Miyagi Prefecture and Ishinomaki in particular are famous for producing the delicacy sea squirts. However, the tsunami greatly affected this industry, with none able to be harvested last year. The Peace Boat fishery and coastal support team has conducted activities to support those committed to the coastal recovery, and reviving the fishing industry. This article explains the process to produce sea squirts.
The ”Oraho’s Machizukuri Oen” programme held as part of the Ishinomaki volunteering experience offers a rich and intense two-day program to see sides of Ishinomaki which cannot be experienced in other ways.
This programme’s highest priority is the chance to meet with local people. Participants can create their visions of the future together with the local people while listening to their passions and plans to rebuild their community and businesses.
“Please come and visit Ishinomaki to find new attractions of Ishinomaki as a revitalizing town, not only as the disaster-affected Ishinomaki. You will also be able to feel where Japan is going through these two-day programs. We are really looking forward to meeting you all in Ishinomaki.”
The fishing village of Funakoshi sits on the northern side of the Ogatsu Peninsula, about a one-hour drive from central Ishinomaki. Today, there is no sight of children at the Funakoshi Primary School, where the 17m-high tsunami flooded up to the 3rd floor. In the school building, however, you can hear the laughter of the ‘Funakoshi Ladies’ in their workshop, furnished with tatami-mats in the hallway.
The ‘Funakoshi Ladies’ now famously make and sell necklaces and cellphone straps made from Ogatsu Stone, as well as “Kai-no-Netsuke (shell charms)”, a popular charm for happiness in marriage.
Miyagi Prefecture is proud to cultivate the second largest volume of oysters in Japan. Volunteers are active helping to collect scallop shells to use for the cultivation of oysters. This is especially important as the recovery of the fishing industry is vital for the local community, yet many local residents working on this are elderly people living in temporary housing or partially damaged houses.
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.
New 15-second videos Vol. 8 to 11 covering Peace Boat’s activities in Ishinomaki have been uploaded to Youtube by the Ganbatte 365 project introduced earlier on this website.
See below for two clips of Peace Boat efforts supporting the production of Ogatsu stone accessories and Peace Boat volunteers interacting with local shop owners.
Slate stones are a traditional industry of Ogatsu town, near Ishinomaki. Volunteers have been working to collect these resilient stones, many of which were washed away in the tsunami, to enable them to be reused for various things such as roof tiles, accessories and ink stones.
Peace Boat first got to know Mr Nakazato on July 2 at the Ogatsu Recovery Market. He is a fisherman in Funakoshi, a small village with a population of 320 before the disaster. In the tsunami most homes and storehouses were washed away, but miraculously Mr Nakazato’s property survived. That’s why he puts himself last and is working tirelessly to help his fellow fishermen.
Short-term and weekly volunteer positions for September are now open. We are now in need of volunteers to help with diversifying needs including cleaning of graves, fishing industry support, provision of bath facilities, delivery of daily necessities to temporary housing facilities assistance with town-building activities.
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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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