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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2013.10.05 13:07

Curry Event at the Temporary Housing Complex in Iwanuma (10/05 2013 at Sato-no-Mori East Housing Complex in Iwanuma, Miyagi Prefecture)

On Saturday, October 5th, we provided Tomodachi Curry® at Sato-no-Mori East Housing Complex in Iwanuma, Miyagi Prefecture free of charge to encourage the residents.

Shingon Buddhism Takekoma Temple in Iwanuma, which is in the south of Sendai, has a history which dates back more than 1,000 years. We were able to hold the event thanks to Mr. Unko Matsuki, the 65th priest of the temple.

Iwanuma is about 5 km from the Sendai Airport, but on the day when the earthquake struck the area, Sendai Airport was completely destroyed by the tsunami which almost reached the center of the city and to a point 500m from Takekoma Temple. After the earthquake, with the request from the city, tents were set up in the parking area of the temple and became the temporary evacuation area for the tsunami victims.

Nearly 1,000 people who lost their homes by the tsunami in the coastal area still live today at the temporary housing complex in Iwanuma. As we heard that the amount of support for the residents here was decreasing, we decided to provide Tomodachi Curry® free of charge at this temporary housing complex as proposed by the priest, Mr. Unko Matsuki.

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Sato-no-Mori East Housing Complex is situated approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes by car from Senmaya, our base site. The preparation was done by our Tahir and with the cooperation of Mr. and Ms. Matsuki, and it was finished the night before. Mr. Matsuki had already set up the tent as well at the work site as he personally considered it necessary. This allowed a very smooth start for our work, since we were able to start immediately on arrival at the site.

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Mr. Aoki, the president of Yugen Kaisha Aoki Shoji, and his friend Mr. Miura, the president of Kabushiki Kaisha Morinen kindly volunteered again to lend us a hand and took charge of one pot each. Mr. Aoki is of course well acquainted with the procedure, but Mr. Miura also got accustomed to it as this was his second time to join us, and we thank them for their assistance.

We started serving Tomodachi Curry® at 12 noon.

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Our purpose of holding curry events is to assist in revitalizing the communication among the residents, and provide an opportunity to come out of their small temporary housing rooms to an airy space and enjoy food and conversation with others. On this occasion, Mr. Koga, the owner of a music restaurant who is in good relationship with our Representative Director and singer Ms. Fuku performed some songs with the accompaniment of piano.

The piano was especially popular among the children, and Mr. Koga, surrounded by them, was asked to play anime songs and sang "Flowers will bloom" together over and over, a charity song that supports the recovery of Tohoku. We had a wonderful time together.

The temporary housing complexes where we had visited so far for the curry events tended to be in the mountains or inconvenient areas with more people in their advanced age. However, there were a lot of children at the Sato-no-Mori East Housing Complex, and we felt we were more encouraged. One point we would like to think over is the fact that we could not arrange well for the residents to come together at the meeting room as much as possible, and enjoy the exchanges with us volunteers through the meal we provided. We believe this is due to our lack of communication at the preparatory stage of the event. Tomodachi Curry® is a tool to encourage everyone to communicate, but it does not do its work if it is taken back to their private rooms. We hope to learn from this experience in our future activities.

The event became possible with the great cooperation from Mr. and Ms. Matsuki and we send our sincere gratitude.

Categories:Staff reports

2013.10.05 13:07 admin

2013.09.29 12:58

Curry Event at the Asupia Festival (09/29 2013 at Mizusawa Community Exchange Center Asupia, Oshu, Iwate Prefecture)

On Sunday, September 29th, we provided Tomodachi Curry® at the Asupia Fetival held at Mizusawa Community Exchange Center Asupia in Oshu, Iwate Prefecture and took part in the revitalization effort of the area.

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This festival has been held since 2001 to better inform the public of the activities of Asupia, and for the users of Asupia to get to know each other even more. We had the opportunity to provide Tomodachi Curry® at this festival thanks to Mr. Tsuyoshi Sato, the president of Oshu International Relations Association.

We were asked to provide about 200 servings, and Tahir and Ms. Lee prepared the night before at our base site in Senmaya. Mr. Keishi Onodera, the president of the Rotary Club in Senmaya, kindly provided approximately 30 kg of poultry free of charge.

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Just two staff at the festival site was not enough, so Mr. Daigo Fujinami from the Oshu International Relations Association kindly arranged volunteers of three men and a woman to assist us. It was a great help and our work proceeded smoothly.

Tomodachi Curry® was very well received by everyone at the Asupia Festival. Upon request, we served it for a fee and not free of charge, and we made a little over 60,000 yen for one day. We would like to take this as a donation to Rentai Tohoku-Seinan and intend to give back to the residents in the afflicted area through our future activities.

