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Trying Wet-on-Wet Watercolor

I went around to each refuge today, too.

In one shelter, Ishinomaki High School, I let kids paint using a wet-on-wet watercolor technique. First, we prepared drawing paper, which we soaked in water beforehand, and watercolor paints. Setting up these materials was part of the play. Then, they brushed their favorite colors on and let them blend together on the wet paper as they liked. The kids all enjoyed drawing in their own ways.


I first showed how to create a wet-on-wet watercolor as a sample in front of the kids. Actually, this way is very free and easy to paint and the pictures can express the painter’s feelings. I expected the kids’ pictures would be dark and impure colors, but they chose clear and bright colors. Because of that, I thought their minds were somewhat calm at the refuge.


In another refuge, Kadonowaki Junior High School, we decided to exercise outside, and in Ishinomaki Senshu University, we played “korogashi dodge ball” (rolling dodge ball). This is a kind of dodge ball where the players have to roll the ball on the floor instead of throwing in the air. With these rules, everyone could join easily in the game without differences of age or power.


On the way between the shelters, I found an emergency kitchen in front of Ishinomaki Station, where someone was volunteering to serve yakitori (grilled chicken) to people affected by the disaster. Also, we saw little kids there. Their smiles made me cheer up and gave me energy for my work.


On this day, our activities started in Oshio district of Higashi Matsushima city. The participants were 15 kids, from 4 to 16 years old. They had various activities depending on their ages – drawing, blocks, origami, paper airplanes, and baseball. As the kids had already made friends from living in the refuge, I could see they were enjoying themselves even the first day I was there. The kids created their own play from the toys or drawing papers. The girls seemed to enjoy chatting with our staff and drawing, and the boys played baseball outside.


In Watanoha Elementary School, There were 23 participants. One English language teacher (from The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program) came from Yamagata, which is the neighboring prefecture, to help. We made a big “Koinobori” (carp streamers) – it’s one of decorations of the traditional Japanese Children’s Festival in May. The kids stuck their illustrations as scales on the Koinobori.



Eight kids participated in our activities at Mangokuura Junior High School. They played soccer and other games outside. A great day for weather, it felt good to spend it on the grass.



Written and posted by Shigeki Shibata on 4/13/2011

Translated by Kayako Mukainakano & Eric Draper on 4/14/2011


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