Itako Team: “Creating an Imaginary Itako Town with Tsukuba University Students!”

On Nov. 7, Saturday, a workshop, “Creating an Imaginary Itako Town with Tsukuba University Students!” was carried out at the Itako Citizens Cultural Festival. It was an event to create an imaginary town using empty boxes and paper cups.
Many children came and took part in making buildings, people and vehicles, using their imagination and available materials. The children made a balloon flying in the sky, a Ferris wheel, an aquarium and much more. We were constantly reminded of how highly creative children can be.
Some of the adults that came with the children also took part and got absorbed in the work, and we were all able to enjoy the process together as well.
As a stunt to attract people who would not take part in the creative process, easy-to-attach irises were handed out at the reception on the 1st floor of the building. As a result, people of a wide range of age groups came and we were able to complete the Itako Town with the participation of many people.
By the end of the day, we were thrilled to see the completion of a town so beautiful, something far better than what we had imagined at the start. What was most gratifying was the fact that, through the creative workshop, the children and the adults engaged in lively conversation among themselves. With our art project, we feel that we were able to link together the people of Itako. It would be our joy if, in their effort to reconstruct Itako, the web of the residents’ network were to further expand.
(Ogasawara, 4th Year at School of Art & Design)


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Itako team takes part in Hinode Junior High School Festival

Oct. 11 (Saturday): Joint-production of Festival Signboard
In preparation for the school festival at Hinode Junior High School in Itako city, we collaborated with the students of the art club to create the stage signboard. Last year and the year before last, we also made the signboards together using designs that the college students had created. But this year, the junior high school students created the design and we gave them our support to complete it. Since a large number of us divided the work among us, the signboard was finished in less time than we had planned. Then, the art club teacher came up with an impromptu workshop to make key chains with plastic boards. As it gave us a chance to mingle with the students that we could not talk to when making the signboard, we had a very good time.

Nov. 1 (Saturday): Preparations on the eve of the Hinode Junior High School Festival
At the Festival, a section was set up to introduce the light art project for the Lantern Festival at Choonji Temple. It was our hope that the exhibit will introduce to the people who did not come to the Lantern Festival the activities of the Itako team, and that it would inspire some dialog about the region. The concept of the project, photographs of the gatherings with the junior high school students, photographs of the lighted lanterns, the layout of the lanterns and comments by the visitors to the Lantern Festival were displayed in chronological order.


Nov. 2 (Sunday): The day of the Festival
Some people stopped by and carefully looked at the exhibit, and some parents even took photographs in front of the exhibit panels. We also saw some students talking with one another as they looked at the exhibit. We were also awarded a certificate for a special prize in the exhibition division from Hinode Junior High School. By having many people look at our work, I believe that we have achieved our goal to inform people of our activities.
What was surprising was that the Festival Decoration Project that we had done the year before last has been carrying on. It was continued by teachers and students who had volunteered. As with the stage signboard, it make us very happy when proposals by the Itako team are continued by the students. We hope that the events that we were involved in will help strengthen the ties among the local people as they plan and conduct these events, such as in the case this time with Hinode Junior High School.
(3rd Year at School of Art & Design, Ogasawara)


Buddhist Lantern Festival at Choonji Temple, “Sora no Katachi (The pattern of the universe)”

The Itako team was in charge of the lighting effects of the lanterns on Aug. 13th and 14th at the Buddhist Lantern Festival at Choonji Temple (Itako-shi, Hinode) held from Aug. 13th to 16th. With help from the students at Itako City Hinode Junior High School, where the Itako team had conducted workshops, about 10,000 lanterns were set up. The lanterns represented the stars in the sky and the lighting was designed to portray the Milky Way, which was symbolic of the unlimited possibilities of the children who would be the main players of the region’s future. A message board was also installed on the grounds so that visitors to the shrine could write in any messages they wished. Many people left messages about the good things in Itako and about their memories of the Lantern Festival. Damages from the liquefaction phenomenon due to the earthquake are still quite apparent in the Choonji, Hinode Elementary and Junior High School areas, but we heard that proper restoration works are finally starting to happen. The students will carry out a questionnaire survey of the visitors and assess the changing needs of the area and try to incorporate the findings in their future activities. (Iida)


Buddhist Lantern Festival “Sora no Katachi (The pattern of the universe)”

