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February 1, 2016 / Mika Riedel

Let’s Make A Snowman!


Hi everyone! I’m Nori-chan from Nijiiro-Hiroba. A new staff member just joined us last week! This is Kaori Makino. You can call her Maki-chan!

It snowed over the weekend. Every week, we have to shovel the road and get the snow off of cars, and it’s quite tough. I hope you don’t catch a cold! The children are energetic as usual even though it’s cold out there. All of the staff members are glad to have many parents and children here every day even with this cold weather.

Last week, we held an event which is called “Let’s make a snowman.” They made so many cute snowmen! We’re showing them off at Nijiiro Hiroba, so please come and see them! This week, we’re making demon masks. We’ll be making the room warm for the children this week, too.




We are having a tea ceremony once a month, and now we’d like to ask you what would be a good theme for next month.

You can vote or write down what you’d like to talk about on the whiteboard. You can tell us secretly too if you want to! We are looking forward to seeing you all.

Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 1/27/2016.

Translated by Daniel Sunstrum and Mika Riedel.

December 17, 2015 / Mika Riedel

After the Autumn Festival

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, everyone! I’m one of the Nijiro Crayon members, Nattsu.

We had the most visitors ever at the Autumn Festival that we held in Nokunoku House on the other day. It seems people of all ages had a good time in both the morning and afternoon.

The Autumn Festival this year was carried out successfully with the help of Nijiiro Crayons members, the residents of Kamigama district, the children, and their parents and guardians.

I’d like to introduce one of those people who helped us. We had a bonfire for the Autumn Festival, but we had a difficult time getting it lit. Also, we didn’t have enough pots and pans.

However, it was then that a hero appeared to help us. It was this woman, who is one of the residents of Kamigama district. ‘You can use mine,’ she said, and let us borrow her pots and pans. On the day of the festival, she stayed with the children and watched over them and the bonfire with care.


I’m new in the Nokunoku House, but today I felt like I was getting closer to the members of Kamigama district. The woman’s aid was very memorable for the kids as well, so we decided to make a thank-you card for her. She was very happy to get the card with the warm thanks from the children.

It was a wonderful event, and because of that, I felt that I’d like to get even closer to the local community in the days to come.

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Written by Nijiiro Crayons on 11/13/2015.

Translated by Mika Riedel and Daniel Sunstrum.


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.

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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

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