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January 24, 2013 / Mika Riedel

What’s Important to the Kids

November 28th, 2012

Yopa’s report

Today was Wednesday, a clear fall day.  17 kids from 5 years old to middle school in age joined us to play at the provisional housing units in Koyocho.

The days are short and don’t give us much time for playing in the schoolyard.  However, rather than choosing for the children, we asked them if they would like to play outside.  Their answer, “Let’s play in the assembly room today!”, so we stayed indoors and divided into two groups.  One group sat quietly making bookmarks and other crafts out of laminating paper.  While the second more energetic group played games like balloon volleyball.

One of the kids was joining Nijiiro for the second time and was looking a little nervous when she arrived.  Before long she was concentrating on a painting using sparkly paste.  She spent quite a while using just one color but when I asked if she was done, she grabbed a second and continued working.  By the time she left she was very happy with the painting she completed.

Nijiiro Crayons holds a little different significance for each child and some blend right in from the start while others take their time.  They choose from the myriad of options according to their own desires and don’t just follow along accepting things without consideration.  It feels like an environment where these kids who have unwillingly experienced so much disruption and loss can exercise a little control and recover a positive outlook.

Today was Hiro-chan’s first day as a volunteer for Nijiiro Crayons, she remembers watching us back when we were still at the evacuation center.  The fact that she was paying attention to us when our concept of “playing with the children” had not yet been universally accepted fills me with happiness.

It’s these kinds of warm relationships that give even a struggling volunteer like myself the driving force to create a place for the kids and look after them.

Even if we don’t have the chance to tell you directly, we are deeply thankful for all of you who support and watch over our activities. 


Today’s volunteers were Onchan-Shisho, Kiyo-kun, Taku, Tsuka, Leo-kun, Pon-chan, Boo-chan, Hiro-chan, and Yopa.

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 11/28/2012.

Translated by Paul Haugerud.


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