01
Sep

0

Study Tours in Ishinomaki

Photo: SUZUKI Shoichi

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, we have developed our relationship with the people in Ishinomaki, and our relationship has now grown beyond the context of disaster relief into a locally rooted form.

More than half of the 1100 passengers joined optional tours during the Peace Boat’s visit to Ishinomaki, and the rest enjoyed their free time in the city and surrounding areas. With great support from the local people and authorities, the participants on the optional tours enjoyed sightseeing, and learned about the disaster, and the community building, in Ishinomaki, Onagawa and Matsushima.

Photo: SUZUKI Shoichi

For those passengers from other parts of Japan, visiting and listening to the firsthand experience of the disaster offers a valuable insight to understanding the lessons learned. Some passengers and speakers visited the Kadowaki Elementary School building and the Okawa Elementary School building in Ishinomaki, both of which are designated and preserved as disaster ruins, and listened to the speakers’ talk on what happened at those sites. During a tour to Onagawa-cho, the participants learned about their unique reconstruction efforts from the mayor. They also had the chance to try out preparing hoya (sea squirt), which is a local specialty, by themselves.

Photo: SUZUKI Shoichi

As a part of Global University Special Program, in which participants learn about sustainable societies through the cruise, a group of youths from Japan, China, Thailand and Taiwan explored Ishinomaki. They met and discussed with members of the community and organizations that have been working for community building and tackling the local issues since the disaster.

As the departure time approached, a local dance group, Shoyu-kai, performed the Haneko Odori dance on the shore to close the visit. Many fireworks were displayed to see off Ocean Dream.

Photo: SUZUKI Shoichi

We are truly grateful for all the support our partners in Ishinomaki kindly offered to make this visit possible. The Peace Boat plans to visit the town again next summer.