20 June 2012

sending our hope to Minamisanriku-Cho

Minamisanriku’s beautiful sea view before sunrise

Hello all. Some of you might remember last year's HELP JAPAN PROJECT. It was my fundraising project to support Japan’s recovery from the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Although news has completely faded away today, their recovery is only starting and in fact they’re facing a long journey. 
I am currently preparing for the second fundraising project. This August my husband and I will be visiting a town called Minamisanriku-Cho to deliver our HELP JAPAN donation directly. We are also aiming to do some voluntary work during our visit. Today I would like to write about Minamisanriku Cho prior to launching HELP JAPAN PROJECT 2

So why this town? 

Well, this is my thinking. Last year all the donation was sent to Japanese Red Cross, but I was rather frustrated after hearing the fact that lots of donations were pooled without distributing soon enough because of the slow administration of the authority and the government. How typical! So this time, I have decided to choose one affected area and donate directly. Minamisanriku-Cho is one of the most damaged areas and the majority of this town was washed away by the tsunami. (click images to enlarge or you can view some videos of 3.11. here)

peaceful minamisanriku-cho before the tsunami
Tsunami reaching to the centre of town and sweeping houses and evacuees on the roof. 
Building behind is the 5 storey hospital I visited last September,
 tsunami reached to its forth floor and many lives have lost.
Town after the tsunami on 11th March last year
Who had imagined this view...

Do you remember I visited this town last September (view here)? I cannot forget the face of tsunami surviver who told me he could not imagine living somewhere he cannot see the sea with a tear on his cheek. I have been researching about this town since then, their beautiful land, people and community that used to exist. The sight of town has totally changed and many people have lost almost everything, I mean 'everything'. But people haven’t lost their heart. Despite the unimaginable damage and sorrow, they are now striving to live and move forward from ‘literally’ zero. Their strength, spirit and smile. I admire and respect their humbleness. I know my donation will be tiny comparing to what the town needs for the recovery and what I can do may be small, but I also know it is worth doing what I can do, which is to continue support, to spread the message to as many people as possible and to deliver the light of hope to them and the next generation. This is what HELP JAPAN PROJECT 2 is all about. 
Before I go, I would like to share a part of written message from the town. If you are blogger and are happy to share this in your site, please do. Every Little Helps! 

‘Minami-sanriku in our hearts’
….. We overcame tsunami disasters in the Meiji and Showa eras. 
Even when the tsunami caused great damage, we were able to raise up time and again to return our former lives. 
We put together our heads and strength, never giving up. 
Always keeping a smile on our faces, we built our town. 
We have shown our children how to live our lives and they will follow in our footsteps. 

town before 3.11.
The mountains provide us with rice, beans and apples. 
In anticipation of the harvest season, the sounds of drums from the Harvest Festival echo throughout the mountainside. 

surrounded by beautiful nature
Everyone is excitedly awaiting the mikoshi portable shrine decked with flowers and marchers dressed in colourful costumes. 
Our fishermen plant trees in the mountains and cultivate the sea. 
At the end of a long trip covering great distances, the salmon come all the way back to the sea of Minamisanriku. 
Other sea creatures that call this sea their home are the smooth lumpfish, grant sculpin and a new type of starfish. 
You can actually feel the people and fish living together in harmony. 
This indeed is Minamisanriku!

town with full of community life, culture and spirit before the earthquake
Memories of our town remain vivid in our hearts. 
Will these memories someday fade? 
Such fears sometimes cross the back of our minds. 

We know the dangers as well as the bounties of nature. 
This is why we are always humble because we realise that we are alive only through the generosity of Mother Nature, in the same way our ancestors did. 
Always believing in tomorrow, we will never give up. 
If we walk together hand-in-hand, we can achieve anything. 
Our sea will surely be blessed again. 
Our town will surely become happy and vibrant again. 

No matter what trails or tribulations we face in the future, we will tackle them head on with a strength and vitality equal to the sea. 
We will create new ties with people who visit this town and add their strength to ours. 

The tide rises and tide falls in an endless cycle. 
With this in mind, we live in this town today, looking at the sea with pride in our hearts. 

all images were referenced from 

photo letter from minamisanriku by Shinichi Sato (view his wonderful video on this!) 

will be on next post! 

See you all very soon. xm 


  1. The letter from Japan made me cry.
    "The tide rises and tide falls in an endless cycle." is such a powerful line; I feel like we should all hang on to that - in Japan, or anywhere else in the world.
    Can't wait for your launch tomorrow! (If you want me to mention it simultaneously on my blog, just send me an email)

  2. Maki I love the postive feeling of this;
    What a beautiful place it was, and is and will be again.

  3. The spirit of this people is so strong and positive! To have lived through tsunami's twice before this and come back to rebuild the town, and to be willing to do this yet again, still trusting the sea to provide. This is wonderful! I am excited that you have come back to this project and I want to contribute to it.