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2011/03/13

Pray For Japan

March 11, 2011. The Great East Japan Earthquake
Striking during the spring vacation, I'm sure that many people heard about the earthquake while at home or traveling on holiday. I was in a department store in Shiga Prefecture when the earthquake struck and it wasn't until I got home that I realized the scale and magnitude of the disaster. It is heart wrenching to think of the fear and sadness the people in the affected areas must have experienced. I have heard that there are a number of current students and new entrants who come from that part of the country.

So what can we, APU students, do to help?
Already a number of students have begun relief support efforts on-campus, in Beppu City and at their overseas study destinations. No doubt there are many more people who also want to help.

This page features messages of support you have offered and information about what kind of support efforts are going on. We hope that this month's special topic can be a place that we can all use. Let's work together and do our bit for the relief efforts.

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APU support for current and future students affected by natural disasters

Content Please see the APU official HP for more details
Contact Us APU official HP
http://www.apu.ac.jp/home/society/content8/

Project initiator: SAITO Maiko (APS Graduate fall’2004)

Content Call for donations
Time period March 15~
Venue mixi
Report

Member of the first APU student intake, SAITO Maiko (APS Grad fall’04, Japan) has begun a relief effort bringing together people of all nationalities and locations to support the people affected by the recent earthquake in eastern Japan. Her primary aim is to get more people interested in the earthquake and thus raise more donations.


You can help by:
① Changing your mixi, Facebook or blog profile photo to a SAVE JAPAN image.
② Making a donation
③ Telling your friends about the relief effort and ask them to make a donation.

Contact Us

SAVE JAPAN
Great East Japan Earthquake Support Community (mixi):
http://mixi.jp/view_community.pl?id=5528072

Project initiator: APU Co-op

Content Donation Appeal
Time period March 14~
Venue APU Co-op Shop, Cafeteria
(also on the March 18 Graduation Ceremony)
Report

Immediately following the recent earthquake, university co-ops around Japan set up the “All-Japan University Co-op Disaster Relief Response Centre” in Tokyo and soon began providing relief supplies based on information coming out of the disaster area. In the coming days, they plan to move ahead with plans to dispatch volunteers to the affected areas. As part of the relief efforts, donation appeals are under way at all university co-ops around Japan, including APU.

Donations raised 176, 361 yen sent (as of March 25)
Donation recipient Collected at the “All-Japan University Co-op Disaster Relief Response Centre” (Tokyo) before being sent to the disaster areas
Contact Us APU Co-op

Project initiator: APU Alumni Association

Content Donation Appeal
Time period ① March 31
② March 16 - April 28
Venue ① Alumni Party
② Alumni HP
Report In the hope of assisting the disaster relief efforts in whatever way we can, donations were called for at the APU Alumni party reception held following the graduation ceremony. The Alumni is also calling for donations on the Alumni homepage.
Please see the APU Alumni homepage for more details.
Donations raised ① 60,397 yen
② To be announced on the Alumni HP
Donation recipient The APU Student and Alumni Association will be responsible for channeling the funds collected to aid the APU graduates / current students (and their families) who have been affected and/or accredited philanthropic organizations (e.g. Japan Red Cross) to assist those in need.
Contact Us APU Alumni Secretariat
TEL:0977-78-1103
E-mail:apualumn@apu.ac.jp
http://apualumni.jp/english/news/#1300267352-650955

Project initiator: YAEGASHI Hirofumi (Grad, spring’2010)

Content Donation Appeal
Time period March 12-21
Venue England
Report

After graduating APU, YAEGASHI Hirofumi has been studying at the University of Westminster in London. On the day the earthquake struck, Hirofumi and his fellow Japanese flat-mate decided to set up the relief support group “London for Japan” and launch a street donation appeal.
After bringing together a large number of participants through Facebook, etc, he carried out a donation appeal from March 12 through to March 21 with the support of locals, Japanese living in England, and tourists. People also wrote messages of support onto a Japanese flag which was displayed at a charity concert by violinist, Hakase Taro.
NAGANO Yuta, an SPA member currently studying as an exchange student in England, also took part in the March 14 donation appeal. So far about 7000 pounds has been raised. All donations will go towards helping people affected by the disaster through the Japanese Red Cross Society.
The group is currently planning further aid initiatives including the “Sakura Project” with pin badges in the shape of cherry blossom petals as a symbol of support of Japan.


