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April 20, 2014 / Mika Riedel

Go! Hibiki Kids!

Everybody, good morning, good afternoon and good evening! I am Natsukichi, a Nijiiro Crayons’ staff member.

Ooh… It’s cold. Cutting cold wind attacking me… Ouch Ouch! “This shivering… I don’t want to go outside… Shall we play inside….?” Only lazy adults think this. Coldness means nothing to children. They are very active.

Their first word was…

“Le~t’s play badminton” Aya-chan said with idiom. Oh, Aya-chan, you’re a real native speaker of Tohoku. I wonder someday I’ll be able to speak with Tohoku accent (*She is from Nagoya in Tokai area)

When I was thinking that, a birdie sang through the air “Zing!”

“You’ve done it! Only you think I don’t!”

Got started badminton. Keeping rally, our bodies got warmer and warmer. However cold the day is, if we move, everything becomes O.K.

Oh, we’ve found an icy puddle on the back of the assembly building! We all try not to break the ice placing a big wooden stick together on it. We tried to cross over to the other side on the wooden stick, trying not to fall.

I wanted to take photos, but I was busy trying not to fall myself, and watching  and shouting at the kids not falling. The children took another step and another on the woody stick. Some pickles teased “Falling-Down Falling-Down♪”

Imagine the children carefully walking on a big wooden stick on the solid frozen ice! The children who watched over their friends were incredibly adorable.

We all get it done and got in the assembly building. Come on! Let’s enjoy a card game today! Which challenger was winner today?


Here, a boy is making something with clay.

“No, this color is a little different from my feeling…”

“This should be done like this…”

Murmuring aloud, Soushi-kun seems to make something. What will come to the world??


Here, some kids seem to play a sort of chess with Lego blocks. Children can always convert anything into games. Excellent!


Finally, Nijiiro Croyon’s kids played “tag-ball in the darkness” and went home harmoniously together.

Hibiki’s children are good friends every time. Today’s members are Onchyan-Sisho and I, Natsukichi. We’ll be goooing out next week!

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 1/21/2014.

Translated by Takako Kawamukai and Natsu Hirukawa.

April 13, 2014 / Mika Riedel

Buzzing Bustling !

Hello! I’m Yuki, a Nijiiro staff member. Today we held our session in Koyocho Community Center.

Though it was already afternoon, a boy dashed into the room, loudly saying “good morning!”, and started to play with clay as usual!


A tomboy girl was playing ping pong lively on an impromptu long table without caring coldness at all. The children in Koyocho seem to be cheerful as always.


Seeing the hall, some girls were playing with a long-rope, peacefully skipping. But next to them, Mura-san and some boys were playing an intense ping pong match. Like the children in the provisional housing in the residential district of Koyocho yesterday, table tennis seems to be really popular here too!


However, a girl who picked up a racket first said she would join a tennis club when she enters the middle school, not table tennis…Hahaha…


At the end of our session, Natsukichi read some picture books to the children. Although sometimes distracted by some older girls, others were so engaged in the story of Twelve horary signs. I could see how much children love picture books!!


With many younger and older children all together, today’s session became more bustling than usual.

Today’s staff members were five of us; On-chan master, Mura-san, Yama-chan, Natsukichi and Yuki. Thank you very much!

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 1/16/2014.

Translated by Mao Ohtake and Natsu Hirukawa.

April 9, 2014 / Mika Riedel

Kick off! The ping-pong club and the Ceramic Art club

Hello! I’m Yuuki, a member of “Nijiiro-Crayon”staff.

Belated Happy New Year! Today we had our activities at the provisional housing in the residential district of Koyocho. The first act of the year here! But some of the children had met me last week.

Let’s start today’s activities with a greeting “akemashite omedetou! (It means Happy New Year!)”

We immediately prepared an improvised ping-pong table with a good arrangement of long tables that there were in the assembly hall and we played.

