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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2018.07.10 11:56

Visit to Iwaizumi town (7/8~7/9 2018)

From the afternoon on July 8 to July 9, we went to Iwaizumi town, Iwate prefecture and visited Senkin Shuzo Co., Ltd., Iwaizumi Elementary School, Iwaizumi Milk Products Co., Ltd. and Tanohata Yamachi Rakunou Gyunyu Co., Ltd.

【Visit to Senkin Shuzou Co., Ltd.】

On July 8, we visited Mr. Giichiro Yaegashi, the owner of Senkin Shuzo, a sake brewery and an old friend of Mr. Ichirou Murakami, our member. Established in the first year of Ansei (1854), the historic brewery have brewed Japanese sake using the water from the underground lakes of Ryusendo Cave, which is selected as one of the best 100 waters in Japan. Though we became late and visited the evening, he warmly welcomed us and showed us the brewery. Then at the fantastic place in there, Mr. and Mrs. Yaegashi prepared dinner to us with the help of their mother. Luckily, that day hit on the opening date of "ayu" (sweetfish) fishery, they also served us salt-grilled ayu. We really appreciate the pleasant dinner.

It was our first visit to Iwaizumi and the northern part of Iwate and they taught us a lot of new things.

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【Visit to Iwaizumi Elementary School】

On July 9, due to our relationship with Ms. Kazue Takahashi, the principal of Iwaizumi Elementary school―our base camp Senmaya International Club was originally the estate of Ms. Takahashi's family―, we visited the school and saw a class. Ms. Takahashi told us that they have 149 students now but the number of students has been decreasing year by year. Her story saddened us.

They showed us a third year class by an American teacher and the students singing English songs cheerfully made us feel their eagerness to their future.

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【Visit to Iwaizumi Milk Products Co., Ltd.】

On July 9 (Mon), we visited Iwaizumi Milk Co., Ltd., which locates just near Ryusendo Cave. The company is famous for its product called "Iwaizumi Yoghurt". Ms. Osawa, the senior executive, showed us their factory. Iwaizumi Milk was forced to stop operating because of the inundation caused by the heavy rain from Typhoon No. 10 in 2016. However, they spent 3 billion yen and reconstructed the facilities rapidly. Their effort astonished us and we couldn't help but wish they prosper more in the future.

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【Visit to Tanohata Yamachi Rakuno Gyunyu Co. Ltd.】

On July 9, we visited Tanohata Yamachi Rakuno Gyunyu Co., Ltd., where cows are put to pasture and raised in the spacious field. Mr Kimio Yoshizuka, the owner, runs the farm with his five children and all their family members.

Two days before visiting the farm, we stopped at Yoshinoya, which is a confectionery shop in Hiraizumi town and has long been kind to us. Mr. Takashi Yoshino, the owner, told us that his sister married into the farmer. We felt some kind of connection and we took the opportunity and visited the farm.

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Categories:Staff reports

2018.07.10 11:56 admin

2018.07.09 11:33

Kids Event (7/8 2018 at Rikuzentakata City, Iwate)

On July 8 (Sun), we held an event in Otomo town, Rikuzentakata city, Iwate prefecture, for mingling with children in a foster home. Mr. Yuichi Murakami, a fisherman living in Otomo town, cooperated with us as before and Mr. Endo of Team Watahoi came all the way to help us. 21 children enjoyed fishing and barbecue with us and deepen the relationship.

Though it was cloudy that day, we did not have difficulties from the rain as we had two years ago and began auspiciously. Because of some trouble of the fishing boat, fishing and barbecue become the main event for the day. Fishing was popular among children last time and we had prepared more fishing tools for more children to experience it. Many children were very happy because they were able to catch fish and we felt glad that our effort might lead to their happiness.

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While the children were enjoying, our staff members prepared for the barbecue. It went very smoothly because we already experienced twice.