Donations raised 7,000 pounds
Donation recipient Japanese Red Cross Society
Future plans Sakura Project, currently planner continued support efforts

Participants: KAJIWARA Saho(APS3, Japan)

Content Donation Appeal
Venue Canada
Report

Currently an exchange student at the University of Waterloo in Ottawa (Canada), KAJIWARA Saho took part in an on-campus donation appeal organized by the “Carleton University Japanese Association” -- a community of Carleton University students, Japanese-Canadians, and Japanese exchange students -- and the “Pray for Japan from Ottawa” garage sale and donation appeal held by Japanese-Canadians and Japanese living in Ottawa. During the donation appeal, handmade cookies were handed out as a sign of appreciation to everyone who contributed, and messages of support for Japan were also collected. These messages were edited by Japanese exchange students at Carleton University and posted on YouTube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU1oSTYrY5o


Project initiator: RA (Resident Assistants)

Content Flea Market
Time period April 2,3
Venue AP House 2
Report

On April 2, 2011, a flea market was held by AP House "RA" Resident Assistants. Held every semester, proceeds from House flea markets are traditionally put towards the running costs of AP House but, in response to the recent Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, part of the proceeds will be donated to help the relief efforts. In keeping with the spirit of AP House as a venue for learning, the House plans to send the proceeds to the children in the affected areas via Ashinaga - a private nonprofit association that provides spiritual and financial support to children who have lost their parents through sickness, disaster or suicide.
A range of goods were on sale including rice cookers, frying pans, plates, through to clothes, shoes and textbooks. All goods were donated by House residents. The event proved very popular and crowds were seen forming even before the event began.


Donations raised Report to be released at a later date

Project initiator: APU NEST (Tuesday, May 17) UP!

Content Donation Appeal
Time period March 16 -31 (except 26)
Venue JR Beppu Station

Content Charity Event
Time period April 1-2
Venue JR Beppu Station and surroundings
Report

From the day of the earthquake, NAKAMURA Yuka (APS2, Japan) has been using mixi and Facebook to bring together over 100 like-minded volunteers and form “APU-NEST”. From Wednesday, March 16 until Thursday, March 31, APU-NEST carried out donation appeals outside JR Beppu Station and the Tokiwa Beppu Department Store. During that period, they collected 3,075,628 yen (as of April 1, 2011) which will go towards helping people in the disaster areas via the Japanese Red Cross Society and the NPO Mintsuna.


On Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2, a parade and event feedback session was held as a show of gratitude to everyone who has given so generously and as a message of support to people in the disaster areas. A large number of international students took part in the parade around JR Beppu Station dressed in traditional costumes carrying “Pray for Japan” placards and messages of support. Following the parade, an event feedback session was held in addition to a traditional Indonesian dance by the APU student circle APUIna, and a Chinese martial arts display by student volunteers. Chorus circle MUSYTONE also impressed the crowds with their singing skills.


Event representative, NAKAMURA Yuka, shared her thoughts about the donation project

March 11, 2011. I saw footage of the disaster on the news and thought to myself, "What can we do to help?" This was how APU-NEST began. That night I put out a message on mixi: "Let's do our part to help those affected by this disaster" and started bringing together like-minded people to form our group. Some people replied that they wanted to go to the disaster area itself. But aftershocks were continuing and if we only got in the way and caused more trouble then there was no point in going. We still felt that there was something that we could do, no matter how small, that could help the relief efforts. We decided to collect messages of support and launch a donation appeal. During the course of the project, I often thought that perhaps there was something more we would do to help, but this project made me see just how much love and support people are willing to give. It's great to see how everyone came together to support the relief effort! I have been greatly impressed with the spirit of fortitude being shown by people affected by this disaster and have no doubt that they will rise again.

