1st Tohoku Trip Completion Report
Do you know tsunami and earthquakes on 11th March 2011?
We went to Tohoku on 25-28 March, 2012 to see the situation and we want to know what we can do. Our members come from many many places. With a strong motivation, 26 Participants including 12 English Immersion Camp’s participants from different camp year (2002~2011), 5 Camp Leaders, Dream Jichan (Professor Chiba), and 8 staff.
We did many activities in Tohoku. We were able to spend times and communicate with some local people. The participants help Camp Leaders to translate Japanese into English even thought it was very difficult or sensitive topics about the disaster.
And we want to share with everyone what we saw and learn in Tohoku.
DAY1: 25 March
On the first day we met at Morioka station and took bus to Miyako city.
We went to temporary house to take action by communicating with people who affected by tsunami, talk to them,
make them happy even for a short time.
In temporary house, we introduced about many countries.
For example, Indonesia, Thailand, Romania and Sri Lanka. At temporary house, there is old people. Other temporary house, there is children.
Their age is different, but they have a common point. It is everybody is laughing and cheerful. But, verybody have big big sadness.
So we have to take away the sadness. We went there to take action!
In the afternoon, we went to Taro area. Taro area is very close to sea.
We met Mr. Akanuma. He’s a volunteer guide. He is from Taro area. His house is gone, because of Tsunami. He must be sad but he tries to share Tsunami story to us.
After the tsunami everything is gone. No house, No school, No hospital, No people, No money. Just only empty land.
He told us that you can see many rubbles after tsunami, people called them garbage, but once those pieces were our memories, I was shocked to hear that.
Next, we went to fish market. We saw many fish. We talk to one fisherman and he said “he lost his house” but, he tries to share and he work hard to make Miyako city come back. Let’s support each other.
We learned that it is better to see the reality with our own eyes.
We learned that TV and Radio cannot trust for 100%. We learned that the rubbles in Taro area, the effected area, was only 1% cleaned. And this is called reality.
We learn from the volunteer guide Mr.Akanuma not to forget, so we can share, share the reality, and we are here to share so we can help for a better future.
The great things we learn through Day2 are “the power of cooperation” and “the importance of sharing information”. Taro area in Miyako city, In this area, tsunami happened many times and they learned that when it comes, “Don’t search your family, just escape to high place.” It is a teaching to save future of their family. Taro area people know this information, so many of them can survive. And we should share information. The cooperation is important as same as sharing information. Many people can survive because of their cooperation and people in temporary house, help each other and they live with smile. We have to keep in our mind these two things.
The guide in Taro area told us a very impressing story that happened in the day of Tsunami in Kamaishi. The elementary school and junior high school in Kamaishi have practice of escaping from Tsunami every year. On march 11 they had to do it for real so they run to the mountain. On the way they met other kids from kinder garden and older people too. They back and pushing the wheelchair old people though the mountain. They all could escape together.
Hearing this story we realized how important is the role of education, how to escape from Tsunami, and the tense of community, how to help each other.
From today’s experience we learned that, If you want to support Tohoku people, we have two easy ways to support them and everybody can do it. First one is to share what happening in Tohoku. So the many people can know about Tohoku. You start sharing to your friends at school or share it with your family members. The more is better. Second is to visit Tohoku. So we can create more job and they can get money to live. So let’s do together!!
DAY3: 27 March
Yamada town is clean now, but there was still burned cars, many many rubbles. Cars were crushed out of shape. There was the foundation. Only the foundation.
I frightening for the situation. When I saw the cars or foundation, I doubt it. Because, it seemed like it is in a movie.
Mr.Suzuki, our guide, explained us about Yamada town. He showed us “the reality”. For example, we went out of the bus to see the height of tsunami, we also saw there are many types of rubbles, like the garbage from concrete, car wheels were divided in the area. We must remember about “Tohoku suffered heavy damage” If TV or newspaper doesn’t report on it. We must remember!! We are one big family, we must help each other.
Day three in the morning when we visit the affected area in Yamada-Town, we met Fisher man. They were lost house and money…and everything. It is such a serious situation, however they give us many Sea-weed. And they said “GANBAROU”. I think they have warm hearted.
Then now, they get new boat and support from many people. But still Tohoku is not perfectly recover. Even so, Tohoku people are working hard to live normal again. So we should help them and start from simple thing that we can do. I hope that all Tohoku people can get their normal life back.
I promise that I’ll do my best for Tohoku.
We spend our time with children from Zonta House, these children were affected by Tsunami some lost their houses or family members. We are here to take action by create a place for them to enjoy English with games and cooking lunch from different countries and eat together.
We are very happy that we could do some things to make them happy and for them to know that there are many more people who still care and support them always.
Today we met Takeuchi sensei. I think she is a very strong person. She had 2 Kumon centers, but because of the disaster, one of the Kumon center washed away by Tsunami, and the other one got burned. She had nothing but hope. However, from that hope, she started again to teach the student by borrowing the place from Zonta house.
It is a learning center for people who want to study, children who can not study in the temporary house gather here. Even though the condition is sad (some of the floor is broken, no light near Zonta house.) fortunately, there are many organizations that help them, such as Gakken, Kumon, Bread company. From this experience, I believe that when there is a hope there must be a way to make our dreams come ture.
