OPEN JAPAN ブログ - 日々の活動などなど

渡波明神社のまつり!~その2~ with Jillian


Volunteers (many college students) outside the Car Sharing office.

During the first part of my volunteer time with Open Japan, I helped with a project called “Japan Car Sharing Association.” Tsunami survivors can share cars donated by various people and companies. One woman told us how she had just gone shopping and was driving in her car when the tsunami struck. Fortunately, her car was stopped by some electrical poles, so she was able to survive. Now, she says her shared car helps her get to the hospital–before, her taxi bills were more expensive than her hospital bills.

Yukari helps prepare stickers for the Car Sharing cars.

For the second part of my time with One Japan, I helped with a project called “Sanraisu” / “Sunrise”. This project delivers donated, 3 kg bags of rice to senior citizens living alone in temporary housing. While the rice is a great gift, one of the main parts of this project is to check in with the elderly and make sure they are alright–that they can get around, that they can be involved with the community. Many of them are very grateful for an ear to listen to them. Even though I lacked the Japanese vocabulary to have a meaningful conversation, I think they were encouraged that people from not only all over Japan, but from all over the world, care about the people of Japan. (Picture–Haruka with a temporary housing resident).

Live painting

For my third project, I helped prepare a shrine for Children’s Day. The first day we cleaned up, and the second day we helped with the festival. Many events, such as live painting, taiko performances, and children’s games made it an exciting time. There was also a lot of donated food and drink, such a tuna sashimi and amazake (a sweet, non-alcoholic sake) that made it a delicious, as well as fun, day.

Some boys play a game where pine cones are thrown into different baskets for points.

Kids are invited up to try taiko playing.

The littlest taiko player.

Yukako shows off the prizes for the children’s games.

Taiko drummers giving a dedicated performance.
Banners flown during the taiko performance.
Some festival guests –including Open Japan volunteers, such as Kin from Hong Kong, are given the chance to try taiko as well.

Ishinkomaki citizens and Open Japan volunteers help carry the portable shrine around the temple and neighborhood.

Time to clean up!

My broom dance.

Yukako cleans up as well.

Cleaning up the shrine before the temple. A rainstorm the day before had left a lot of debris around the place; to say nothing about broken glass, wood, and stones left over from the tsunami.

Following Friday’s shrine clean-up, we had a BBQ where local Ishinomaki natives joined us for drinks and food. I was touched by the people’s generosity, as well as the stories they shared. This gentleman told us about the shrine’s connection to sumo wrestling, as well as his personal experiences following the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. (Jillian)

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