NAKAMURA Yuka

We offer our sincere thanks to everyone who gave their generous support to APU-NEST, the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster Relief Organisation.
APU-NEST student members also offer their thanks to those who contributed to the donation appeal and have prepared the following report on the project.

Click to here

Donation recipient Japanese Red Cross Society,
NPO Mintsuna

About NPO Mintsuna:
The NPO Mintsuna is a support organisation established by recent APU graduate, Kiho PARK (APS Grad, spring’10), and photojournalist, Kei SATO. The group plans to provide assistance focusing on Rikuzentakata City, the hometown of Kei SATO.
The name of the organisation, “Mintsuna”, derives from the Japanese words for “everyone linked together” (minna tsunagatte) and aims to “fight back the tide of the tsunami”.
Currently working to survey the situation and provide logistical support, Kei SATO and fellow photojournalist, Atsuki YASUDA, have been reporting from Rikuzentakata City and gathering information about the damaged areas. Away from the frontlines, they have also launched donation appeals in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Gifu and other main centers. Funds raised will go towards relief materials and projects based on the information they gather from their surveys. A number of events around the country are also planned to support long-term relief assistance.

Please visit the NPO Mintsuna homepage for more details:
http://www.mintsuna.net

Project initiator: Nanbanjin, MUSYTONE

Content Charity Concert
Time period April 9, 18:30 start
Venue COPPER RAVENS
Report

The “Quake Relief Concert” featuring APU students and Staff:

In response to the recent earthquake, a group of local musicians got together for the “Quake Relief Concert”. The April 9 (Sat) concert included live performances by the APU student circle “MUSY TONE” and “NANBANJIN” – with Dai Evans from the APU Admissions (International) Office. The concert raised a total of 137,398 yen which will be delivered to APU-NEST and then on to the Japanese Red Cross Society and NPO Mintsuna to help the people affected in the Tohoku Region.

Donation recipient Japanese Red Cross Society,
NPO Mintsuna

About NPO Mintsuna:
The NPO Mintsuna is a support organisation established by recent APU graduate, Kiho PARK (APS Grad, spring’10), and photojournalist, Kei SATO. The group plans to provide assistance focusing on Rikuzentakata City, the hometown of Kei SATO.
The name of the organisation, “Mintsuna”, derives from the Japanese words for “everyone linked together” (minna tsunagatte) and aims to “fight back the tide of the tsunami”.
Currently working to survey the situation and provide logistical support, Kei SATO and fellow photojournalist, Atsuki YASUDA, have been reporting from Rikuzentakata City and gathering information about the damaged areas. Away from the frontlines, they have also launched donation appeals in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Gifu and other main centers. Funds raised will go towards relief materials and projects based on the information they gather from their surveys. A number of events around the country are also planned to support long-term relief assistance.

Please visit the NPO Mintsuna homepage for more details:
http://www.mintsuna.net

Project initiator:Heart for Japan (Friday, August 26) UP!

Content Charity Event
Time period 5/2 ~ 5/6
Venue Cafeteria, in front of fountain, Pacific Café
Report

Heart 4 Japan: Report on the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Relief Support Efforts

We offer our sincere thanks to everyone who gave their generous support to Heart 4 Japan.
APU-NEST student members also offer their thanks to those who contributed to the donation appeal and have prepared the following report on the project.

Click to here

From Monday, May 2 until Friday, May 6, 2011, a charity event was held on the APU campus by the student event organisation “Heart for Japan” in support of the people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. A number of events were held during the week including a donation appeal and performances by student circles Arauma Chiyo, Musy Tone, Gospel Soul, and more. A display of support messages received from university students in Indonesia was also held in addition to the recording of video messages of support from APU students.