This time, Mr. Butt, a friend of our member Tahir and from Pakistan, joined us and prepared tandoori chicken soaked with yogurt and spices from the previous day. Mr. Murakami, a fisherman, generously offered us plenty of "keganis" (hairy clubs), octopuses, "tsubugais" (whelks) and so on, free of charge, which made our barbecue lunch a rich one. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mr. Murakami for always cooperating with us.

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At the end, with Japanese "sanbon-jime" (three sets of three claps and one final clap) and Burgundian "Ban Bourguigon", the event was closed.

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To assist the independence of children who are going to play important roles in the future, we would like to continue a variety of activities. We are grateful to everyone for cooperating with us.

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Categories:Staff reports

2018.07.09 11:33 admin

2018.07.08 11:25

Dinner with teachers from local junior high schools(7/7 2018 at Ichinoseki City, Iwate)

On July 7, we invited three teachers from local junior high schools to dinner. Three teachers are from different junior high schools in Ichinoseki city and we listened to them about the present issues of the local children. We also told them about the difference in education between in Islam and in Japan and the required educations in response to changes in society. It was a great opportunity for exchanging information and opinions. We are grateful to the three teachers for joining the dinner.

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Categories:Staff reports

2018.07.08 11:25 admin

2018.05.25 11:40

Violin Solo Concert Tour "Hope to meet again"-until the day of meeting (5/18-22, 2018)

[Introduction]

We invited an Italian Violinist, Mr. Gian Paolo Peloso, to Japan for playing violin in various parts of the southern part of Iwate Prefecture. He is holding concerts in various parts of the world, while teaching violin at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. (http://www.gianpaolopeloso.com/)

It was a five-day exhausting tour with the distance we travelled reached at approximately 2,000 kilometers , but with the significant support of friends and acquaintances from Japan and abroad, it was very fortunate that we were able to carry out the tour on schedule without any trouble.

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of them for their cooperation.

[At the former Okawa Elementary School site]

From 2 p.m. on Friday, May 18, 2018, we held a solo concert of requiem on the site of former Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki City.

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Although we worried about the weather the most, the rain subsided during the opening time, and people of the Okawa district led by Mr. Takeyama gathered to listen to violin solo concert under the tent that they had kindly prepared for this event. We had emotional feeling as though seventy-four deceased children and victims gathered beside us to listen to the music. We appreciate the cooperation of Mr. Takeyama and his friends.

[At the main hall of Chuson-ji Temple]

On Saturday, May 19, 2018, we held a solo concert of requiem in the main hall of Chuson-ji Temple from 9:30 a.m.

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This event was held with the valuable effort of the priest, Mr. Shinshou Haseki. We had the pleasure of Mr. Yamada and Mr. Sugawara's (the chief priest) company on the concert. The Chaconne of the Bach filled the main hall, and it was a moment of emotion.

[At the former town office building of Otsuchi Town]

On Saturday, May 19, 2018, at 2:30 p.m., we held a solo concert for requiem in front of the former town office building in Otsuchi Town.

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We strongly support the activities of Eigo Takahashi, Buddhism priest, representative of the "Society for the Future and Life of Otsuchi," a civil group urging the save of the former town office building. We believe that the preservation of the old town office buildings is also important in the meaning of expressing gratitude to the world for the Otsuchi Town, which is emerging with a great deal of support from both Japan and overseas.

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At 2:46 p.m., the time of the earthquake struck, all the members prayed silently, with the anchor of the Otsuchi Town Mayor, Mr. Yutaka Ikarigawa, serving as the facilitator. In the same harsh cold as on the day of the earthquake, around 60 people gathered together.

The activities of the day were reported in Mainichi Shimbun and the Iwate Daily next day, which we would like to introduce as follows.

