Aug 2011


Ishinomaki Kawabiraki Festival Report Vol. 2

This report follows the Ishinomaki Kawabiraki Festival Report Vol. 1.

The following morning, at “Kouzan,” the Peace Boat Disaster Volunteer Center headquarters, preparations for the Kawabiraki Festival food stalls were ready.

The “Town-Building Team” of volunteers, created specifically for the festival, had been working for days leading up to the festival. As well as the preparations, volunteers coming from outside the area also contribute by their cheerful attitudes, and cleaning and decorating in order to make the festival a special and fun day for everyone.

The “Ishinomaki Recovery Market” was set up to sell local and traditional products of stores that had re-opened since the disaster, with proceeds of sales further contributing to recovery efforts. Upon hearing this, local calligrapher Sakurada-san created a calligraphy sign for the food stalls.

The Ishinomaki Recovery Market opened at 11am on the day of the festival.

Kotobuki-cho, the area in which Kouzan is located, is home to a shopping arcade lined with many shops. Volunteers helped with the clean-up of instruments of “Sarukoya Piano,” the instrument store next door to Kouzan, and it was able to reopen on August 1. In keeping with Ishinomaki’s musical character, a choir group was formed, performing in the street and bringing liveliness to the festival.

Inspired by the cheerful singing, the volunteers at the stalls coordinated by Peace Boat called out in loud voices to festival-goers.

It was only natural for the Peace Boat volunteers to work so hard to sell items. The volunteers had spent many hours working with shop-owners and preparing each item, many having been retrieved from mud, washed and fixed in order to sell.

Accessories made with stones, a famous product of nearby Ogatsu town (500 yen)

Over 1000 pickled cucumber sticks (100 yen) from the Moriya Fruit and Vegetable Store sold out!

Whole grilled squid (300 yen) from the recently re-opened Ishinomaki Fish Market also sold out!
Japanese sake (alcohol) “Hidakami” and “Suminoe,” locally produced in Ishinomaki, was sold for 300 yen a cup, and of course there were also soft drinks for children.

The Oshika Peninsula is famous for glass – Peace Boat’s own original glass balls (from 500 yen)

The Kinoya store’s “Cans of Hope” were retrieved from the tsunami-destroyed factory (400 yen each or 3 for 1000 yen).

This stall in front of Kouzan was not the only Peace Boat stall – volunteers also helped with the Shinchoro stall (the restaurant kindly allowing Peace Boat volunteers to use its second floor for accommodation), the Tachi town stall and the Matsukawa Shopping Arcade stall as well.

There is still much more. The “Alice Building” opposite Kouzan was host to a variety of activities for children. As always, Peace Boat is good at making do without expensive play equipment. As long as you have cardboard boxes you can make anything you want. Many attractions were made for the “Ishinomaki Childrens’ Play Area,” as below.

Held on the second day of the festival, the “Ishinomaki Childrens’ Play Area” very popular. Three mothers who were moved by the events came to Kouzan the day after the festival to show their appreciation, as there still are not many places such as parks in central Ishinomaki where children can play. We truly felt that our support for the children was appreciated while at the same time this made us realize that there are still many more activities that need to be done on a continuous basis.

Above all, the festival was a big celebration for many people, and many locals who Peace Boat works closely with told us that “we have never seen such a lively festival.”

We hope that Peace Boat was able to contribute in a small way to the revitalization of local industries through the Ishinomaki Recovery Market. Thank you so much to all of the volunteers, and particularly to the people of Ishinomaki who came to the festival and offered such warm encouragement!

(This report is continued in Vol. 3)