CITRA Laras Kinanti (APM4, Indonesia) played a central role in this project and managed to plan the event in just one week following the earthquake. Although faced with a tight timeframe she managed to bring together approximately thirty APU student volunteers from eight different countries, namely, Indonesia, Ghana, Bolivia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea and Japan.


Event representative, Ms. CITRA, shared her thoughts about the events, “My motivation behind holding this event began with the earthquake that struck central Java, Indonesia, in 2006. At that time, Indonesia was able to rebuild and recover thanks to the support of many countries around the world. After seeing what the recent earthquake has done, I felt motivated to do something to help and decided to plan this event. This was our time to help Japan. This was our time to bring together APU students from all around the world and send a message of support to the people affected by this disaster”.


On the last day of the event, a charity concert was held by APU students and high school student bands from the affected areas. Deputy Representative of the event, GUNAWAN Magdalena (APM4, Indonesia), delivered a speech and offered a message of support to the Japanese people and the people in the affected areas, “Japan is a strong country and I am sure that you will overcome this. Just as the sun always comes up, keep going and never give up the fight!” At the conclusion of the event, all participants gathered and joined in for a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World”.


The event raised a total of 217, 230 yen which will be put towards helping people in the affected areas through the Japanese Red Cross Society. Footage of the event and video messages from APU students can be viewed on YouTube. Be sure to check it out!

Donations raised 217,230 yen
Donation recipient Japanese Red Cross Society

The "Ganbarre Tohoku" APU Joint Student Organization Donation Appeal

Content Eighteen APU student circles join forces for North East Japan Earthquake Disaster relief event:
Time period May 11 (Wed) – May 22 (Sun)
Venue Cafeteria booth, in front of the fountain, Millennium Hall
Report

The "Ganbarre Tohoku" APU Joint Student Organization Donation Appeal

From Wednesday, May 11 until Tuesday, May 22, eighteen APU student circles will be coming together for a joint North East Japan Earthquake Disaster relief event. Entitled "Ganbarre Tohoku", the project is part of continuing efforts to support the people affected by the Great North East Japan Earthquake. In addition to a donation appeal at the cafeteria, there will be a number of outdoor performances by student circles, Japanese tea tasting and a finale Grand Show.

Donations of money and goods are being accepted from Sunday, May 1 until Tuesday, May 31. Donations will be accepted in cash at the donation booth, through bank transfer and overseas electronic funds transfer (please see below for the transfer account details). Thank you for your support and please give generously!

Participating groups:
GBL, SOSC, Kagei, OASIS, APU Times, Lasting Light, Tea Ceremony Club, APU Photo Club, Nifty Studio, Calligraphy Club, Arauma Chiyo, Muay Thai, Mai no Hana, Tropic Salsa, APU Karate Club, Wadaiko Raku, Gospel Soul, C-Sound

Donation recipient The Japanese Red Cross Society
Goods/material donations to: Nihon Univa Counter Crisis Team
* Photos taken at the Cafeteria and images of the Grand Show will be edited, put together as a video and presented to high schools in the affected areas.

Report by KUSANO Keita (APS, Japan) and OHIRA Reiko (APS, Japan) currently on an exchange program to Korea University

Content Donation appeal
Venue Korea University Campus
Report

The Korea University Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Relief Association was set up by a group of Japanese students studying abroad at Korea University. With the cooperation of university student circles, the event brought together 100 Japanese and 200 Korean students for a massive donation appeal. KUSANO Keita served as Association President. Starting on Tuesday, March 15, the thirteen day appeal raised approximately 17 million won in relief funds.


