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June 1, 2015 / Mika Riedel

Every child is an artist!

Hi everyone, this is Pi-cokku! Today was our activity day at the provisional housing at Hibiki Industrial park.

I was a little late for today’s activity because there were road works on the motorway I usually take but I was very happy when I arrived and all of the smiling children gathered around and asked me, “What are we going to do today?!”

We started doing this art activity in April, with the theme changing every month. Now it’s May and the theme is drawing and painting, so we prepared all the things we’d need for this activity. The children were very curious about the new equipment and enjoyed painting with new colours.
Tane-san, who will be staying here until the end of May as a volunteer, joined this activity today. The children also had a good time with him, playing cards and football.


Some children were afraid of painting because they thought they couldn’t paint well, but they eventually joined in, encouraged by seeing the other children painting. Once they started, it seems they really enjoy drawing and painting flowers or characters.

They reminded me of when I was a child. I was like them too. I felt that I had to draw well and I was too concerned with doing it perfectly. Many children are actually afraid of doing it badly and can’t express themselves freely.


I hope that through this activity, they can gain enough confidence to express what they truly feel because there is no such a thing as, ‘you’re good or bad at art’. Sometimes we are judged by someone else who decides which art is good and bad, but children shouldn’t worry about this.

Some children seemed to get distracted a little, since they haven’t seen each other for a while. But in the end, they looked satisfied from lots of playing. They said, “Thank you! See you later!” and went home.

After the long break, some children were stressed or had lost their close friendships with other children. Even if they feel like this, they will keep coming back and joining our activity if they can fully enjoy it. I’ll do my best to make this happen.

Today’s volunteers were Nattsu, Pi-cokku and Tane-san! Thank you everyone!

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 5/12/2015.

Translated by Mika Riedel and Matthew Jellicoe.

March 13, 2015 / Mika Riedel

Narumin’s back!

Hi! This is the report for our activity in the 4th provisional housing in Minami-Sakai. Written by Enjin of Nijiiro Crayons.

The weather during the morning was good but it suddenly started raining and at one point we even had a snow storm. However, it cleared up by the time we started our activity!


As we had such lovely weather, the children wanted to play outside, so we decided to play tag in the park nearby. Playing tag is still popular with the children from last week. This time we played with Narumin-san who’s back with us after a long break. Narumin-san seemed to have fun, since she missed the group whilst she was away. The children looked happy as well to have her back!


Narumi-san became ‘it’ and chased the children trying to get away from her. Some of them used the slide, others hid behind playground equipment. It’s still winter, but the days are getting longer. It feels like we’ll have spring soon. Some of the kids running around had to take of their jackets because they got so sweaty. The staff need to be careful to make sure that the children don’t get a cold after sweating and that they have enough breaks to drink water.



In an assembly room, Mura-san, Lokki and Nattsu-san played a variety of games with the kids. Mura-san is very good at table tennis and played with the kids. He did some trick shots, which can be hard for kids, but they still loved it. Thanks to him, some of the children, who had never played table tennis before, became very interested in the sport. That’s the Mura-san I know. He’s so good with children.

The children in lower grades played Lego with Lokki. Some of them built up monsters which looked quite strong!

As usual, at the end of the activity, everyone helped clean up. We all collected at least 10 bits of rubbish to put in the bin – that’s the rule we have now. Some kids are very enthusiastic in gathering rubbish and collected 20 or even 30 pieces each. It turned into a competition, some of them claiming, “I win!” I expect that the next activity will also be energetic and full of fun!

The staff members who joined today are Onchan-Shisho, Nattsu-san, Narumin-san, Enjin, Lokki, and Mura-san. Thank you, everyone!

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 2015/2/13.

Translated by Mika Riedel and Matthew Jellicoe.

November 17, 2014 / Mika Riedel

Akebono Activity Report

Hello! I’m Engine from Nijiiro! Today, we went to Akebono Assembly Building. Under the bright sunshine, about 15 kids came to the hall immediately as soon as the activity had started. I also saw some kids there before the start, which boosted my motivation thinking they were really looking forward to Nijiiro’s activity.

We played outside because so many people gathered plus the weather was brilliant! I was very excited as there are few opportunities for adults to play happily outside! Kids did jump roping. It was nice to see that they were improving records of double hop, jumping twice, three times and so on.


On the other hand, boys seemed to play tag. A tagger was running with a loop on its head. They told me that it had to chase others with a loop on its head and had to count 5 seconds when he dropped the loop. So they seemed to have lots of fun! I was impressed by their full of ideas to create with one thing.