<In front of the former town office building for the performance of memorial services for the victims of Otsuchi, an Italian musician>
Source: Mainichi Shimbun, May 20, 2018, morning edition

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<Violin Concert in Otsuchi old town hall, the tone of requiem echoed through,>
Source: "Iwate Daily, May 20, 2018, morning edition"

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[At Senmaya International House]

From noon on Sunday, May 20, 2018, at the Senmaya International House, we hold a luncheon party named "Green & White Day" on the theme of "Ecology".

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Wishing to hold a large-scale event, such as soirees held in Italian towns, at some time in Senmaya as a part of the town's revitalization, we held a small banquet as a starting trial on the sites of the Senmaya International Club.

In Italy for such occasions, based on the theme of ecology, local people bring their own glasses and plates that can be used repeatedly. They gather and deepen their exchanges until late at night enjoying conversations and the dishes which are served on their plates in exchange with the tickets they purchased in advance.

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Since the reserve period for this event was short, we thought it would be better even if only our intended image can be understood by local people, so we held the event during the bright daytime, thinking about the children. We would like to see this project should be developed into a gathering hosted by the Senmaya area in the future. To begin with, we believe that deepening the friendship between the elderly and young men and women in the local community leads to town revitalization and regional development.

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Since there were many participants from foreign countries, we wanted them to enjoy the Japanese tea ceremony after lunch. So we asked Mr. Murakami, who looks after Senmaya, whether there would be anyone willing to serve tea on Sunday. He introduced us Ms. Kiyoko Senda (Urasenke) , and thanks to her, six ladies set up a tea ceremony site. It was very popular among not only foreign visitors, but also other Japanese participants. We thank to these ladies very much.

The event was also participated by children and teachers from Ofunato. We were really happy to see that they were talking and falling down laughing happily in spite of those from Ofunato and other places were strangers for them. We felt the future is brighter. We wished to continue our long-table lunch, with the children as a core, who are the bearers of future.

[At Higashiyama Junior High School and Senmaya High School]

On Monday, May 21, from 10:45, a concert was held at the Ichinoseki Municipal Higashiyama Junior High School (from close bond to Dr. Akimi Kosaka), and from 14:40 on Tuesday, May 22, at the Iwate Prefectural Senmaya High School (from close bond to Dr. Waka Yamamoto).

We have given the young students who will be the leaders in the future a concert of Peloso who are active globally. Approximately 150 students from 1st to 3rd grade of Higashiyama Junior High School and approximately 250 students from 2nd to 3rd grade of Senmaya High School listened enthusiastically to the performances with bright eyes. I would be happy if those students could feel some kind of important message

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Categories:Staff reports

2018.05.25 11:40 admin

2018.03.12 11:26

The 7th Symposium on Self-Supporting Efforts "Thank You from Tohoku!" (3/11, 2018, Mita Campus, Keio University)

Foreword

We organized the 7th Symposium on Self-Supporting Efforts on March 11, 2018, seven years after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.

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We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Mr. Ikuo Takeyama, Mr. Yuichi Yonezawa and his family and Mr. Hiroya Sato, all of whom took the trouble to come to Tokyo to say "Thank you" as representatives of Tohoku, although it was the death anniversary for their loved ones.

One of the speakers, Mr. Ikuo Takeyama, bravely overcame the devastation after the earthquake and in 2016, set up a Dutch style hydroponic farm in partnership with local farmers. He is now moving toward future. To show his gratitude toward Tohoku supporters, Mr. Takeyama brought tomatoes and peppers he grew at the new farm and gave them away to all the participants of the symposium. Thank you, Mr. Takeyama!

Also, the generous donations from symposium attendees were gratefully received.

The symposium started with the speeches given by the guest speakers from Tohoku and went on to the panel discussion after the break. We are grateful for the audience's contributions to the discussion through various questions and comments.

The symposium was held at the Distance Learning Room, South Wing, Mita Campus of Keio University. Prof. David G. Litt of the Law School kindly arranged the venue. We are truly grateful for his assistances including the site management on the day.

