made him decide to move to Sendai with his family and continue to work for Rentai Tohoku-Seinan, making his new home a base for volunteer activities. For him, his friends in Tohoku are dear to him just like his family.

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Mr. Tahir being nervous every time a camera is pointed at him

Tahir was born and brought up in the Northern Pakistan near the Karakorum. As he had occasionally contacted with Japanese tourists since he was very young, Japan has always been a place he felt an affinity with. Though this is merely my wild guess, the people in rural Tohoku and those in rural Pakistan may have something in common.

Generally speaking, people in Tohoku may be hard to approach at first but once warmed up, they are more open and candid than people in Nagoya and tend to build an honest and unreserved friendship. I am confident in this view as I spent 6 years in Nagoya when I was a university student. Mr. Tahir is a simple and straightforward man, more like a Tohoku local compared to a Nagoyan. He may have had some feeling of strangeness during 20 years of life in Nagoya. But in Tohoku, he felt as if he were included and started to see this place as his home to be.

Last week, Mr. Tahir and his family moved into a house in a leafy residential area in Sendai. The children are going to go to new schools from the second semester. The girl in the 4th grade of primary school is going to enter a Catholic school. Mr. Tahir negotiated with the school insisting on impossible conditions that the girl would not attend a mass or a religious class. Surprisingly, the principal consented willingly. This would never happen in countries other than Japan. Mr. Tahir was extremely grateful to Japanese tolerance (perhaps insensitivity) for other religions.

Categories:Staff reports

2013.10.25 18:22 admin

2013.10.20 13:24

Participating in the NUMA FES 2013 (10/20 2013 in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture)

On Sunday, October 20th, we provided Tomodachi Curry® at the NUMA☆FES 2013 (festival) held in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, and took part in the event.

This is a reconstruction assistance event held in Hongo, Kesennuma, and has been held since 2011 when the Earthquake hit. We participated in the 2011 event, and this was our second time to join in.

We were given the opportunity to provide Tomodachi Curry® at the event thanks to Mr. Keishin Kurosawa, the president of Kabushiki Kaisha Hakku, a company in Kesennuma. When we took part the first time, we provided curry and boiled dumplings free of charge, but this time we proceeded with our preparations with a request to provide the curry for a fee.

With a goal to provide 300 servings, we prepared the night before at Senmaya International Club (SIC). As it was meaningless to simply bring the curry all ready to serve, we only did the basic preparations as we do with other events, and did the actual cooking all at the site. We asked the organizer of the festival to allow us to come to the site at 6 a.m. and start our work.

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It had been raining since morning on the day of the event, and was also the coldest day of the season. So we used more spice than usual and made our curry hotter so that the guests could warm up.

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There were live performances by SCK Girls (local idols of Kesennuma), Lamp Shade (Jazz Band from Kesennuma), and Ikumi Kumagaya, (artist from Kesennuma) at Nakayachi Park where the event was held. The guests enjoying the performances in the rain under umbrellas, and went to the vendor booths afterwards and seemed to enjoy their lunches.

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At the event site, there were vendors selling Kesennuma local goods, Korean food, and also a vendor from Senmaya, and Tomodachi Curry® was well received by the guests. As it was requested that we provide the curry for a fee and not free of charge, we would like to take the sales we made as a donation to Rentai Tohoku-Seinan and intend to give back to the residents in the afflicted area through our future activities.

The initial festival, the NUMA☆FES 2011 was the first event where we provided our curry, and was the starting point of our curry events. Although we were not able to participate in last year's event due to our schedules, we are very happy to have been able to participate this year on the third annual event, and to have been of some help in the revitalization effort of the area.

Categories:Staff reports

2013.10.20 13:24 admin

2013.10.12 13:14

Participating in the event at "Fureai Kizuna Suiden Ganbatta" (10/12 2013 in Tokuda District, Fujisawa-cho, Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture)

On Saturday, October 12th, we provided Tomodachi Curry® at the harvest festival held at "Fureai Kizuna Suiden Ganbatta" (a rice field designated to encourage communication among the residents) in Tokuda District, Fujisawa-cho, Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture, and shared the joys of harvest with the residents.

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The employment promotion housing in Tokuda District is where the victims from Kesennuma and Minamisanriku-cho live temporarily. In June, the residents in these housings and the local residents came together to plant rice at "Tokuda Fureai Kizuna Suiden Ganbatta", and everyone harvested the rice at this event. This was the third year to harvest as a collaborative activity.

With our relationship with Mr. Hiroshi Chida who is the president of the Fujisawa Community Council, we provided Tomodachi Curry® at the harvest festival. We were asked to prepare about 100 servings, and Tahir and Ms. Lee did the preparations the night before at Senmaya International Club. Mr. Keishi Onodera, the president of the Rotary Club in Senmaya, kindly provided approximately 12 kg of poultry used in the preparation free of charge.

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At the venue, residents of Fujisawa helped us prepare the curry and we were able to finish the work in time for the opening of the harvest festival.

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Those who finished harvesting the rice came to the room and the lunch time began. There were more dishes in addition to Tomodachi Curry® which were provided by the local residents. For this event, we provided Tomodachi Curry® not with naan but with rice.

Our participation in the harvest festival was thanks to our relations with Mr. Chida, and he introduced us before lunch. As we explained our activities, hopefully everyone was able to understand our activities at afflicted areas and about our Tomodachi Curry®. It would be an honor if we were able to take part in strengthening the relationships among the victims and the local residents.

Categories:Staff reports

2013.10.12 13:14 admin

Information

RENTAI TOHOKU-SEINAN Support activities
Reports of our activities

Latest articles

  • Curry Event (01/23 2016 at Kaisei Temporary Housing Complexes, Ishimonaki, Miyagi)
  • Curry Event (7/12 2015 at Shimowano Housing Complex, Rikuzentakata, Iwate)
  • Meeting at Senmaya International Club (7/11 2015 Ichinoseki, Iwate)
  • Curry Event (5/31 2015 at Ichinoseki Fuji-no-Sono Children's Foster Home, Ichinoseki, Iwate)
  • Symposium (5/30 2015 at Senmaya International Club, Ichinoseki, Iwate)
  • "Tomodachi Curry®" and Sakura Viewing Party (4/18 2015 at Senmaya Branch Office of Ichinoseki City Council, Iwate)
  • Curry Event (4/12 2015 at Nikkori Sunpark Temporary Housing Complex, Ishimonaki, Miyagi)
  • Curry Event(01/30 2015 at Kichijoji Temple, Kirikiri, Otsuchi, Johei-gun, Iwate)
  • The 5th Symposium on Self-Supporting Efforts "Toward the Light"
  • Curry Event (11/15 2014 at Ozashi Temporary Housing Complexes in Ishinomaki, Miyagi)