The Itako team will be in charge of the lighting effects of the lanterns at the Buddhist Lantern Festival at Choonji Temple in Itako, Ibaraki-ken, from Aug. 13 to 16. The Buddhist Lantern Festival at Choonji Temple is an annual event held to express gratitude to the ancestors by offering them 10,000 lighted-lanterns during the Bon period every year. Since last year, prayers in memory of the victims and for the reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake have been included. The Itako team has set “Sora no Katachi (The pattern of the universe)” as the theme and will direct the lighting by likening the lanterns to the stars in the sky, representing the unlimited possibilities of the children, who will be the main players of the region’s future. The set up of the lanterns will be carried out with help from the students at Itako City Hinode Junior High School, where the Itako team had conducted workshops last year and the year before. Please come and join us. (Iida)
[Date & Time] Aug. 13 (Wed) to Aug. 16 (Sat), 6:30 pm (Lights come on) ~ 10:00 pm. No admission charge.
* Lighting display by CR Itako team only on 13th (Wed) and 14th (Thu).
* The Lantern Festival may be cancelled due to rain or strong winds.
[Place] Choonji Temple (Hinode, Itako-city, Ibaraki-ken)


Photographs: Scenes from the trial at the university.

Itako Team Tour

On May 23, the entire Itako Team went on a tour of the Itako-shi area. The Hinode area in Itako-shi is where massive damages were caused by liquefaction due to the Great East Japan Earthquake. Even though 3 years have passed since the earthquake, there are still roads that have not been repaired. Compared to last year, not much change could be detected in the parts that have been properly paved and that are still under works. Seeing firsthand of the situation made us realize the enormity of the damages that were hardly reported. (Top photo)
We also visited a temple called Suiunzan Choonji and met with the monk, Hashimoto-san, and asked him to tell us about the Hinode area. (Bottom photo) The most memorable words he mentioned were that the recovery of the kindergartens would lead to the protection of the town. Since Itako-shi is a new town, many of the parents’ generation come from other parts of the country, whereas for the children born here in Itako-shi, Itako will be their hometown and they might grow up to be in charge of developing the future of the town. Activities of Jibo Kindergarten, which Choonji runs, were introduced to us and we were impressed by its positive and constructive attitude. Once again, I vowed to give support to the region. (Yamazaki, 3rd Year at School of Art & Design)


Itako City Hinode Elementary and Middle Schools Joint Workshop

On Oct. 31, the Itako team carried out a Halloween event, “Workshop: Making masks with paper bags”, for the 4th graders of Itako City Hinode Elementary School in Ibaraki Prefecture.

The elementary school children full of energy made their original masks with paper bags, and they will be photographed with their masks on.  The art club students at Hinode Middle School, who had done the workshop in August, also came with the CR students to help the elementary school children.

The Itako team’s theme is to strengthen the ties among the new residential areas, an issue that was revealed after the earthquake, and is planning on workshops that join together the elementary and middle schools, which are the region’s educational centers.  Scenes from this workshop were shown at Hinode Middle School Festival on Nov. 9, and drew the attention of middle school students as well as the parents and elementary school children who came to the event.  (Iida)






Workshop with Hinode Junior High School, Itako City

On the morning of August 21st (Tuesday), we held a paper bag mask making workshop with students from the art club at Hinode Junior High School in Itako City. Paper bags are easy to obtain, easy to manipulate, and a familiar everyday item for everyone. In this workshop, students made their own original masks out of paper bags, and took photos wearing them in various poses. The task of making eye holes at the correct position cannot be done alone. One person must wear the mask and point to where their eyes are, and the other person then marks those points on the mask. This ensures the holes will be in the right place. Such cooperative tasks, although small, are very important too.

Once the masks were finished, the students tried them on and also made their friends and teachers wear them too. It was a day full of fun and laughter as they enjoyed seeing the surprising designs thought up by their friends. After taking a group photo to remember the day, the students wrote short essays about their experience, and offered suggestions about how to improve the materials and tools we used. This workshop also served as a practice run for the Halloween workshop that will be held on October 31st (Thursday) for students from both the Hinode elementary and junior high schools. Students from the two schools do not have much interaction with each other, and we hope these workshops will be an opportunity for strengthening and broadening bonds for the community, by letting these students share memories together. The next workshop will have 100 participants in total, making it a totally different scale to this one. We learned from this workshop that we need to ensure we are very well prepared in advance. (Kamiura)

Itako team: Decorating for the School Festival

The goal of this operation was to create inviting designs and trimmings for the Itako city junior high school festival. The Hinode area where the school is located has been suffering from the ground liquefaction phenomenon and damage can still be seen on roads and pathways today.
The Itako team’s efforts aimed to boost an animated, bustling ambiance for the event and enthusiasm quickly spread throughout the entire area.
The group visited the school several times before the festival opened in order to devise decorating plans and needs.

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Vision Formulation : Assignment – Class Presentation

During the summer holidays, 7 teams have been formed to conduct research in various areas as an exercise related to the Vision Formulation.

Today the groups presented the research results to their classmates. Each team utilized a different approach to the reconstruction, which gave rise to a rich and compelling discourse among the students. We aspire to continue working towards the realization of each of these plans. (Kataoka)

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