At the 3rd session of Vision Formulation, Mr. Kikuo Morimoto, Representative of the Institute for Khmer Traditional Textiles (IKTT), came and spoke about “Traditional textiles and the reconstruction of life”.
He spoke about how he restored the traditional Cambodian silk textile, Khmer textile, and the story of how the current village was developed. ”I wanted to make something of real quality, and I believed that if something of genuine quality can be sold, I would be able to employ the local people.” It was from such thoughts that prompted him to start by cultivating the wilderness and planting mulberry trees. His story was very inspiring and informative. It made us realize that not only is it essential to rediscover local traditions and resources, but also to follow tradition and take it to the next stage for further development. (Akagi)
On April 25-26, we went on an over-night Iwaki study tour. This year, 58 students took part in the tour. The tour was organized so that the students could actually see with their own eyes, 3 years after the disastrous earthquake, the current state of Iwaki-city in Fukushima, which was affected by both the earthquake and the nuclear power station accident. We also visited people who had appeared in the movie “Iwaki Note” produced by FUKUSHIMA VOICE, and listened to their invaluable stories.
On the first day, we visited Yu-Yu Farm, where they are growing a fruit called “feijoa”, and asked about the farming situation in Fukushima and how they are affected by the harmful rumors. Then, we went to the Snake Museum of Contemporary Art where the Iwaki Flourishing Cherry Blossoms Project is being held, and spoke to the representative director. After we had checked into our hotel, we asked an Iwaki-resident surfer, a news photographer in Iwaki, and a reporter from Iwaki Kyodo News Service to come over and give talks from their respective points of view on the situation at the time of the earthquake and the current state of Iwaki-city. The question-answer period was very lively and turned out to be a very meaningful occasion. (Akagi)
This year too, on June 1st and 2nd, we organised an inspection tour of two days in Sanriku. We wanted to see with our own eyes how the situation was in the stricken areas two years after the disaster. This year, 40 people took part in the tour, students and teachers all together.
On the first day, we visited the “recovery shopping street” of Ishinomaki city, and the participants had lunch in the shopping street restaurants or at the cafeterias run by students. Then we headed to the district of Kadowaki, a coastal area of Ishinomaki, visited the Kadowaki primary school, and also “Don’t give up Ishinomaki / ARIGATOU House”, and we got a chance to ask Mr Ogata, in charge of the “ARIGATOU House” about his experience of the disaster. We will remember that he feels that there is a gap between the reality of the situation and what is broadcast, and also him saying, “Rather than next year or the year after, I want to know what tomorrow will be like.” Compared to last year, the mountains of debris had shrunk, the ruins of the buildings that were taken away by the tsunami were replaced by wide grass fields and empty lands, and the absence of people left us with a strong impression of sadness.
After we entered the Oshika Peninsula where we were to stay, we heard from the people that are carrying volunteer activities in the area, about the state of confusion just after the disaster, and the current problem of decrease of population, and how this issue is addressed.
After dining at the hotel, each participant talked about his/her impression of the first day. Some said “Even though I’m here, I still couldn’t believe it was true. I felt how difficult it is to imagine. ” “I felt helplessness.”, “I was able to verify with my own eyes, and not through the media.” and expressed feelings of perplexion, and it was a very constructive time for everybody to be able to share opinions.
On the second day, we first visited Onagawacho, and saw the building that the tsunami had knocked down and left as a mere iron frame. We then went to the “recovery shopping street” of the Minami-Sanriku district, had a nice local lunch, and gathered again at the temporary housing of Prof. Ando.
Finally, we visited the production place of Ono-kun from Higashi-Matsushima, and the sight of the temporary housing inhabitants happily making the dolls freed us from the feeling of helplessness we had the first day, giving us hope that recovery can be reached if we started by whatever little things we can do.
We would like to thank all the people that helped us with this trip to Sanriku and told us precious stories and useful advice. I hope that the way the participant students will share what they saw with their own eyes during this trip with the rest of the team, will help push further our activities.
Today the second group arrived in Sanriku. The structure of their visit was very similar the first group’s.
During the hour-long drive from Ofunato to our lodgings in Rikuzentakada, we spoke with Ruriko Mori, a survivor of the tsunami. She told us about the extent of the damages at the time.
As an intensive course for the CR project, we organized a visit to Sanriku for 2 days and one night. Due to the large number of participants (60 people), we have divided into 2 groups. Today we are taking the first group to carry out an inspection — along with the teachers there is a total of 40 people. We traveled to Sanriku aboard a large charter bus.
Launch of the CR project’s webpage
We are proud to present the website for the Creative Reconstruction Project! This page will serve as a platform for announcements and reports related to the program. For reference, this project will be commonly called the « CR Project », as an abbreviation of « Creative Reconstruction Project ». (Kataoka)
The Yappeshi Festival was held in the Ofunato Dream, a temporary shopping street in the city of Ofunato. The road was crowded with workshops organized by volunteers from Tokyo, food stands and numerous visitors enjoying themselves. (Kataoka)
We met with Mr. Yoshiyuki Matsumura, owner of a sporting goods store in Ishinomaki. He told us about the Ofunato Dream shopping street and the situation of the shelters. (Kataoka) ）