At the conclusion of the donation appeal, KUSANO Keita offered a message of thanks to everyone who gave their support:
We have received an enormous amount of support towards this campaign ever since the Japanese exchange students first decided to take action and do whatever they could to help the crisis from Korea. It’s thanks to this support that we were able to achieve what we did and raise so much money. The list of people and university staff who contributed their time and money so generously is simply endless. With your support I am sure that we have played a part in the speedy recovery of the disaster areas and will assist the people affected by this disaster to return to their normal lives as soon as possible. I am also sure that the people affected by this disaster will forever remember the generous support of the Korean people. I don’t know how to express in this report just how much we appreciate the support we received, but please let me thank our supporters on behalf of all Japan. Thank you all so very much.


Representative of the Korea University Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Relief Association,
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University,
KUSANO Keita

Donations raised 15,305,602 won (excluding 2 million won for project expenses)
Donation recipient the Japanese Red Cross Society

Report from the Japan-Korea Friendship Association (Ja-Ko-Net) and KUSANO Keita (APS, Japan) currently on an exchange program to Korea University

Content Charity concert
Venue Seoul, Korea. Live-house “Rolling Hall”
Report

On Friday, June 3, the Japan-Korea Friendship Association “Ja-Ko-Net” held a charity concert at the Rolling Hall live house in Seoul, Korea. Ja-Ko-Net is headed by APU student, KUSANO Keita currently on an exchange program to Korea University. Six Korean and Japanese bands performed to an audience of around 250 people as a show of support to everyone affected by the recent Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster. In addition to the 926,660won raised on the day, they also received 500,000won in corporate donations bringing the total amount raised, excluding expenses, to 1,426,660won. The group plans to travel to the disaster zones and deliver, in person, the entire amount to elementary schools including Ishimaki City Elementary School, Miyagi Pref., which lost almost 70% of its students to the disaster.


At the conclusion of the concert we received the following message from KUSANO Keita: This charity concert came about because we wanted to let the people in the affected areas working hard in the relief efforts that they are not alone and that they have supporters here in Korea. This event was a success thanks to the support we received from individuals and corporate donations. We pray for a speedy recovery and thank everyone for their support.

Donations raised 1,426,660 won. (excluding expenses)
Donation recipient Elementary schools on Miyagi Pref. including Ishimaki City Elementary School.

APU-NEST Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster Relief Event Held: (Wednesday, Spetember 7) UP!

Content APU-NEST Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster Relief Event:
Time period June 30 (Thu) – July 22 (Fri)
Venue Pacific Café
Report

Members of APU-NEST, a student organisation working to support the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake disaster relief efforts, held a range of events starting on Thursday, June 30, 2011, including a exhibition of photos taken of the disaster areas, and lectures by representatives of relief work groups.

Thursday, June 30 – Tuesday, July 5 Recovery Assistance Media Team Photo Exhibition
Monday, July 4. Lecture by Mr. ENOKIDA Ryuji of the Recovery Assistance Media Team
“For Our Children – what should we do now? A Progress Report by the Recovery Assistance Media Team”
Thursday, July 7 – Monday, July 11 NPO Mintsuna photo exhibition
Sunday, July 10 “APU-NEST & Minna-de Kauya Project, charity sales event for areas affected by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake”

A special event featuring sales of products from the Tohoku Region and charitable goods was held at JR Beppu Station. The Minna-de Kauya Project is involved in the sale of charity goods produced at welfare centers for the disabled in disaster-affected areas which are then sold in Tokyo, Aichi, Osaka and other major centers around Japan. The organisation tries to get involved with aid providers and aid receivers including goods-producing welfare centers, and shops and organisations selling the goods via the internet. These events were the result of a joint-effort between The Minna-de Kauya Project and APU-NEST after a call for possible ways in which people could contribute to the reconstruction process as part of their daily life.

