Hands On Tokyo

Hands On Tokyo addresses the critical needs of the community by partnering with other organizations focusing on environmental, educational, and social issues in Tokyo. Through such partnerships, we provide numerous opportunities for any individual or corporation looking to engage in direct volunteer service and community participation. Our vision is to empower volunteers so that they can be confident that their contribution can change lives of others.
Sep 11, 2014

Strengthening our bond with the Tohoku community

Volunteer helping in the NRC
Volunteer helping in the NRC

With your generous contributions, HOT volunteers have been able to continue to support a local farmer – Saito-san – and the New Rice Center in Yamamoto-cho.  The New Rice Center gives rice farmers in the Yamamoto-cho area a place to store equipment and supplies and to work, gather and share information.  In July, HOT volunteers helped Saito-san secure netting and then attach growing paprika plants to the netting in five greenhouses.  By attaching the growing plants to the netting, the branches will not break and die when the baby paprika begin to grow larger.  At the end of the day, the HOT volunteers remarked how hard it must be for Saito-san, his wife and other local farmers to do all that work by themselves.  It is very hard for Saito-san, his wife and other local farmers to run their farms and grow their businesses without the support of HOT volunteers given the continued labor shortages in certain parts of Tohoku. 

 

Going forward, we will organize more volunteer trips to further support the New Rice, the Ogatsu Island Farm Project (a new business in Ogatsu growing local produce) and Saito-san, his wife and others in Tohoku as they work hard to further rebuild their lives.

 

HOT has also been able to continue organizing cafes and other events at temporary housing sites in Tohoku as a way of supporting the residents who lost their homes in the tsunami while they are waiting to move into new homes. These events encourage people to spend a bit of time outside of their small temporary living quarters and to socialize with others in their temporary community.  These events also play an important role in letting these residents know that, with the passage of time, they have not been forgotten by those living outside of Tohoku.

 

In June, we held a café at which HOT volunteers made and served yakisoba, sausages with tomatoes, Japanese omelets, French toast, hot and cold drinks, fruit pies and other sweets.  After lunch, a HOT volunteer played several beautiful songs on his keyboard.  It was wonderful seeing how the power of music can bring members of the temporary community and HOT volunteers together and to see so many smiling faces.  Thank you for making this possible with your generous donations. 

 

HOT is also finding ways for volunteers in Tokyo to support Tohoku without having to travel to Tohoku.  In June, HOT volunteers held interactive cooking classes with children from two children’s homes who seldom have opportunities to meet with adults other than those working at the children’s homes and their teachers.  Chefs taught the children easy to make recipes with the assistance of HOT volunteers and then everyone enjoyed eating lunch together.  This taught the children important cooking skills that they can use when they leave the children’s home and we sourced the ingredients from Tohoku.  We obtained vegetables from Saito-san’s farm and seafood from Ogatsu, a community that HOT has been supporting for more than three years with your generous donations.  Several teenagers residing at the children’s home who have participated in our volunteer trips to Tohoku also gave a presentation on their experiences volunteering with HOT in Tohoku.

 

In June, two groups of HOT volunteers in Tokyo baked and decorated cookies and then made goody bags with the handmade cookies for temporary housing residents near Yamamoto-cho.  The residents were very happy when they received the goody bags. 

 

Going forward and so long as people are still living in temporary housing, we will hold more cafes and events at temporary housing sites in Tohoku.  We also will travel to Ogatsu to help maintain the community house (which was built with the help of your generous donations), to clean local beaches so that people from the greater Sendai area will continue to visit the area and thereby support the local economy and to hold special events to encourage those who are still waiting to resume their lives in Ogatsu and the surrounding communities.

 

We could not do what we do without your generous support.  Thank you in advance for your continued support and for bringing smiles to the faces of so many people in Tohoku.  

Volunteers helping in the NRC
Volunteers helping in the NRC
HOT Cafe at a temporary housing in Yamamoto-cho
HOT Cafe at a temporary housing in Yamamoto-cho
HOT Cafe at a temporary housing in Yamamoto-cho
HOT Cafe at a temporary housing in Yamamoto-cho
Jun 12, 2014

Building a new center for local farmers

Yamamoto-cho. Helping out building green houses.
Yamamoto-cho. Helping out building green houses.

Hands On Tokyo (HOT) volunteers continue to support a local farmer – Saito-san – in Yamamoto-cho.  In March, 15 HOT volunteers (including two teenagers who live in a children’s home in the Tokyo area) helped Saito-san build two new greenhouses and, in April, 16 HOT volunteers (including one teenager who lives in a children’s home in the Tokyo area) helped Saito-san install plastic siding on several greenhouses. HOT is also supporting Saito-san in the building of the New Rice Center to support rice farmers in the Yamamoto-cho area so they will have a place to store equipment and supplies and to work, gather and share information.  The New Rice Center will also be used to train new farmers. The cost of the materials was funded by Boy Scout Troop #5 at the American School in Japan (ASIJ) and the Tokyo Law Tennis Club.  With your generous donations, 19 HOT volunteers (including high school students from a volunteer club at the American School in Japan) helped build the New Rice Center in May.  The next day, the same 19 HOT volunteers assisted with the Ogatsu Island Farm Project which aims to grow local produce as a new business in Ogatsu.  The volunteers helped launch the Project by helping clear the soil.

