Volunteers and locals catch fish together.
“Come Join Our Fishery!” Event Continues to Succeed and Expands to Other Villages
The Oshika Peninsula is an area made up of over thirty fishing villages, each with its own unique culture and traditions and their name ending with “-hama.”Since two years ago when the project called “Come to Join Fishing” was launched, the aim has been to address problems in the fishing villages and ways to rebuild them. One way to help rebuild the villages is to attract outside visitors to the area by promoting Oshika`s attractions.
With the help of JEN, this project has been expanding to other fishing villages. In March two main events were held which promoted Oshika`s culture. The first, a Fishing Experience called “Come to Join Fishing Event” allowed participants to enjoy spring foods of the villages.
At the second event, participants were given the opportunity to experience a four hundred year old fox deity shrine festival at Kitsunezaki-hama, and some even carried amikoshi, a portable shrine, during the parade. JEN has been committed on working toward creating a sustainable community—one in which the locals will be able to continue supporting themselves.
A Lantern Vigil is Held to Remember Those Lost 3 Years Ago
Kadonowaki`s “Maneki Community”, a resident`s association created after the tragedy and made of some one hundred thirty people from 2-4 chome, organized a lantern vigil to commemorate those lost in the Great East Japan Earthquake. About eighty people living in the town and those taking shelter at other locations came to the ceremony to remember and pray for their loved ones.
Many took part in filling in the names of their neighbors in a handmade map. The pattern of the lantern vigil was created by Mr. Toyokazu Abe of Kadonowaki; it represents a cirque, which is a piece of jewelry worn by Buddha, and the soul, which is in the shape of a heart.
Ishinomaki Elementary Schools Receive New Playgrounds
JEN donated four playgrounds to elementary schools in Ishinomaki. With many of the playgrounds destroyed by the disaster and those remaining replaced by temporary quarter sites, children were left with nothing to play with outside.
Fortunately, on March 12 a presentation ceremony at Kama Elementary School took place, followed by one at Okaido Elementary School. Two other playgrounds donated by JEN were installed in Teizann Elementary School and Kaduma Elementary School by the end of April.
Newly Renovated Community House Opens
On March 23, a concert for the completion of the Koganehama Community House, located in Watanoha District in the northern region of Ishinomaki City, took place. With over one hundred thirty locals present, singer Katsuragi performed along with a surprise appearance from singer Okunn, a member of the gospel group RAG FAIR.
JEN has been helping to restore the building since July 2011. In March 2012, JEN led a workshop for locals on how to maintain a community house and helped restore a restroom and the interior of the building.
In order to successfully manage the community house, five officials from five administrative regions were put in charge. They have been working on receiving funding for additional repairs and organized this concert. Mr. Tahahiro Nagai expressed gratitude towards JEN and hopes that the community becomes independent and self-reliant in the near future.
Kadonowaki Elementary School Front’s New Garden
On March 29th and 30th, JEN assisted in moving a flower garden to the front of Kadonowaki Elementary School. This project was initiated upon request by the Kadonowaki Junior High School students.
Despite the event overlapping with their spring vacation, many students came out to help. About fifty students, forty-three volunteers, parents, and children helped dig out over eight-hundred viola seedlings, tulip bulbs, and a signboard and transported them to Kadonowaki`s school front.
One Kadonowaki Junior High student Miss Seika Sakurai shared her thoughts on the project with us: “It was a lot of fun! The project started when my sister was my age, so I hope we can continue it as a good tradition.”
Lantern vigil in honor of those lost 3 years ago.
A concert is held at the new community house.
A student enjoys the new playground.
Students replant flowers in front of their school.