This was an opportunity to join the event through our relationship with the Oshu International Affairs Association, and it would be an honor if we have been of some help in the revitalization effort of the area.

Categories:Staff reports

2013.09.29 12:58 admin

2013.07.28 11:12

Curry Event at the Otsuchi 5th Temporary Housing Complex (07/27 2013 in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture)

On Saturday, July 27th, we provided Tomodachi Curry® at Building 1 of Ajisai-kan in the Otsuchi 5th Temporary Housing Complex in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture free of charge to encourage the residents.

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Previously, we served Tomodachi Curry® at Iwate Prefecture Otsuchi Hospital Temporary Clinic free of charge on June 20th. From this Otsuchi Hospital, the Otsuchi 5th Temporary Housing Complex is about 7-8 km up along the Otsuchi River toward the mountains. Ajisai-kan is situated approximately in the center of the housing complex, and the Otsuchi Social Welfare Council provides conversation partnership, house-visits, and support on meals and other household chores.

The realization of the Tomodachi Curry® event this time was from a request we received to hold the curry event for the summer festival on July 27th, hosted by the Otsuchi Social Welfare Council.

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Tohoku was hit by a record rainfall from the day before the event. It was also raining heavily in Senmaya where we have our base, and the water level of Senmaya River flowing through the center of the town suddenly rose around 6 p.m. and the river overflowed in an instant. Mr. Ichiro Murakami of Murakami Denki Shokai who always assists us is a member of the local fire brigade, and had to continue patrolling the river late into the night. As such, he joined our event after only a few hours of sleep. After we left Minami Exchange Center, we made a stop at Mr. Hideo Sato's house to received 20 L of fresh milk free of charge again for our chai. Mr. Sato is a dairy farmer (Senmaya) who has been supporting us since we started our activities. We then headed toward Otsuchi, but on the way, the roads in Rikuzentakata were flooded and the cars were only able to drive through on one side of the road.

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By the time we got to the venue the rain had weakened, and so we were hoping that it might actually stop after a short while. Instead, it began to rain heavily, and we held the event in the worst weather condition ever. The local residents had been looking forward to our event and even gave us a call several times the day before, worrying about the rain, but we stuck to our schedule in the spirit of "Rain, I will not be defeated, Wind, I will not be defeated".

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The residents were enjoying the summer festival held indoors, and we put up a tent outside and started preparing Tomodachi Curry®. We were planning to ask them to come outside at noon to pass out the curry, but the rain poured even more heavily, so with the assistance from the volunteer staff of the Otsuchi Social Welfare Council, we changed our plan to bring the Tomodachi Curry® and the chai inside the building.

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When we were planning about the event with person in charge of the Otsuchi Social Welfare Council, we had planned to prepare about 100 servings of curry. However, more people had been expecting the event, and in the end, we ended up providing a little over 150 servings of curry even in bad weather. There were only four of us, and without everyone's help, it would have been impossible to complete everything in time. Mr. Isao Aoki, the president of Yugen Kaisha Aoki Shoji who had been supporting us behind the scenes till now, came onto the front stage in order to take charge, and with his help we were somehow able manage the entire event.

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As one of the festival events, a dance was performed by the members of the Usuzawa Shishi Odori Preservation Society of Otsuchi. We also invited them to enjoy Tomodachi Curry®, and served chai afterwards as well.

It was a moment we felt that everyone truly enjoyed the event, and we were happy not to have cancelled it because of the weather.

Categories:Staff reports

2013.07.28 11:12 admin

2013.07.11 09:42

Curry Event at Iwate Prefecture Takada Hospital (07/10 2013 at Iwate Prefectural Takada Hospital, Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture)

On Wednesday, July 10th, we provided Tomodachi Curry® at Iwate Prefectural Takada Hospital free of charge to encourage the staff.

Takada Hospital lost all its functions including the ward with 70 beds from the Great East Japan Earthquake. A prefabricated temporary clinic was built after the Earthquake, but patients requiring hospitalization had to go to a prefectural hospital in the neighboring city Ofunato or to Morioka City. Later, a temporary inpatient facility was completed in Februay 1st, 2012 with a ward of 41 beds and an operating room. This temporary facility is the only general hospital in the city of Rikuzentakata, and has become an important institution in the lives of the residents.

Tahir from our Foundation has become close with Dr. Mikihito Ishiki, the former hospital director. We understand that Dr. Ishiki who is 65 years old has extended his retirement which was at the end of this March, and decided to stay at the hospital as one of the doctors. We prepared and held this curry event to thank Dr. Ishiki who has been working hard toward recovery, Dr. Kiyoshi Tabata who became the new hospital director this April, and the hospital staff for their efforts.

