Director, Seth Baumrin (USA) – Creators - Madeleine Bongard (Switzerland), Alireza Daryanavard (Iran), Guilluame Harry Francoise (France), Eva Goldenberg (France), Fatma Guetary (Tunisia), Anne Mourier (France), Cassagnol Leonides Jr.
Masaki Matsunaga, an assistant professor of College of Business, Rikkyo University, the students visited Rikuzen-Takata, conducted field work to observe the area, and also ran an English-based intercultural-exchange workshop for local junior-high-school students. This volunteer activity is actually a part of the final project for our course, where we design, create, and sell original goods to raise funds to donate to a foundation to rebuild elementary and junior high school in Rikuzen-Takata.
In fact, we all fell silent, while we were listening to the talk by local people about the disaster. Although local students were afraid of us (especially foreigner exchange students) for the first 20-30 minutes, we made really good friends after a few hours of workshop.
We approached those local junior-high-school kids a lot during the workshop, and they eventually opened up. You can see how close we became at the end through the group photo attached in the end of this report. Personally, I was impressed by how much I myself was encouraged and motivated by talking with those local kids. They told me about the difficulties they face in their everyday life, such as how cold living in a temporary housing is or how long it takes from the temporary housing to get to their school.
But they showed me wonderful, literally shining smiles, which not only cheered me up but also motivated me to keep supporting them from the bottom of my heart.


One thing is to have seen the damages covered by various media but it is another thing to actually walk around in the devastated area. The powers behind natural disasters, like the ones of The Great East Japan Earthquake, are incredible hard for me to understand and the loss of human life is even harder to comprehend. Therefore, I truly admire the people of Rikuzentakata for their commitment to their community. The city has been temporarily rebuilt some kilometers away from the coastline and mainly consists of containers. From my point of view, it is this hope that eventually will help to finish the rebuilding of the area. In other words, Japan and the global community have to continue to support the reconstruction of the affected area. In 2011, when the earthquake gave huge attack to the Tohoku area, most media reported the disaster so the news spread all over the world even in Korea.
However, surprisingly enough, I didn't know how big it was and how many people died and what kind of life the local residents supposed to have.
We at first headed to Sumi-no-ie, which was our cozy accommodation for two days of the trip.
It made me remind of the blue-colored little glass bead that I loved so much when I was a little girl.


To tell the truth, I was almost stressed up because of the many works and busy life in the big city Tokyo, but the beautiful sceneries and the fresh air totally healed me. Kanno, who showed us some photos of the downtown before it suffered an earthquake, and explained how big damages it brought about to the city and the people.
It was a small village in peace before - small houses with red and blue-colored roof huddled around here and there. But the people, birds, trees and small plants in Rikuzen Takata city, they experienced it, overcame it, and were living on. One of the students I met said, she woke up early in the morning around 5 am, made her own lunch, took care of her little sister, and came to school with friends. She seemed quite cheerful but still shy, but after a few hours I found that I really liked her.
This feeling became bigger when I saw the kids who seemed so shy and almost ran away from us waving goodbye to us for a long time until our bus disappeared from their sight. Now I'm trying my best with my classmates to make a great success on our fundraising project, which is for donating money on reconstruction of the schools in Rikuzen Takata city.



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