The followings are the summaries of the speeches

(Yuichi Yonezawa/Rikuzentakata)

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Following the huge quake, Mr. Yonezawa first evacuated to the rooftop of his three-story reinforced concrete building. However, the tsunami soon reached there and forced him to climb the chimney to survive the raising water. While he was clinging to the chimney, the fatal wave engulfed many of his neighbours who evacuated to the nearby citizen center which had been designated as a shelter by Rikuzentakata city. Sadly, his parents and younger brother were among the victims. In the same jacket he was wearing on March 11, 2011, he showed us the shocking video of the swelling tsunami he shot from the rooftop for the first time after 7 years. Considering that the sure death was looming, his presence of mind was truly admirable. The variable video made us realize the sheer, killing power of a tsunami.

When the city requested Mr. Yonezawa to sell the building where he barely escaped death, he refused because he was against the city's policy to eliminate the remains of the earthquake. He decided to keep the place as an architectural relic of Tohoku Earthquake. Although he was exempted from the fixed property tax for the building for a few years after the earthquake, to our great surprise and shock, now he has to pay tax of 600,000 yen on the ruined building every year. To show his appreciation to the volunteers who helped Tohoku after the earthquake, Mr. Yonezawa volunteers to guide visitors around his building and told his experience at the time of the disaster. The number of visitors he guided now reaches almost 3,500.

Considering that the building has a potential to become a great tourism resource for the city, we strongly believe that it is only righteous that Rikuzentakata city should exempt him from the fixed property tax. In fact, the Yonezawa family deserves generous support from the city.

(Ikuo Takeyama/Ishinomaki)

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When the deadly earthquake hit Tohoku, Mr. Takeyama was working away from home in Shizuoka. Tragically, though, his mother, wife and daughter back in Tohoku were caught up by the tsunami and drowned while they were trying to evacuate by car. Immediately after the disaster, he returned to his home in Okawa district and searched for victims' bodies with heavy machinery. Mr. Takeyama vividly depicted his devastating experiences at the symposium.

When he realized he lost his beloved families, he lost all the meaning of life and even contemplated suicide. The video of his heart-wrenching interview shown at the symposium depicted the darkest of times of his life. Despite such terrible experiences, though, Mr. Takeyama has now got back on his feet and is bravely moving toward the bright future. Hats off to Mr. Takeyama! We wish him the best of luck and happiness.

Recently, his son, who lives in Hokkaido, got married. Mr. Takeyama happily announced the new addition to the family and confessed how thrilled he was when his new daughter-in-law called him "dad". Our heart was warmed by his shy smile.

(Hiroya Sato/Ishinomaki)
(Hiroyuki Nakamura/Ofunato)
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As time goes by, the general sympathy and support for Tohoku has been gradually fading. The Foundation, however, keeps on organizing Tomodachi Curry events. It was during one of those curry events that we met Mr. Hiroya Sato, who was then living at a temporary house in Ishinomaki. He has become our good friend and never missed our events since then. After his graduation from junior high school on March 10th, Mr. Sato directly came to Tokyo for the symposium. He made a splendid speech and assured us the bright future of Tohoku. When one of the attendees asked for his opinion about the gigantic levee built along the scenic coastline of Tohoku, he made a pointed remark, criticizing the authority that had ignored opinions of the local communities about such an enormous construction. We were all impressed by his mature attitude.

At the time of the earthquake, Mr. Hiroyuki Nakamura was working at an institution assisting people with disabilities to attain self-reliance. He described how he headed for a hill to escape the tsunami. He also talked about his following rescue efforts. Learning from the experience during the disaster, he set up an evacuation center for handicapped people. Presently he is actively working at a children's institution.

(Panel discussion)
(Mr. Bill Lewis/Oshu)
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Mr. Bill Lewis has been in Japan since 1988 and teaching English at high school. He is also a member of the International ILC Support Committee and proactively working for the realization of the ILC project in cooperation with the Oshu International Relations Association. If the ILC is successfully constructed in Tohoku, a number of foreign researchers and engineers will come to the region with their families. Mr. Lewis is expected to act as an important intermediary to link their needs with the local government, NGOs and private enterprises.