The preparation is the same as before, and we began the previous day in order to minimize the work to be done at the event site. We received assistance from the local residents in the preparation work done at Senmaya Minami Exchange Center. This time we had newcomers in the volunteering staff, but everyone worked actively and efficiently, and we were able to serve Tomodachi Curry® within the limited time available. We thank all those who had helped us.

Mr. Keishi Onodera, the president of the Rotary Club in Senmaya, again was generous to offer 14 kg of poultry free of charge, and Mr. Hideo Sato, the dairy farmer (Senmaya), who had supported us since we began our activities, collected 20 L of fresh milk early in the morning and provided this milk for the chai free of charge.

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We heard that the hospital staff is comprised of 10 doctors, 40 nurses and 35 technologists, but including others such as the pharmacy staff, we provided approximately over 100 servings of Tomodachi Curry®. It was decided to serve curry from 11:30 to 14:00 since the outpatient department is extremely crowded. Many people requested additional helpings, and the venue was constantly filled with people. We brought trays with lids for people who cannot leave their workplace or those working nightshifts, which turned out to be very useful.

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Everyone enjoyed their Tomodachi Curry®, and after the curry we served chai made with fresh milk. By the time we cleaned up the site and were ready to go, we received words of thanks saying "Thank you for organizing such a fun event", and we took a group photo. We had heard from Dr. Ishiki that everyone was looking forward to the curry event, and this was a happy moment we actually felt that they truly enjoyed it.

Categories:Staff reports

2013.07.11 09:42 admin

2013.07.02 09:28

ILC (International Linear Collider) Invitation Support Symposium and Walk (June 30th 2013 in Hiraizumi, Nishi-iwai County, Miyagi Prefecture)

On Sunday, June 30th, we organized the ILC (International Linear Collider) Invitation Support Symposium (discussion session) and Walk in Hiraizumi, Nishi-iwai County, Miyagi Prefecture.

Previously on June 1st, our Foundation organized an approximately 10 km walk which we named the ILC (International Linear Collider) Invitation Support Walk from the entrance of Konjikido Golden Hall to the Nanohana Plaza in Ichinoseki. As we learned that the candidate site to build ILC in Japan will be confirmed in July, we decided to hold the second event hoping for the realization to bring ILC to Tohoku with our belief that there is no other volunteer work more important for us than to support this movement in order to encourage Tohoku toward self-reliance.

● Symposium

We are continuing our support activities with our main focus on temporary housing complexes, but we recently learned of a project to build ILC near Ichinoseki. As we had been feeling that the recovery itself is not enough for Tohoku, we strongly felt that realizing ILC construction will jump-start the process of development in Tohoku beyond recovery. However, as we became keenly aware that the understanding and the enthusiasm were still lacking among the general public, we decided to be of assistance even in a small way by organizing a walk to make an appeal.

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The venue of the Symposium was provided free of charge with the cooperation of the town of Hiraizumi at the second floor meeting room in the Town Hall. Mr. Tadao Yaegashi from the General Affairs and Planning Division of Hiraizumi was extremely helpful from preparing the venue from early in the morning, to giving us a guide of the streets and the historic sites during the Walk which is described below.

Our Representative Director, Sata acted as the Coordinator at the Symposium. Aside from the two ILC specialists from Ichinoseki City Hall, the remaining nine Panelists were all local residents, and we asked them to give their opinions freely. The Symposium began with an opening remark encouraging everyone participating in the event to have an open discussion with a sense of the general public, and to dream a future after 50 years or 100 years from now for the children with a medium- and long-term point of view.

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We positioned the Panelists in the center so that everyone in the room could participate in the discussions as a whole and share a sense of unity wherever they are in the room. One of the comments we received afterwards mentioned that it was a good event because it was not a one-sided, lecture-hearing event but one where the participants could freely exchange their views in a relaxed atmosphere.

We would like to share some of the other comments we received from the participants.

