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).
Peace Boat has just finished two months of emergency relief work in Wakayama Prefecture. This is an interview with Suzuki Takayuki, who coordinated the activities of volunteers for a total of 1700 working days in the area since September 8.
The Ishinomaki port and surrounding areas are some of the areas most severely affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Many factories and industries affiliated with fisheries suffered serious damage. This is a report of relief being carried near the ports, focusing on the Mitsuwa Seihyo Ice Factory, to eventually lead to the recovery of the fishing industry.
On December 1, events will be held at Chukyo University in Aichi prefecture (Toyota in the afternoon, Nagoya in the evening) which will also be the venue for a mid-term report on the volunteer activities in Ishinomaki.
We hope this will be an opportunity to learn from the lessons of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, and to consider the potential of cooperation between NGOs and universities.
We would also like to invite all Aichi residents that volunteered in Ishinomaki to join us for this event.
The first term of the Disaster Volunteer Leader training took place in Ishinomaki from November 5-11, 2011. Participants received training in safety and first aid, volunteer coordination, leadership skills and more. See here for details.
The Peace Boat fishing industry assistance volunteers have been active at many ports and coastal areas of the eastern part of Ishinomaki City and the Oshika Peninsula, as introduced on this page previously. This time, the team is also active on land, helping to build vegetable plots.
Matsumura Junichi has been working long term as a volunteer in charge of one of the volunteer accommodation facilities – a vital aspect of Peace Boat’s volunteer programme. Initially, volunteers were asked to bring their own tents during their stay in Ishinomaki. In conjunction with volunteer activities becoming long-term, more diverse and increasing in scale, volunteers are now provided with accommodation facilities with a roof and four walls. It is from these facilities that they depart each day to carry out volunteer activities.
“Mattsun” (Matsumura Junichi) has been in charge of operating one of the volunteer accommodation facilities located in a store called “Kaska Fashion.” This entry tells of the facilities provided and Mattsun’s experiences in Ishinomaki.
The Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Centre has started a monthly magazine of information from Ishinomaki, to share with people who have joined volunteer activities in Ishinomaki to date.
Although only available in Japanese, the magazine is now available online here: “Ishinomaku Tsuushin – Omoi Tendenko”
Peace Boat is now creating a weekly newspaper to be delivered to temporary housing throughout Ishinomaki as part of its relief activities. Currently it is being delivered to around 4000 households in 70 different locations. (The newspaper itself can be downloaded at the bottom of this report.)