To benefit the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that shook the lives of so many in March 2011, 49 artists from 18 countries came together in Singapore to rerecord Coldplay’s Fix You. This song has now been released worldwide, and all proceeds will go towards the Japanese Red Cross Society and Peace Boat.
Peace Boat has been carrying out its relief operations with the support of many individuals and organisations both within and outside Japan. As well as the international volunteers featured in reports on this site earlier, many members of the international community living in Japan have been greatly active in supporting the relief and recovery efforts going on since March. One such group is the Nigerian community in Japan, who gathered to support Peace Boat’s project for people moving into temporary housing in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture.
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The “Ishinomaki Recovery Market” was set up at the Kawabiraki Festival to sell local and traditional products of stores that had re-opened since the disaster, with proceeds of sales further contributing to recovery efforts. Another popular area was the Ishinomaki Childrens’ Play Area, set up to provide somewhere for children to enjoy themselves – still rare in Ishinomaki, where many parks cannot be used. 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!
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49 Junior High School students from Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture who travelled through Asia onboard Peace Boat will return to Japan tomorrow (August 4, 2011). The youth ambassadors, from 6 different schools in Minamisoma will return to Japan having completed a 13-day journey to Viet Nam, Singapore and Sri Lanka since their departure from Minamisoma on July 23. A press conference will be held at Narita on August 4.
A new poetry book by Welsh writer based in Yokohama Jon Mitchell has been published this week, with all sales going to support Peace Boat’s ongoing relief efforts in Tohoku. “march and after – poems from tsunami country” – chronicles life in Japan following the 3.11 earthquake, and is available in limited edition hard cover and e-book version also. See here for more details.
“After I volunteered in Ishinomaki, I wanted to make sure it didn’t just end as a ‘good experience’ and I wanted to keep doing as much as I can even back in Tokyo.”
After volunteering in Ishinomaki between May 20-28, Mr Sekine Masataka is now active volunteering to support the relief efforts from Tokyo.
Many people felt that they wanted to contribute something immediately after the earthquake, and yet many people are have not been able to directly go to the disaster affected areas due to work duties or physical capacity. Peace Boat has many opportunities for such people to support the activities even from in Tokyo.
A volunteer from the UK has launched a project to sell tshirts designed by the children of Minato Primary School in Ishinomaki, with all funds going to Peace Boat’s disaster relief activities – see more details here.
“There are many people gathering here from all over Japan and even overseas to take action together. And of course we are working together with the local people for recovery. Looking at this happening, it is amazing to see what we can achieve together. Although the lives of the town and people will never go back to as it was, the community is working hard to create a new life together. I really hope that I can continue to contribute in some way to this.”
Over 180 non-Japanese volunteers, or ‘International Volunteers,’ have joined Peace Boat’s relief activities. As a rural town, Ishinomaki does not see many non-Japanese visitors, so the presence of International Volunteers is a source of fascination and encouragement for the locals. As many helping hands as possible is needed in Ishinomaki, and it is important to include non-Japanese in these efforts – both people resident in Japan and from elsewhere. Domestic news coverage of the destruction is on the wane. The presence of the international community still continues to be needed in Japan so that the devastation may not be forgotten, and efforts to rebuild can be continued together.