He spoke about the significance of teaching Japanese language and introducing Japanese society to foreigners who will come to Japan for the ILC project. Inspired by his speech, we discussed the issue of globalization of Tohoku as well as entire Japan. In honor of the spirit of Prof. Inazo Nitobe, Tohoku should be more open to the world because internaionalization is a key to solve the problem of depopulation in the area.

We understand the importance of ILC for Tohoku and are hoping that the project will become reality.

(Mr. Masayoshi Sugawara/Hiraizumi town)
(Ryoki Sato/Ichinoseki city)
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Mr. Sugawara, former mayor of Hiraizumi town, set up a joint disaster relief office with Ichinoseki city and Fujisawa town immediately after the earthquake to support Rikuzentakata city. They offered cars, delivered tons of drinking water and food, sent their staff members and accepted evacuees from the tsunami affected city. When the Foundation planned a curry event for the Rikuzentakata city office to thank their staff for their devotion to tsunami/earthquake victims, Mr. Sugawara wholeheartedly supported the idea as he had a special feeling toward the city. Despite his busy schedule, he even came to help us cook curry in the morning of the event.

Presently, he has become a precious member of our volunteer activities and actively cooperates in our events with Mrs. Sugawara. We greatly appreciate their generous support.

Mr. Ryoki Sato is a Buddhist monk who lives in Fujisawa town, Ichinoseki city. Although the temple was not affected either by the earthquake or the tsunami, he happened to be on his way from Kamaishi to Ichinoseki when the fatal earthquake struck. He was about to be engulfed by the tsunami and barely survived the huge wave.

As a monk, he provides pastoral care to victims and offers them opportunities to talk about their experiences to relieve stress. At the symposium he introduced his activities at a child supporting organization called "Hamawarasu" he is currently involved with. He believes that it is important to get children to be involved with the nature, people and community in their hometown so that their vitality will be enhanced. He calls it a key for them to grow strong. For this purpose, he hosts nature experience events for children.

(Auditorium)

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Special Music Program

Mr. Kensho Maekawa (tenor)
Ms. Miki Akamatsu (piano)
Ms. Miki Tominaga (soprano)
Ms. Junko Watanabe(piano)
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One of the two musicians who sang for the special music program at the end of the symposium was Mr. Maekawa, a tenor singer of Niki Kai Tokyo Opera Foundation. He is also a certified monk and considers music as a form of prayer. He joined the event in the hope of providing an opportunity for people to be energized through music and reflect on themselves.

Ms. Tominaga, the soprano singer, is a graduate from Keio University. She learned singing as an amateur singer for 10 years when she was working as a bank clerk. Mr. Shoji Kinoshita, a friend of Mr. Sata's, specially invited her and Ms. Watanabe, the pianist, to join the event. On September 11, 2001, Ms. Tominaga's husband was at the office on the 80th floor of the World Trade Center in New York. Although he miraculously survived the horrendous disaster, since then, Ms. Tominaga has developed a personal belief -- each and every day is precious and life should not be taken for granted. The theme of the symposium seemed to pull her heartstrings and she kindly accepted the invitation.

Thanks to the support from many people, the symposium was successfully closed. We are truly thankful.

Categories:Staff reports

2018.03.12 11:26 admin

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Latest articles

  • Visit to Iwaizumi town (7/8~7/9 2018)
  • Kids Event (7/8 2018 at Rikuzentakata City, Iwate)
  • Dinner with teachers from local junior high schools(7/7 2018 at Ichinoseki City, Iwate)
  • Violin Solo Concert Tour "Hope to meet again"-until the day of meeting (5/18-22, 2018)
  • The 7th Symposium on Self-Supporting Efforts "Thank You from Tohoku!" (3/11, 2018, Mita Campus, Keio University)
  • 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)