Today doesn’t really mean much to us here in America, but in Japan, this marks one year since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that has changed the country.
piles of rubble. Oshima Island.
On a much less important note, this also means I have been home from Japan for about three months now. One of the last blogs I wrote, on my world race site, I briefly mentioned my time in Japan. I thought today would be a good day to share more of what I saw and what I did while there.
While in Japan, I volunteered with an organization called CRASH Japan. CRASH is headquartered in Tokyo and has five bases throughout Tohoku. For my first month I volunteered at headquarters; October and November I was at the Ichinoseki base in Senmaya, which is about 7 hours north of Tokyo.
Ichinoseki Base in Senmaya
The staff at Senmaya was very international while I was there, Japanese, Norwegian, German and American, which worked very well for the various groups of volunteers that would come to help.
staff the day that I left Senmaya (Emiko, Paul, me, Nina and Strauss-sensei)
after a cafe, Junior, Mayumi and me
Everyday at the base was different and unpredictable. Some days we never left the base, but were busy cleaning or preparing for coming activities/groups. Some days we passed out food, house-hold items, clothing or snacks at temporary housing. We also held many mobile cafes at various temporary houses; which is where we would bring coffee, tea and waffles to the survivors in their community center, giving them a time to get together and talk and hang out.
passing out goods, with another volunteer, who was from southern Japan
Pictures and videos can never do it justice, but I put together a very short video (maybe 2 minutes) showing some of the devastation and destruction I saw while I was there. Most of the footage is from Kesennuma.
I am very thankful for the opportunity I had to volunteer in Japan. I met and worked with so many great people.