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.
This is a report on Peace Boat’s disaster relief activities after the heavy rain and flooding in Takeda City, Oita Prefecture, Kyushu.
At midnight on July 20, 5 days after the Peace Boat advance team entered Takeda City, 9 staff members including the first volunteer team arrived at the site together with materials and equipment for relief work. They then began to meet with staff members of the local Disaster Volunteer Center run by the Takeda CIty Social Welfare Council, and launched relief efforts for mud shoveling and cleaning.
The Peace Boat Center Ishinomaki opened on June 2. The acceptance of the local community has been growing, and there are now around 20 local visitors each day. Including the many large-scale events, the Center has welcomed over 1,000 people in the six weeks since it opened.
This report outlines a day at the Peace Boat Center, including volunteer activities, events, and more.
A new voluntary project has launched since May 2012 in Oshika Peninsula, Ishinomaki City. As a part of the ongoing fishing support, Peace Boat is assisting to paint Tairyo-ki (large colorful flags that symbolizes the wishes for a good catch and safe fishing) on the side-face of containers that have been used as storage.
As the containers are plain brown, they are not a very appealing sight on the landscape, sitting on bare soil. So, in response to a request from fishermen from Koami-Kurahama, Peace Boat agreed to help make these containers instead into a symbol of recovery.
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 Onagawa Temporary Shopping Avenue consists of eight shops that provide support for local residents’ daily life and employment. The shops include a florist, beauty salon, electrical shop, grocery shop and others. Peace Boat’s volunteer carpenters provided support to complete the expansion of the shopping avenue, which began operating in July 2011. As time passed, additional needs for things such as outdoor display shelves and a more cheerful interior so that more customers will visit have risen, aiming for the Shopping Avenue to sustain its business.
Little by little the work was done daily, and after a few months, the Shopping Avenue is now looking like a tiny shopping mall, with even a courtyard for holding small events. Peace Boat will continue to provide regular maintenance work, as well as installing solar power panels and insulation.
“Oraho’s experience” (“my experience” in Tohoku dialect) is a new volunteer programme launched in 2012, in which participants can interact more with local people in the disaster affected areas by talking, eating, and sleeping together, not just working together. Peace Boat initiated this programme in the hope that participants can gain a rich experience based on direct personal connections with the local community, and that this programme can bring people closer together and inspire more ideas for the future.
This article features an interview with Komori Shizu, a participant in the 2nd program held in Oginohama, and local fisherman Fushimi Kaoru who hosted her.
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.
As Peace Boat volunteers went around distributing copies of the “Kasetsu Kizuna Shimbun” newspaper, the residents of these facilities often shared their troubles with us. It was their voices which inspired the volunteers to start creating maps of the local area, bus schedules and information about other local services for the communities living in temporary housing facilities.
The first fishing experience programme was held in Sudachi/Fukiura, Ojika Peninsula. The first day was action packed, ranging from an excursion to the Ishinomaki Fish Market, trying gill net fishing, removing oyster shells, a study tour around the community, and exchange with the local fishermen, while the second day was Wakame seaweed harvesting offshore! Participants also participated in workshops entitled “considering the future of the fishing village.” Although the progra,,e was only one night and two days, participants absolutely fell in love with Sudachi/Fukuira. This programme is a new initiative in uncharted territory of “volunteering,” which we hope will provide an opportunity for many people to consider the future of fishing villages in the Tohoku area.