Skip to content
October 10, 2015 / Mika Riedel

Creating artwork rather than looking at it? This is Nijiiro Art Exhibition!

Hi! I’m Pi-kokku!

Today, I’m going to talk about the Nijiiro Art Exhibition that took place from 3rd to 6th September. As many as 114 people came to the art show in these 3 days! (Applause!)



A lot of people participated in this event. The students of Gokokkan art classes and their families, the teachers and pupils of the international school, Pinocchio, and the children, adults and volunteers, who have been coming to Nijiiro Crayon’s activities, all attended. Thanks for coming, everyone!

Some children seemed quite shy but were still very proud of themselves. “This is my art work!” they said, as they explained their work to their families. The families were all impressed – “Wow! It’s amazing!” The children were happy to hear complements like this from their families and from others too.

We had other small workshops as well, like sketching, making tents, and Origami. Many of the children really enjoyed making these things, saying “I want to do that again!” and “I don’t want to go home yet!”. Some of the adults were also interested in those things they don’t usually have an opportunity to try. “It’s been a while since I tried these things, it’s really fun!”, some of them said and “it’s interesting to see how my work turns out!” It’s really fun to make things! The kids and adults all focused on the activities and enjoyed them a lot.



Some people from Lion’s Club, which regularly offers us donations, also came and gave us some snacks. We gave those snacks to everyone who participated in the workshop.


There were smiles all round when we gave out the snacks. Some of the students’ grandparents also came. It is great for kids to have the opportunity to have their artwork seen by a lot of people. The art show reminded me that it’s wonderful to have so many adults who are interested in the children and come to see the show. We would like to keep up this good relationship and continue our activities in the future. We are going to have another art event in October, so please do come and see when you have time!

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 9/10/2015.

Translated by Mika Riedel and Matthew Jellicoe.

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.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 44 other followers

%d bloggers like this: