Our Reflections 2015

4 years since 3.11. In Sendai, it’s a mixture of snow and rain. Remembering that moment, my heart aches.
At Sendai, staff have composed together the message “Our Reflections 2015”. In drafting this message, our minds focused especially on the residents of “Sasayashiki Ishiba” whom we support regularly.
Let 3.11 be filled with many prayers.
Masashi Sato
Coordinator of Emmaus Sendai
Our Reflections 2015
4 years since that moment.
We recognized our mere existence.
But even then, we were greeted with kindness and received a lot of smiles.
4 years since that moment.
Numbering in the thousands like the stars,
Prayers were dedicated to this region from all over the world.
Many relationships were formed.
Many stories told.
In telling their stories, we feel their strength to overcome.
4 years since that moment.
Are you not tired?
Are you not trying too hard?
As each person follows his or her own pace,
We shall follow each step.
We long to continue supporting the chain of “Sasaeai”.
4 years since that moment.
From the land filled with debris,
A flower blooms here and there.
The flower that blooms in the land soaked in tears and struggles was
So magnificent, so magnificent,
It taught us the power to live.
We yearn to continue living in this land together.
Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu.
It was so good to have known all of you.

Sasakko club in June

We had a gathering for this month’s Sasakko club (children program in Emmaus Sendai) in June 1st, and 12 children came for it.
June is the month when most of all the areas in Japan enters the rainy season called “tsuyu(梅雨 for kanji), so we thought it would be a good idea to play outside before the gloomy grey clouds hovers above the city of Sendai. This time, we had recreational activities using balls, and after that, we had an ice cream party in which each child made his or her own unique sundae. The weather was good, the staffs were good lol, and the children played so energetically, exhausting the staffs…moreover, it was so worth being at the place where the air was filled with children’s laughter.

UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center
UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center

Unfortunately, we are not going to have a gathering in July.
BUT! We will do our best for this coming summer vacation.
Dates: Mon., Wed., Fri. on the 2nd through 4th week of August, from 10am to 3pm.
Place: Sasayashiki community hall
10am~12noon: study time
12noon~1pm: lunch
1pm~3pm: recreational time
We would appreciate your prayer for this summer program that God blesses those children and college-student volunteers.
Kenichi Tanaka, a Sendai staff

narcissus festival

On April 27th, Saturday, the group with the members mostly from the residents of Shichigo central park temporary housings and I went to Suisen (narcissus) festival in the skiing area at Zao Eboshi. There were 25 of us!! Probably since it was Saturday, some of the members who joined this trip were a family, and it was why we could go in a big group.

UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center

Lunch with the view of fully bloomed narcissus!! …was what I was expecting, but, unfortunately, only few of them were bloomed completely. On the other hand, some said that “wow, the air is getting so clear!!” on the way to reach the mountain as the bus leaves the town of Sendai behind. Also, at the restaurant in the skiing resort, I could see some members ordered curry rice, which people living alone rarely cook (curry is usually cooked in a big pot). In other words, I could see them doing small things that they usually cannot do in temporary housings.

UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center

After lunch at the restaurant, we headed to a bakery called Tamago ya (egg shop) to buy some pastries and ice cream, and devoured them in the bus!! And to finish up the trip, we went for shopping at Michi-no-eki (a roadside station) to get some souvenir and vegetables! All of them intensely looked at the items, accessing them, and left the shop with their bag jam-packed.
This time, we could use a shuttle from a kindergarten, which enabled all of us to go altogether in the same vehicle. Inside the packed bus was like a party. The air was filled with laughter, and all of us indulged ourselves in pleasant moments.

UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center

It was sort of unfortunate that the narcissuses were not fully bloomed…but I believe we could make some memories that are different from everyday living. Many residents in the temporary housings have difficulties going out, and thus, I wish to make an event like this time so that we can do something together and go somewhere together.
Fuka Kayano, a Sendai Staff
Translated by Kenichi Tanaka

volunteer needed

Emmaus is recruiting volunteers. The target place is Sasayashiki, Sendai city, a town currently going through its recovery from the damages by the tsunami. In the area, the residents are mostly farmers, and in order for them to reclaim what they used to call their “daily life,” the restoration of the farming lands is inevitable.

UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center

At Emmaus, our works usually consist of removing stones buried underground and grasses in the farming lands. Now, it has entered very busy season for farmers. Although we receive work-requests, we cannot make an action immediately due to the small numbers of volunteers. As a result, there are still requests on hold.
The work is not something that special skills are required; it is a work that everyone can do. If you have some time to join the volunteer works, please let us know.
Mamoru Kikuchi, a Sendai staff
Translated by Kenichi Tanaka

3.11 memorial event

3.11 memorial event
We had the 2nd memorial event in Sasayashiki area. Although the snowy weather in the previous day had worried us, the sun came to show its face, and we could hold the event under the graceful daylight.
On that day, we had the picture display, ochakko (tea time), and hand massage for the morning program.
As for the picture display, ex-staff, Horita, had collected pictures titled “hope” and “steps from that day” and exhibited on the wall of the community hall. In addition to those pictures, we filed pictures in five different themes – “working scenes,” “events,” “Sasakko club,” “smiles,” and “fruitions” – and made an album so that the visitors could see it while having a cup of tea. These display and album will be placed at the community hall for a while.
There were several people from the town for the event, and they had relaxing time by having conversations with volunteers, taking a look at pictures, and getting hand massages. I believe the place bored smiles among the people, because some locals remembered some of the volunteers who came to the town through Emmaus before, and they talked about the time when they met, walking down the memory lanes.
From 13:30, we had a small concert by the guitar and accordion. Other volunteers came to join and the place was full, but it felt like the distance between people also grew close. Listening to the music, people sang a song altogether, laughed, and sometimes dropped tears. It was as if I saw a glimpse of slow-work – the quality we Emmaus highly value – in this day even though there was no actual work.
And at 14:46, everyone stood facing the direction for Arahama and gave a silent prayer.
Remembering the day in 2 years ago, lamenting, each of us gave a prayer.
“Each of our work is small and tiny, but not powerless.”
I remembered the words that one volunteer said, who came to volunteer earlier time after the disaster. The recovery work is not done, or rather it is not proceeded yet in the disaster area. Many coast areas are still left bare as debris was removed. In front of such scenery, it cannot be helped that we can do nothing but stand there feeling powerless.
We Emmaus desire to continue our works at our best, however small it is.
However slow it is, we want to keep accompany with the victims and their hearts, making a step to step, side by side.
“it is rather us, who were saved by the strong but kind, and warm smiles that shines in the unimaginable suffering and pain. I hope that I can be, however small it is, a part of your smile.” N.S. a volunteer
There was a college student volunteer who was always cheerful and bubbly. At the event, an old lady was sitting on a chair, and she started to talk to the volunteer. The college student, kneeling down, looked up to the lady and started to listen to her. I came across this scene, but I remembered it touched my heart. I was convinced at the moment that Emmaus could have continued its work, because the people who come to Emmaus are so wonderful like this college student.
It has entered the third year from the disaster.
Please remember Emmaus in your prayer.
We appreciate your continued support.
Sendai staff

Emmaus Activities Report in English

Two years has passed from the day of the disaster.
In the town of Shichigo, most of the rice fields are being prepared to start farming, as power shovels are seen everywhere and new soils are brought in. Vegetables are covering the farm lands that once were bare and full of stones. Some people have made their way back to their own houses from their temporary housings.
Although there are still many things to be done, I believe, recovery works is surely bearing the fruition, more or less.
It is our great honor to be a part of this circle of recovery.
Needless to say, our activity would not have been possible without the supports from many. For those who have supported us, we have composed a report book as a way to express our appreciation.
Please click the link to see the activity report.
Emmaus Activities Report in English
We truly appreciate your continued support.