We learned about Miyako city Tsunami story from one girl. Her name is Anna. She joined EIC in 2008. So she is EIC family too. She lives in Miyako city near from city hall. Miyako city hall hit by Tsunami. At that time, she was in the school and teachers ask them to the temple to escape. So she was safe. But, a lot of her friends’ family lost their house and life. Teachers told her not to see the view when Tsunami happened, but she hided and she saw it. And she realize how terrible of the condition. Before Tsunami happened, her dream was to be a lawyer, but now after Tsunami, her dreams change, she wants to do something and take action from herself. Now she wants to be a nurse or a person who can help injures people. May be for Anna to tell her story is not easy and very difficult, but she was very strong and brave. I feel motivated to share Tohoku story to many people, and I also hope Anna’s dreams come true.
Visited the affected area in Yamada town, got on with local children and visited Zonta house, We did many things.
We felt many things individually. After left for hotel, we wrote today’s summary. And we shared each other. Certain our friend said, “Affected area need power of cooperation.” For example, when Tsunami came, many building washed away. There are many rubbles in Miyako city, There are many volunteers came from many places and cleaned the town. Also, in Zonta house, there are many cooperation from different places, for example, books donated by many educational company, chairs donates by Mie prefecture, bread from bread company and three volunteer girls from Tokyo came and teach.
Also there is another big cooperation from EIC 2011 participants, remember “Well Done Points” From Well done points, we could help Zonta house to repair the center too and now the center is in a good condition for study.
So we think power of cooperation is very important. We all can be part of it.
DAY4: 28 March
Last day, we went to Jyodogahama. It is very famous place in Miyako City. We saw beautiful scenery and many birds. We found there are many beautiful place and place we can visit, not only disaster area.
After we came back hotel, we write impression and share it with everybody.
We said Bye-bye at Morioka Station
What we learn
1. Not to forget about “Higashi Nihon Daishinsai”
Many people suffer from this tsunami and earthquake even though 1 year has passed, there are not much news about Tohoku on TV. But we should not forget what happen in Tohoku and the lesson that we learn from this disaster. I will not forget about this Tohoku trip experience too.
2. To know the fact and reality
We think to know the reality is very important, news and other media are not really showing the real condition in Tohoku. Many people think it’s already recovered but when we visit Tohoku, we saw the reality there are still many rubble, empty land, people with no houses. Tohoku still needs lots of help and cooperation. So please find more information about tohoku and let’s think about what we can do.”
3. The important of education.
We also realized more about the important of education. As mentioned before in Kamaishikinokiseki, the miracle of kamaishi, because people are educated and know what to do, they could save many people’s live when disaster came. Lets imagine how many more people will die if nobody knows where and how to escape when tsunami comes. So, we think that it is important to know what to do when big earthquake or tsunami comes. It will be a good idea to make practices in schools and other organization about what to do when disaster comes.
4. Always have hope and not to give up
Next, we also learn from people there to always have hope and not to give up. We met some amazing people who were affected by big tsunami but they never give up, such as Takeuchi sensei who believes that children are the hope for future, so she still works on education even though her Kumon Centers were hit by tsunami and fire. Also local fishermen there who never give up eventhough big tsunami took all their ships. Besides that, we learnt from Akanuma san (guide) who said even though Taro area was hit by tsunami three times it was in 1896, 1933 and 2011, people there never give up to build the area again and they still have hope, hope of a bright future for those areas. So, we, here, who are lucky to have a great life now, lets support them together.
What we can do?
1. To share with many people
It’s very easy to start sharing, tell your friends or family when you go home what you learn or just small new thing that you knew today from our report or from news. More people we share more chances for people to remember and support Tohoku!
So let’s share!!!
2. Help to build the community
We can support Tohoku by telling people to visit Tohoku, there are many beautiful places to visit for example, Yodogahama beach in Miyako city and people are very friendly and kind. when you buy Tohoku products at shop or the super market. If you do this you make more jobs for people and support their family too.
3. To appreciate what we have
Another thing that we can do is that “to appreciate what we have”. We should be thankful to everything that are surrounding you. For example, you have your own place to live in. When you open the door and go inside your house, your parents, your brothers or sisters, or maybe even your grandparents would welcome you. When you go to school, there are friends and teachers who talk, study, eat, or play with you. Not only those, you’ve got things to eat, drink, or get clean. Haven’t you taking these for granted? If you are, think about this carefully. I think most of you cannot live without things that surround you. How about writing about what you felt thankful everyday, like a small diary?
4. Power of cooperation
Last but not least, the most important thing is to always cooperate with others. It doesn’t always have to do with earthquake or any disasters. There are many cases you need to cooperate. When your school holds a chorus contest, you cooperate with your classmates to get a first prize. When your club has an important game, you cooperate with your teammates in order to win. When you have trouble with your homework, you cooperate with your families or friends in order to solve the problems. That way you can always cooperate with others when disasters or something dangerous happens. This is the power of cooperation. So, why don’t you start with always trying to cooperate with people around you?
We think many small actions also can make big differences too.
So everyone, let’s take action!!