  • Realization of ILC construction will be a benefit. Education shall be strengthened toward internationalization.
  • Hollowing out of industry has reached Ichinoseki, and many people are losing their jobs with factories shutting down. If the industry is rejuvenated with ILC, it will bring good effect to the next generation. People who left the area may return.
  • The town of Fujisawa is suffering depopulation, and does not have enough people even when the recovery proceeds. The town may or may not continue to exist. This is a great chance to bring about positive thinking, and I would like the children to have a variety of opportunities. If it is clear that there would be no problems with ILC, I would like to actively invite ILC.
  • Hiraizumi is historically and culturally attractive for non-Japanese, though there is not enough promotional activities. Hiraizumi is already helping to internationalize the area.
  • If ILC construction is realized, researchers, their families and others related to the project will come from around the world and will increase internationalization. However, the educational environment for their children is said to be insufficient in Tohoku. As we are in the age of the internet, we could overcome this by making good use of the surrounding environment.
  • Unclear issues of the ILC need to be clarified in order to eliminate fear toward the unknown. There seems to be a difference in the level of interest even within Iwate Prefecture. I would like this project to proceed while having everyone's understanding. I am hoping that the secondary effect from the industry will raise the level of cultural education.
  • There have been facilities specifically for Japanese researchers, but ILC will truly become an international institution. Tens of thousands of people will arrive from abroad, making it a model city of internationalization (science, education, and culture). It seems that at first, a site evaluation council organized mainly by Tohoku University and Kyushu University will be held with about 10 scientists to make a final decision on the candidate site in Japan, which will later become the official candidate site after receiving approval from the Japanese government.
  • Depopulation in Senmaya is also significant, resulting in negative impact. It seems very attractive if ILC construction will bring improvement with the expected economic effect. I would like this to become a DREAM, not a POEM.
  • Pilgrims come to Okago from around the world. I have had feelings of rejection toward foreigners, but once you get to know them, many of them are good people and I am reflecting on this way of thinking, that it needs to be changed. I would like to welcome more foreigners, and would like to think of ILC as an opportunity to change.
  • The extent of the economic effect of ILC is questionable, but it is expected that it will stimulate people since their conscience toward self-reliance is low. It is good that the government gives directions, but I feel that the citizens themselves need to think and act on their own.
  • The effect of ILC could be considered separately for educational, official and industrial spheres. One idea is to have a specific district where foreign doctors could work in Japan. If ILC does not come, then it might be interesting to construct a rocket launching base making use of the fact that this granitic area is sparsely inhabited. I would like to value having a channel linking us to science. It would be interesting to have a brainstorming meeting.
  • I do not know much about ILC, but I am happy that an institution bringing in dreams will be coming to Japan. I feel it would be even better if it will create more jobs.
  • Is it right to proceed with ILC construction when the recovery from the aftermath of the nuclear accident is not completed?
  • What would happen in terms of the destruction of nature which would occur after constructing ILC?

Comments ranged from those not only approving to bring ILC, but to those pointing out the issues requiring consideration. What the Representative Director, Sata wished to convey as the closing remarks, is how much the religious ways of thinking in a positive sense is required in order to maintain a healthy mind toward peaceful use of science in this day and age, when science and religion are required to be the two wheels of a cart. He also commented that when Iwate Prefecture becomes the ILC construction site, we may find ways in religions represented by the local temple Chuson-ji on how to deal with issues of science being a double-edged sword, leading us from a broader perspective toward the correct path.

At the end of the Symposium, we all prayed for the numerous victims of 3.11 and also hoped for a brighter future of Tohoku with the arrival of ILC with the Heart Sutra given by the priests Mr. Sato (Soto School) and Mr. Haseki (Tendai School), followed by some verses from the Koran read by our staff Syed Tahir from Pakistan to close the event.

● Support Walk

The previous walk was 10 km in distance, which seemed rather difficult for those who may not be strong enough for the entire route. Therefore, this time we changed to a shorter, more relaxed route so that more people could join us. With the cooperation from Mr. Yoshinori Kikuchi, the representative director of the local company Kawashima Printing Co., Ltd., and Mr. Tadao Yaegashi from the General Affairs and Planning Division of Hiraizumi, we were able to set our starting point at the square of Kyūkanjizaiō-in Teien (Park of former Kanjizaio-in). We are sure everyone who came to join us at this beautiful, open space were able to start walking with a refreshing feeling.

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Our Representative Director, Sata gave an opening comment little before 1 p.m. which was followed by a group photo shoot, and then we started to walk. Approximately 80 people joined the Walk, and each proceeded on their own pace under a pleasant weather (cloudy, 20°C). As before, we prepared two English banners and six Japanese banners, a total of eight banners, and each participant proceeded with the Walk step by step with hopes for the realization.

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Banners used for the Walk from the third from the left to right:
  • Let's aim for the self-reliance of Tohoku with ILC
  • ILC, we welcome you! There will be dreams and hopes in Tohoku
  • Make Tohoku attractive for the children! ILC will lead into the future
  • ILC will jump-start Tohoku's development
  • ILC, we welcome you! New nation building of Tohoku with science
  • Let's make Hiraizumi and Ichinoseki area a pure land of love and science
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We reached our goal after about one hour, and as all the participants were able to complete the Walk it felt our feelings became united: "ILC, we welcome you to Tohoku!"

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

Article in the Iwate Nichi-Nichi Shimbun dated July 1st, 2013

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Article in the Iwate Nippo dated July 1st, 2013

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Categories:Staff reports

2013.07.02 09:28 admin

Information

RENTAI TOHOKU-SEINAN Support activities
Reports of our activities

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