Monday, July 11 Lecture by NPO Mintsuna Representative, SATO Kei “As a victim of the disaster, as a photojournalist, and as a supporter ~ All eyes on Rikuzen-takada City, my home town ~”

March 11, 2011. The day the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake struck Journalist SATO Kei was reporting in the Congo when he watched with astonishment the news images of the tsunami consuming the city of Rikuzen-takada in Miyagi Prefecture, his home town. As soon as he got back to Japan, he made his way to Rikuzen-takada City only to find the city totally destroyed. SATO Kei lost his mother to this disaster. He took pictures, and kept taking pictures, in order to accept the fact that this disaster had occurred and that he had lost his mother. Among his photos were images of buildings reduced to rubble, a town washed away, and survivors searching for family members from amongst the bodies laid out in gymnasiums. “Memories are easily forgotten if we don’t want to remember them. But if we forget about this disaster then the lives that were lost will be in vain. I hold these lectures and exhibitions in the hope that more people will know about the damage this disaster has inflicted on so many people”.

Friday, July 22 Lecture by the Recovery Assistance Media Team “Sendai Todoke-Tai”
“Let our hopes get through”

This lecture welcomed FUJIOKA Kenji and SANBONSUGE Michitsugu, respectively the representative and vice representative of the Sendai-based “Sendai Todoke-Tai”. Working under the Sendai Fashion Association, the Sendai Todoke-Tai consists of fourteen different teams including the “Todoke-Tai” – a team involved in distributing relief materials to the affected areas.

Mr. FUJIOKA said, “For a while, the disaster area was like another world. Here and there we would see red ribbons – the grizzly symbol that marked the spot of a body. People who were giving their absolute everything in order to live were becoming desperate, shops and relief supplies were being robbed, and it got to the point where it was dangerous to walk alone at night. Months have since passed and the brutal conditions have subsided, but the people who remain are still faced with a very harsh reality. The most serious problem at the moment is employment. Even in temporary housing, people have to cover their heating and power bills, which is proving difficult for many. We continue our efforts in the hope that even one more person can return to their normal life as soon as possible and that smiles return to the peoples’ faces. You cannot take our parents, friends and loved ones for granted. And you cannot take it for granted that you have a school, a place to study, and can have hopes for the future. I only came to learn the true meaning of gratitude when I, myself, got involved”.

Habitat APU (Joint donation appeal with Habitat APU and JCC) (Friday, August 26) UP!

Content Donation appeal
Time period Saturday, July 9, 12:00-18:00
Venue In front of Tokiwa Dept. Store Oita
Report

On Saturday, July 9, 2011, Habitat APU joined forces with nine student organisations from seven universities affiliated with the Kansai-Area Campus Chapter of Habitat for Humanity Japan (HFHJ) and launched a donation appeal in Oita City to support the reconstruction process underway in the areas affected by the recent Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.


Habitat for Humanity is an international NGO working towards providing and improving dwellings for underprivileged people around the world. Habitat APU – the only HFHJ student chapter in Kyushu – joined forces with nine student organisations from seven universities affiliated with Habitat for Humanity Japan Kansai-Area Campus Chapter including Ritsumeikan University, Doshisha University, Kansai University, and Kwansei Gakuin University. Through this project, the participating chapters aim to assist the rebuilding process currently underway in areas affected by the recent earthquake. The group launched a similar donation appeal following the December 2010 Haiti earthquake and managed to raise approximately one-million yen for the rebuilding efforts.


On the day, thirty members of Habitat APU took part in the street donation appeal and raised 89,949 yen thanks to the many people who offered their generous support. Over the entire project, the donation appeals in Kansai and Kyushu managed to raise a total of 655,681 yen. All proceeds will be sent to the disaster areas via HFHJ.


Project deputy representative, YAMAMOTO Keima (APS1, Japan) commented on the project, “Taking part in this donation appeal has made me see that people in the local community are still very concerned about the impact of the recent earthquake. The road to recovery is still very long and there is a limit to how much we can do. However, we are by no means powerless and we will continue to do whatever we can to support the reconstruction of the affected areas.


