On December 23, a special Christmas event was held at Hashiura Elementary School in Ishinomaki. The event included a special class by Mr Ototake Hirotada, well-known for his book “No One’s Perfect,” a live performance by FUNKIST and a concert by the “music volunteer club” formed by students of this school.
Kinkasan around 20 minutes by boat from Ayukawa on the Oshika Peninsula, Ishinomaki. Located in the Pacific Ocean, the entire island of Kinkasan is considered to be sacred areas of Koganeyama Shrine. Because it is said that if you visit this shrine for three consecutive years, you will never be in financial difficulties for the rest of your life, the shrine attracts many visitors from throughout Miyagi and other prefectures every year around the new year.
The road connected to the approach, however, was collapsed after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and subsequent typhoons. The island’s only souvenir shop was inundated with dirt and sludge, as was the water tank that holds the water required for daily life. Thus, the island was not in the condition to host visitors. To once again enable people to visit the island comfortably, organizations belonging to the Ishinomaki Disaster Recovery Assistance Council (IDRAC) gathered and implemented the “Kinkasan Support Project” between December 19 and 23.
Peace Boat activities to support the local fishing industry in the Ishinomaki area were carried out in 16 coastal locations in Ogatsu and the Oshika Peninsula, on 160 days in 2011. Throughout 2011, a total of 10,300 volunteers (7,757 Peace Boat regular and short-term volunteers (including international volunteers) and 2,543 corporate volunteers) took part in this operation.
While providing assistance for aqua-farming season may be restarted in 2012, Peace Boat would first like to extend our appreciation to all those who participated in activities this year, and report on the results of 2011.
The documentary, “One Step Towards Recovery – Ties Between Survivors and Volunteers” is now available on line! It is a 24-minute-long film featuring the Kawabiraki festival held in Ishinomaki this summer, interviews with local survivors, and footage of relief activities such as provision of meals, mud clearance and fishing industry support.
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Blog photographer shares a personal episode meeting an elderly couple while distributing the Kizuna newspaper in Ishinomaki’s temporary housing. The accumulation of such connections will truly create a bond, “Kizuna” between volunteers and disaster victims.
Since the Kizuna Newspaper was launched in October, it has received many compliments, with residents giving thanks for the deliveries, and expressing that they look forward to talking with the volunteers. These compliments come as a result of all the efforts made by Peace Boat volunteers, symbolized by the Peace Boat blue bibs, including efforts in meal provision, cleaning and assistance in evacuation centres in Ishinomaki.
The first term of the “Disaster Relief Volunteer Leader Training,” in which 15 people participated from November 5-11, has successfully finished. From November 19, 13 participants also joined.
This report interviews two people who participated in the first term, sharing their impressions of the seven days.
Pal System Consumers Cooperative Union has been carrying out relief activities since soon after the disaster, cooperating with Peace Boat in the provision of meals and dispatch of staff members as volunteers to assist mud removal and cleaning activities. Since before the earthquake, Pal System had been distributing products of the Maruto Takahashi Tokuji Shoten, however this was forced to stop after the factories were severely affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Yet after volunteer cleanup efforts, the products are now back for sale as part of Pal System’s “Reconstruction Assistance Project.”
From November 23 to 27, “Tomoni-Mae-e-Ganbaru Shotengai Matsuri” (Let’s Work Together Together to Move Forward Shopping Street Festival) was held in the center of Ishinomaki, near the headquarters of the Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Centre. Aitopia-dori, Hashi-dori and Kotobukichominami-dori were the main streets of this festival. As well as a sale held by all the stores on the shopping streets, many events and activities were planned. These included supporting shops from all over the country, giving away saury fish for free; Ishinomaki’s traditional “Hidakamitaiko” (Japanese drum) and street performers, amongst more. With all these, the few days were filled with energy strong and warm enough to blow away the cold. This report will mainly cover an event of the first day of the festival, making a Jumbo Norimaki (sushi roll).