One Step Towards Recovery – Ties Between Survivors and Volunteers – Documentary showing the activities of the Peace Boat Disaster Volunteer Centre in Ishinomaki, Japan following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011. (Japanese language, subtitled in English). Documentary / 27 minutes / Director: Yamakawa Takuya September 2011 / Created by Funnypro in cooperation with Church World Service
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.
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.”
A volunteer team from the Malaysian Association of Youth Club (MAYC) spent five days in Ishinomaki between 18-22 October, working together with the local community to help support the recovery of the local fishing industry.
To date, international volunteers from 49 countries have worked together with Peace Boat.
The 20 members of the Malaysian Association of Youth Club were in their 20s-40s, and came all the way from Malaysia to contribute to supporting Japan. Having experience in disaster relief activities in their own country, they were able to play a large role in the activities, particularly supporting the recovery of the local fishing industry.
On October 1, the long-standing business of the Takahashi Tokuji Store, established in 1905, recommenced business operations.
At the time of the disaster in March, a 7-meter tsunami hit the store which was producing kamaboko (minced fish products) and the store was filled with mud of 20cm in depth.
This report is about the “fire-lighting ceremony” which was held to celebrate this occasion.
The second half in the report following Cleaning Team Assistant Director Ichijo Kenji, who has been in Ishinomaki since March 21 and is responsible for debris clearance and home cleaning activities.
As the local needs change with every day, the Peace Boat volunteers are also required to adapt to developments in their varied activities. This report follows Cleaning Team Assistant Director Ichijo Kenji for a day. Mr Ichijo, known as Mantle, has been in Ishinomaki since March 21 when he travelled ahead to prepare to receive the first 50 volunteers, and since then has been responsible for debris clearance and home cleaning activities.
Orientations, training and safety measures for volunteers have been developed greatly as the activities have proceeded over the past six months. Read here for further information about such issues.
On September 11, 6 months after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami caused unprecedented damage, 10 high school students from Tochigi Prefecture came to help with Peace Boat’s debris removing volunteer activities.
One of the students said, “I am sure that I will happily remember this day one day when I eat fish that are caught in Miyagi. That’s what I am looking forward to!”
We hope that the students tell their family and friends from school about their experiences after returning home and that these experiences become something that they will benefit from in the future.
Taylor Anderson was an assistant English teacher from the United States who lost her life in the tsunami. Taylor was teaching English at 7 schools in Ishinomaki city, a place she was known to love. Four members of her family came to Ishinomaki on September 8.
Peace Boat was contacted by Taylor’s family because they wanted to volunteer. As a result, the Anderson family participated in Peace Boat’s clean-up activities in the Shintate region.
We interviewed Taylor’s father Andy about his visit to Japan and his motivation for joining the volunteer activities.