 

Saito-san, his wife and other local rice farmers who will use the New Rice Center and those who are launching the Ogatsu Island Farm Project could not have done all this work without the support of HOT volunteers given the nature of the tasks and the continued labor shortage in certain parts of Tohoku.  Going forward, we will organize more volunteer trips to further support the New Rice Center, the Ogatsu Island Farm Project and Saito-san and others in Tohoku as they work hard to further rebuild their lives.

 

Even though it is more than three years since the triple disaster in Tohoku, there are still many people residing in temporary housing. With your generous contributions, HOT has been able to continue organizing cafés and other events at temporary housing sites in Tohoku as a way of supporting the residents who lost their homes in the tsunami while they are waiting to move into new homes. These events encourage people to spend a bit of time outside of their small temporary living quarters and to socialize with others in their temporary community. 

 

In March, we held a spring festival themed café at which a HOT volunteer performed several hula dances and taught the temporary housing residents the meaning of many hula dance moves.  The residents and the HOT volunteers then danced several hula dances together.  HOT volunteers also made and served yakisoba, sausages with tomatoes, soup, French toast, hot drinks, cheesecake and other sweets.  In April, we held another café at which HOT volunteers made lunch for the temporary housing residents and served hot drinks and sweets.  After lunch, one HOT volunteer played several beautiful songs on his keyboard.  At both cafes, it was wonderful seeing the power of music and dance to bring members of the temporary community and HOT volunteers together and to see so many smiling faces.  Thank you for making this possible with your generous donations. 

 

Going forward and so long as people are still living in temporary housing, we will hold more cafés and events at temporary housing sites in Tohoku.  We also will travel to Ogatsu to help maintain the O-Link community house (which was built with the help of your generous donations), to clean local beaches so that people from the greater Sendai area will continue to visit the area and thereby support the local economy and to hold special events to encourage those who are still waiting to resume their lives in Ogatsu and the surrounding communities.

 

Thank you in advance for your continued support which brings smiles to the faces of so many people in Tohoku.    

Yamamoto-cho. HOT cafe at temporary housing site
Yamamoto-cho. HOT cafe at temporary housing site
With ASIJ club. Making sand bags
With ASIJ club. Making sand bags
With ASIJ club. Building NRC
With ASIJ club. Building NRC's new pipe house.
Ogatsu. Removing rocks from soil for the new field
Ogatsu. Removing rocks from soil for the new field
Ogatsu. With ASIJ club and Ogatsu Island project
Ogatsu. With ASIJ club and Ogatsu Island project
Mar 10, 2014

Double your donations today to support more families like Kazuo and Masako!

Kazuo & Masako "Thank you for helping my farm"
Kazuo & Masako "Thank you for helping my farm"

Today, we'd like to share a story out of many lives you have changed - through supporting our project.

Kazuo and Masako's story

Kazuo and Masako Saito are paprika farmers in Yamamoto-cho, Miyagi-ken. All they remember of the hours that followed the March 11th earthquake were the aftershocks, the bitter cold, and the constant fear that ensued. After evacuating his family to a safe area, Kazuo dedicated himself to help locate survivors in the Kasano-ku area, where he serves as a local leader. 

Like many in their community, the family lost everything they owned to the tsunami. Their home and farm, located 100m from the coastline, were completely washed away. They also lost all their machinery, which is detrimental for a farmer. Although they managed to rent damaged fields from a friend, the work that laid ahead for Kazuo and Masako was daunting, especially with no machinery.

But in July 2011, a local volunteer organization introduced them to Hands On Tokyo (HOT). HOT volunteers helped them plow their fields, construct green houses, and to plant, grow and harvest their paprika.

Today, the Saito family lives in three separate temporary housing units. They long for the day when the entire family can all live under the same roof again. And they still need help to get back on their feet. In addition to purchasing new machines, they need to secure direct sales outlets to sell their produce. HOT will continue to provide assistance to the Saito's, as well as to other farmers in the community.

In honor of the 3rd anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, GlobalGiving is hosting a matching campaign for recovery projects in the Tohoku area. Starting today, your donations will be matched 100% by GlobalGiving until matching funds last. To donate, click on "give now" button below.  

Thank you for supporting this project, and for helping to tranform the lives of people like Kazuo and Masako!

Photo: "I am thankful for helping my farm - Arigato"
Taken on February 8, 2014, by HOT volunteers who provided assistance to the Saito's during a snow storm.

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