Inside of the hall, some kids played ping-pong. Also they made a bath tab with a box, and hot waters with torn newspapers. They got very excited with those plays that they usually can’t do at home.


Next to the ping-pong table, Monro san had a great time chatting with Nchan’s mom about N chan.


Anyway we also had a great activity as usual! I appreciate your continued cooperation.

Today’s members were Onchan-Shisho, Bu-chan, Nattsu san, Ai chan, Hokasan, Engine, Taku, Tsuka, Kiyo, Monro san.

Thank you very much!

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 3/22/2014.

Translated by Chiharu Prokop and Natsu Hirukawa.

September 24, 2014 / Mika Riedel

Report from Koyocho Community Center

Hello, everybody! This is Narumin. Today I helped out with the activities at the Koyocho community center. It was sunny in Ishinomaki today! Though the wind was stronger too.


As I cycled from our office to the community center, I breathed in the pollen-laden wind that was blowing in my face. For hay fever sufferers, itchy days will continue for the near future. Natsukichi sneezes a lot every day, too.

The activities today were slow paced and relaxing

I heard that it was the lowest number of kids participating in our activities so far. Now that school has begun, it seems that everyone is busy meeting up with friends again, having committee meetings and studying.

In the multipurpose hall, let’s see how high we can build the Kapla bricks. This was serious business. Even walking just near them, my heart was pit-a-pat. It was such a tense feeling.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 14.31.35

This Kapla tower was built together by a preschool girl and Mura-
san. How high it was!


The girl made pretty ribbons out of clay and decorated them with beads. Using clay, a boy told me his own original story about dinosaurs.


In the hall, we played Ping-Pong, dodge ball, skipping rope and hide-and-seek. With the large space, it was really great for the hiders and the seekers! They seemed eager and excited to play.


Making the most of the two wide halls, both kids and adults enjoyed a comfortable playing time.


Today we could play with each of the children more than usual.


Taking part today were Onchan-Shisho, Natsukichi, Sen-jii, Retsu-san, Yama-chan, Mura-san, and Narumin.


Thank you very much.


Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 4/10/2014.

Translated by Takako Kawamukai and Matthew Jellicoe

August 7, 2014 / Mika Riedel

2014 First Hibiki

Good morning, everyone! Or perhaps, good afternoon or good evening! I’m Natsuki, a staff member of Nijiiro Crayons♪ Happy New Year!!!! And here comes the first activity at Hibiki in 2014!

As we wish each other a ’Happy New Year!’ and talk about what we will do today…

‘Let’s play cards! ’

Onchan-Shisho seems to be caught by S-chan!


He is writing a point chart on paper. Oh! Looks like S-chan leading over him.

Now, he is playing ‘Fuku-warai’ here.

‘Fuku-warai’ is a Japanese traditional paly that a blindfolded player places parts of a face on a paper with the outline of a face. It’s fun to see how the player can place them correctly.


He puts the blindfold away, making sure the place of face’s pieces. Yeah, this is a very New Year like activity.

Behind him, there are two girls who come regularly. They are enjoying playing with game machines that they got as a Christmas present. We can hear their chitter-chatter. Looking at the children who spend a good time in their own way, we feel like our activity by Nijiiro Crayons would be an open and free space for them.

Onchan-shisho and Natsuki-chan hope to create a cozy retreat for everyone this year too.

Today’s staff members were Onchan-Shisho and Natsukichi. May this year be a wonderful one for you.

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 1/14/2014.

Translated by Mayu Kawaguchi and Natsu Hirukawa.

May 24, 2014 / Mika Riedel

Here Come the High School Students!

Hello! I’m Yuki from Nijiiro Crayons.

Today, we held our activities at provisional housing in the residential district of Koyo-cho. We’ve had lots of guests join us lately and today was no different.

Free from club activities due to the exam period, three high school baseball players took the opportunity to join us in supporting the children! Travelling all the way from Yamagata prefecture by bus, they said they’d been interested in volunteering for ages. It was wonderful to see so much enthusiasm from such young people.


As well as the students, lots of children also came to join us and our assembly point was soon buzzing with activity. We had originally planned to play in the schoolyard, however, the temperature in Ishinomaki was below 0 (the highest temperature WAS 0!) and even the children themselves were reluctant to venture outside.

The day was not lost, however. Recent improvementsto our indoor play facilities ensured that there was still plenty for them to do. Splitting into several groups, the children were quite content with playing games such as UNO, Karuta (Japanese cards), clay and ping-pong.


