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May 4, 2011 / Mika Riedel

Shige Comes Back!

– Ishinomaki High School –

13 kids, 5 volunteer staff: Kendo, finger painting.

In the first half, I taught “Kendo,” which is Japanese fencing. As we practiced, I trained the kids in etiquette. In the latter half, we finger-painted and enjoyed the colors.


At one point, I thought one of the kids was making such beautiful images on the paper, so I lifted it up to have a good look, when the colorful water sloshed onto the floor from the paper. “Wow, it was a puddle! Not a drawing!” I was surprised. 🙂 A volunteer staff cleaned it up. I appreciated that.


Kids can paint in a messy way when stress builds up, but I made sure that the kids used beautiful colors, so I was relieved.

I was glad that I could personally lead the activities once again after having been called away by other responsibilities. I certainly prefer to work in the field with the kids.

– Hebita Junior High School –

7 kids, 3 volunteer staff: line drawing, origami.


The kids played tag.


– Hebita Elementary School –

11 kids, 2 volunteer staff: balloon volleyball, keidoro (a kind of tag).

The kids played “balloon volleyball.” The boys were fired up enough! But here the girl seems to have the advantage. 🙂

–  Oshio Community Center –

15 kids, 1 volunteer staff.

 – Kadonowaki Junior High School –

Day off

–  Akebono Assembly Building –

Day off

Today, my college friends, Sen-chan and Makotsu, arrived at Ishinomaki from Tokyo to help us. We appreciated their coming because they wanted to know how actual Ishinomaki was. We thought there must be a big difference between listening to reports and actually seeing. Thanks to them, again.

At night, we had a drink and I could relax chatting with them. The most interesting topic was the widespread hesitation to do anything throughout Japan. I was so surprised to hear that even hanami (cherry blossom viewing) participants had decreased in Tokyo, as hanami is one of the most important traditional events in the spring. In contrast, here in the disaster area, we planned to participate in cherry blossom viewing.

As a Japanese, I think it’s sort of in our DNA to attach a great deal of importance to mourning, but as a person of the disaster area, I also hope that people in the less damaged areas are able to enjoy their lives as normal. In order to proceed forward, it’s better to spend time pleasantly rather than to sink into sadness.  When other areas of Japan return to good spirits, they can send that energy to the Tohoku region.

It’s true that people in the Tohoku region have languished since the disaster, but also it’s known that people in the Tohoku region are really tough. We will get over difficulty.

Written by Kodomo Hinanjo Club on 4/21/2011

Translated by Kayako Mukainakano and Eric Draper on 5/3/2011


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