At first, children were not familiar with playing ping-pong. They had a hard time but thanks to special (or comical?) coaches, Mura-san and Hoka-chan, children showed rapid progress. By teaching each other, they got enthusiastic and they enjoyed ping-pong. Here in Koyocho, it seems that a ping-pong movement has emerged.


From the other side, it has started a class of “cloisonne work” by Onchan-Sisho and Natsukichi.


Bringing a tiny kiln in its maximum temperature it needs 800ºC ! (1472ºF), Giving children a tutorial of “cloisonne work”, they were putting children’s creations in a heated kiln one after another.

After they counted 60 seconds, they found their creations hot from the kiln, and children got really excited! They took their creations back home with delight. And some of the children that could not complete them today, they’ll finish them next time.

We’re looking forward to seeing any works of genius next time. Today varied “Bukatsu” (club activities at school) have been played actively.

Our five members today were: Onchan-Sisho, Mura-san, Hoka-chan, Natsukichi and Yuuki. Thank you for today!

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 1/15/2014.

Translated by Takako Kawamukai and Maria Koimisoglou.

March 29, 2014 / Mika Riedel

Play Leader’s Workshop Report

Hoka’s report.

Today, we met Medaka-sensei for the first time in ages and had a lovely time at the Play Leader’s workshop! It would be great if more people attended our next meeting, so I’d like to fill you in on what we talked about today.

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The theme of the workshop was “Risk Management and Crisis Management”. Our work requires us to look after both the physical and mental health of the children, so this theme is extremely important to us.



Starting with a case-study based on the Nijiiro Crayon’s own activities, we discussed a range of topics from whether a child could learn from injuring themselves to the responsibilities of a child at play; particularly in the playground, where “children play at their own risk”.

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I’ll be sure to make use of what I learnt today to make our future activities better! Medaka-sensei, thank you very much for talking with us!

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Today’s participants were Medaka-sensei (as a lecturer),  Onchan-Shisho, Boo-chan, Nattsu and Hoka!

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 1/13/2014.

Translated by Takako Kawamukai and Ayako Hamada.

March 22, 2014 / Mika Riedel

The provisional housing on “ Asahi Kasei Power Devices Corp” properties

Hoka’s report

Today is the monthly activity at the Asahi Kasei Power Devices Corp properties.

Last month, in December, we  were doing our activities while it was snowing.

Today, we enjoyed the fine warm weather..

Outside, both children and staff played games like relay, tag, rope-jumping , “Don! jyan ken pon!”(Bump! rock, paper, scissors!) and “like-a-helicopter-”, the paper toy!


In the room everybody made his arrangements for having a relaxed coffee break…There was only white clay. We colored it with colorful pens and… Look! A wonderful-looking parfait is coming right up♪



This is our sewing group which consists of mothers that come from around the region. . 

Y-chan, who is a member of the sewing club, was stitching and stitching, putting and putting ribbon-hair accessories and frog mascots. Her work gave adults such a big surprise. It’s amazingly beautiful.


Now, this is the Karuta group (a traditional Japanese game with cards). Everybody seemed to heating up! Let’s focus our attention on cards!

After today’s activities, we handed out the flyers of “Nijiiro Crayon” around the area.


Even if the snow was falling and the weather was getting  colder and colder, we all enjoyed our day, and we were laughing until the end.

Today our staff members are: Natsukichi, Sayabou, Hide-san, Rei-chan and Hoka!

Thank you very much for today one more time! Kids! We’ll be back here in February again. Take care!

How to play “Don! jyan ken pon!”(Bump! rock, paper, scissors!).

1, Draw a line (about 20 meters long) on the ground.

2, Divide people into two groups and tell them to stand each one in opposite sides of the drawn line.

3, First, the leader of each group go above the line.

4, When they bump into, they say “Don!”, touching their hands and the afterwards they say “jyan, ken, pon! (Bump! rock, paper, scissors!)”

5, The winner can go ahead. The loser has to go back and bring up the rear of his group. The next person of the loser’s group leaves soon and says “Don! jyan ken pon!” again.

Keep repeating that. The first group that get to the other’s territory  is the winner.

 Translated by Takako Kawamukai and Maria Koimisoglou.

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 1/11/2014.

March 16, 2014 / Mika Riedel

Power of kids! Power of adults!

Hoka’s report

Today, many volunteers of senior but young staff got together: Makiken from Yamaguchi Prefecture, who is a Boo-chan’s elementary school teacher, Mura-san from Ishinomaki-city, Sen-jii (“jii” means “old man”) who is a parent of Onchan-Shisho, and Retsu-san.

Before Nijiiro Crayons’s activities, Makiken offered a workshop for local adults on “Enjoying poems by Misuzu Kaneko”. I heard they really “looooved” the workshop. So they greeted us more warmly than usual.

So we started today’s Nijiiro Crayons activity in a warm atmosphere left behind in the assembly room.

Some kids lay down and relaxed on the tatami floor as soon as they entered the assembly room. They also seemed to feel the warmth in the air. Such a good feeling soon spreads out to everyone, don’t you think?

Inside the room some kids began preparing for make-believe shops, and others started playing tag outside. :)

As it got colder, I thought that they wouldn’t get thirsty, so there was no need for me to bring tea. After all the running around though, everyone needed a good drink.

Mr. Jirou-san came back again after missing a couple of activities and was a big hit with the kids today! Way to go Mr. Jirou-san!

Little kids first!

Finally, candy suppliers for kids in the Minamizakai’s usual fashion wrapped things up. Today it really brought home to me what a large part senior members play in our volunteer staff! Just having them here gives me a relaxed feeling. Maybe the children have the same feeling.

Also, the power of children. These days I feel that they are growing up more and more each day. Today I again felt that I want to give back the energy that I have received from the kids. Thank you very much everybody. :)

Taking part today were Onchan-Shisho, Boo-chan, Eri-chan, Natsukichi, Jirou-san, Kyo-chan, Mura-san, Kiyo-kun, Sen-jii, Retsu-san, Makiken and Hoka.

P.S. from Natsukichi

It’s Ryu-chan, if there is any kid who fancies hunting bugs. And today we received mandarin oranges as gifts from Ryu-chan’s grandmother. All the staff enjoyed their juiciness! They were very sweet and yummy. Thanks a lot♪

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 11/8/2013.

Translated by Takako Kawamukai, Paul Haugerud and Natsu Hirukawa.

March 8, 2014 / Mika Riedel

Children are happy to be outdoors in all kinds of weather♪

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening everyone! I’m Natsukichi from Nijiiro :)

It’s been snowing and the road surface has been frozen, so every day I experience the Tohoku’s winter.  

Every region seems to be colder this week than it used to be. How is your region? Please take care of yourself…

Miyagi prefecture is very cold now, but the children at the provisional housing in Hibiki Industrial park were very energetic!

There are only two more times left for the activity at Hibiki this year! The  last  activity  will  be  at  the  Christmas  party,  so  we  did  a  general  housecleaning and got prepared for the Christmas party.

We rolled a carpet and piled up the desks in the hall and started cleaning the floor with wet rags! Everyone kicked up the legs to give a sign that they are ready, go! The floor was getting shiny under the sound of zu-da-da-da-da !

One of the kids who was unwilling to clean came close with a wet rag, saying “I’m the fastest!”.

The hall became very shiny after the cleaning race. Everyone worked hard with gratitude, because they know that they could have a good time here this year.

And then, we started the decorations for Christmas! Each of them was decorating according to his taste. Some of the kids were playing with the decorations around their bodies and others were talking with each other “This is going to be here”…


And there are some kids who went outside to run a long-distance after the decoration. Children are happy to be outdoors in all kinds of weather!


We had a lot of activities today such as cleaning, decoration for Christmas and  running lively outside.

Christmas party is coming next week! We hope we will also have a good time next week…


 Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 12/17/2013.

Translated by Chiharu Prokop and Maria Koimisoglou.


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