At first, we were unsure whether the children would get along with the the high school students, but no sooner had the activities started than they were playing together as if the best of friends.

Though it was their first time volunteering, the students also enjoyed themselves, later commenting at the end-of-day meeting that they hoped there would be more opportunities to speak with the children in the future.


As well as the high school students, we were delighted to see some familiar faces who hadn’t joined us for a while; some even brought their friends along too. The newcomers seemed to have a great time and left us with the promise that they’d be back (The children we knew, on the other hand, were as tricky as ever!). With both children and adults alike coming to join us, I really feel that our circle of supporters and participants is slowly but surely expanding.


Today’s volunteers were Onchan-Shisho, Bu-chan, Mura-san, Hoka-chan, Natsukichi, Hancho, Aokkii, Kaikai and Yuki.


Thank you all very much!

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 2014/2/5.

Translated by Chiharu Prokop and Ayako Hamada.

May 16, 2014 / Mika Riedel

Nijiiro-crayon’s power of continuation and bond

I went to Asahi Kasei power device for a monthly activity. Not only children, adults also attend this program in Asai Kasei Power Device. Basically, kids and adults are involved in a different activity. I was in charge of the adult team with Rei chan who works in ‘NPO Kodomo•Wakamono machi-ing’ (Kids and young people matching).

This time, Shi chan also took part in the program, visiting from Volunteer center in Tokyo. Since the start of this year, knitting has been boomed among the adults. This started when S san, who have participated in this program every time and was good at knitting, gave knitted items for us, volunteer members and children occasionally.

The girls started to enjoy knitting with the adult team. This made me take up knitting too. I can only do a simple piece of knitting, but gradually feel the joy of it. My goal is to make my own scarf for this winter.

It was the first time for Shi chan to participate in the adult program, but it seemed S san liked her and they enjoyed talking a lot. Then, I was surprised to hear that S san asked Shi chan, “Why don’t you come again?” Because she was not a kind of a person who asks a first visitor to come again, she must have had a great time with Shi chan.

The activity for Asahi Kasei power device has been going on nearly two years. Sometime things didn’t go smoothly in the beginning due to inadequate arrangements; however, I believe we have come to establish a good relationship every time we worked together and became close to each other. I feel that people are looking forward to being involved with the activities by Nijiiro-crayon.

Almost three-year passed since that day. I have often heard that the local people were happy to see all sorts of people from all parts

of Japan to encourage them at that time. They said that as the time has passed, the number of visitors has been gradually reduced,

thought it cannot be helped, but they were happy to have Nijiiro-crrayon staff still come to meet them regularly. I was shaking with excitement when they told me “We are going to meet you in Tokyo when spring has come.”

We have never expected returns or rewards, nor asked them to visit Tokyo, of course. It is quite hard for them to go out to Tokyo.

“I will visit Tokyo because I have a friend living in Tokyo.”

I thought it might be one of the outcomes from our activities. It’s hard to explain, but it was a very happy incident.

I suppose that because Nijiiro-crayon was established by the local people, it was easier for the organization to continue compared to the other organizations.

I have often been told from my friends in Tokyo, “They are still living in temporary housings, aren’t they? It must be hard.” However, though there are some troubles that the walls are thinner compared to normal housing and locations are inconvenient, things have been changing. Those situations vary depending on people.

As long as I heard, some of them refuse to move out of the temporary housings. It sounded like that they developed attachment for the past three years. Take an example, elderly people and people live alone have made their community with neighbors living in the temporary housing. Even though there are some troubles, they surely have a strong bond through overcoming hardest time together. Also, they may feel scared to move out and live alone in a new environment after sticking together and experiencing good times and bad times. They might feel lonely of not having visitors after moving out of the temporary housing. Of course, we can never forget about their financial difficulties.

If they were young, they might be capable of living in a new place with their family and friends, or try to look for new people as a start of new life. However, the change of environment must be hard for elderly people.

I hope, at least, those people with a strong bond do not have to live far from each other after they move out. Some people might say, “It’s selfish” or “They are asking too much”, but I personally think that it should be acceptable for those who have experienced such a tragedy.

If everyone cooperates a bit and the big shots can look with their favor on that plan, it would come true.

Today’s volunteers were Kuro chan, Saya bo, Hide san, Shi cahn, Rei chan, and Bu chan.


Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 3/1/2014.

Translated by Mayu Kawaguchi and Natsu Hirukawa.


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