In August later this year, Habitat APU will again carry out its annual “Global Village” housing construction project in Thailand.

Donations raised 89,949 yen
(Over the entire project, the donation appeals in Kansai and Kyushu managed to raise a total of 655,681 yen.)
Donation recipient All proceeds will be sent to the disaster areas via Habitat for Humanity Japan (HFHJ).

Recovery Assistance Team “Sendai Todoke-kai” & APU students discuss the question: “What do people in the disaster areas need now more than anything?”:

Content Recovery Assistance Team “Sendai Todoke-kai” & APU students discuss the question
Time period Friday, July 22
Venue Cafe & Bar Gallery Union(Oita Prefecture, Beppu City)
Report

March 11, 2011
Five months have now passed since the disaster and many people ask “what can we do now to help?” A group of APU students who asked this very question met and had a lively discussion with FUJIOKA Kenji and SANBONSUGE Michitsugu, the respective representative and vice representatives of the “Sendai Todoke-Tai” – an aid organisation involved in the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake relief efforts.

Working under the Sendai Fashion Association, the recovery assistance team “Sendai Todoke-Tai” consists of a group of fourteen teams formed in accordance with the needs of people in the affected areas. The group initially began by helping to confirm the safety of association members before extending their efforts to deliver relief materials to areas where government assistance was unable to reach. The team continues to expand its sphere of volunteer activities and respond to the needs of the people in the affected areas.

“For a while, the disaster area was like another world. Here and there we would see red ribbons – the grizzly symbol that marked the spot of a body. People who were giving their absolute everything in order to live were becoming desperate, shops and relief supplies were being robbed, and it got to the point where it was dangerous to walk alone at night”. Under these conditions, the first team was launched was the “Todoke-Tai” (delivery team) which began by delivering bedding. Then came the “Iyashi-Tai” (mental support team) and the “Kireinishi-Tai” (tidy-up team) which offered support to the victims and a place where people could slow down and relax. More and more teams were launched in order to deal with the needs of the affected people. The most serious problem at the moment is employment. Even in temporary housing, people have to cover their heating and power bills, which is proving difficult for many.

Mr. FUJIOKA said, “We continue our efforts in the hope that even one more person can return to their normal life as soon as possible and that smiles return to the peoples’ faces. You cannot take our parents, friends and loved ones for granted. And you cannot take it for granted that you have a school, a place to study, and can have hopes for the future. I only came to learn the true meaning of gratitude when I, myself, got involved”.

The event was coordinated by Jack Koki HUGES (APM4, Japan). Jack was looking for a job in Tokyo where he himself was injured when the earthquake struck in March. He thought to himself, “I really need to see the affected areas with my own eyes. Is there something I can do to help?” With this goal in mind, Jack got in touch with his contacts at the Todoke-Tai, held a charity concert, collected relief supplies and then volunteered to deliver them to the affected areas. Jack shared his thoughts on the event, “We had many people approach us wanting to volunteer but not knowing how to go about it. We planned this event as a way of letting people know about what it’s like in the affected areas and, therefore, help to raise the awareness of people in Kyushu towards the disaster”.

Although five months have now passed since the earthquake struck, many people are still living in civil defense shelters. The ongoing crisis at the nuclear power plant has raised many more pressing issues which have made us painfully aware that this disaster has affected the entire nation, not just the Tohoku region. I would like to share with you the words of Mr. FUJIOKA.

“If you are thinking about doing something to help, it is up to you to make it a reality. Please do not forget about this disaster. I hope that you will become a “Hirome-Tai” (Lit: “spread the word around Oita team”) and share what you have learnt here today. I also urge you to be thankful for the situation you are in, study hard and have a deep sense of gratitude in whatever endeavors you pursue”.

Reporter: ARAKI Yukari
<Student Press Assistant (SPA)>


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