Anglican Diocese of Riverina & Anglicare Riverina
NSKK ‘Let’s walk together’ project
Kamaishi Recovery Centre
Youth volunteers Tour of Japan for
Assisting long term recovery of the
Tsunami affected Community of Kamaishi
1 - 10 July 2012
On 11 March in 2011, one of the worst Tsunami, caused by a massive earthquake (known as the Great Eastern Japan earthquake, and it scaled magnitude 9.0) hit the North East region (TOHOKU) of Japan. High and raging walls of sea water swallowed up and wiped about 500 km of the coastal region ��Pacific Ocean side). Wave got as high as 10 meters and devastated
hundreds of communities. City of Kamaishi locates in the coastal district of IWATE prefecture and its main industry is commercial fishing. Also one of the biggest steal mills in Japan, operates in the hart of the city. Before 11 March, 39,578 people lived in Kamaishi but the population reduced after the event, as at least 1,400 people were confirmed dead, and many
others moved away from their home. As of April 2012, population of Kamaishi is 36,951. Diocese of Riverina & Anglicare Riverina made an immediate contact to the Diocese of Hokkaido, one of our companion dioceses, and kept the communication channel with them. In May 2011, NSKK (Nippon Sei Kou Kai; Anglican Church of Japan) established the Provincial
Disaster Recovery Centre in Sendai (MIYAGI Prefecture, south of IWATE) and commenced their operation. In Kamaishi, the Centre was initially established at the Anglican kindergarten (Shin-Ai, or Divine Love, Kindergarten, a facility attached to the local parish) One clergy from the diocese of Hokkaido was sent to Kamaishi for four weeks to take their pastoral role, as the
local diocese of TOHOKU was not able to assign their clergy for they are too small in number. In early May, I visited Hokkaido, and discussed with the head of their diocesan recovery assistance team, Fr. Peter Omachi about some possibilities of our involvement. In early July, I and Mr. Michael Hallinan of Deniliquin visited Kamaishi and spent 6 days with
them. We were totally amazed when we saw destroyed buildings, streets, ships, and cars in everywhere. In September, we launched our special appeal for ʻScarves & Beaniesʼ for the children of Kamaishi. From all parishes in Riverina, we collected more than 1,000 sets of knitted beanies & scarves. It was taken to Japan by Qantas Freight (for free) and delivered to Shin-Ai
Kindergarten and two other kindergartens in the town (including one Buddhists kindergarten) This project was highly appreciated by the locals. Now, it is the time for us to move further forward. I would like to take our young people (age between 16-20) to Kamaishi, to make our friendship firmer and stronger with the people of Kamaishi. For them and for us, this project will boost our confidence that thereafter, we will walk our lifeʼs journey together with strength and hope. We are going to meet each other not as strangers, but as friends, so I believe that we shall break through the barriers of language, culture, and lifestyle, by seeing each other face to face and being together, to share the moments, activities, thoughts, and feelings.
So, please pray for us, as we are ready to bring and share Godʼs love, to those friends in Kamaishi.
May God be with us at all times.
Archdeacon Paul Kumasaka
Director / Disaster Recovery Coordinator,
Luke Bennett Broken HIll
Kelsey Deeves Leeton
Elizabeth Chilvers Yenda (Griffith)
Katy Quinn Lake Cargelligo
Ven. Paul Kumasaka Lake Cargelligo Leader
Rev. Sue-Ellen Chilvers Yenda (Griffith) Leader
POPULATION 36,951 (AS OF APRIL, 2012)
AREA COVERED 1,5378 SQUARE KILOMETERS
ACCESS & TRANSPORT
JAPAN RAIL (JR) KAMAISHI LINE (KAMAISHI - HANAMAKI IS ABOUT 2 HOURS) 2 OTHER LINES ARE STILL CUT OFF.
FROM INLAND IWATE, KAMAISHI IS ISOLATED BY THE MOUNTAIN RANGES. ALONG THE COAST, ʻZIG-ZAGʼ
SHAPED COAST LINE WITH MANY BAYS AND COVES MAKES TRAVELERS UNEASY TO ACCESS.
KAMAISHI PUBLIC HOSPITAL, PRIVATE HOSPITAL, AND FEW GPS SURGERIES, & DENTISTS.
AS OF MAY 2012, ALL INFRASTRUCTURES, INCLUDING POWER, PHONE, GAS, WATER, ROAD, RETAILERS,
BANKS, ARE RECOVERED.
COMMERCIAL FISHING, STEEL MILLS (NEW JAPAN STEEL)
11 HOUSING COMPLEX WITHIN THE CITY OF KAMAISHI. ABOUT 1,200 UNITS
ANGLICAN RECOVERY CENTRE
KNOWN AS ʻKAMAISHI BASEʼ OPEN 7 DAYS FROM 7 AM TO 6 PM. 2 MANAGEMENT STAFF PLUS VARIOUS
VOLUNTEER WORKERS. FOR MORE INFO http://www.city.kamaishi.iwate.jp/index.cfm/10,0,76,425,html
Mon. 2 July Visiting Shin-Ai Kindergarten Singing & dancing (Aussie kids songs ) Reading kids books
Visiting the coastal districts with Mr Ebihara (the manager) Stood in the middle of the ruins. Minutes Silence & prayer for the victims
Tues. 3 July Visiting Kamaishi Pre- School. Singing & dancing. (getting confident !) Reading kids books
Visiting Kami-Nakajima Temporary Housing Units. Afternoon Tea and chats with the residents in the
Wed. 4 July Visiting Syofukuji Kindergarten. Singing & dancing. Most energetic kids and lots of fun.
Visiting Nakazuma Temporary Housing Units. Afternoon Tea and more chatting. Our team is very well
received by the residents. Then, Played with children at Shin-Ai.
Thurs. 5 July Internal duties at the Centre and resting. Luke made some Pizza Dough for tomorrowʼs activities.
Visiting Noda-NIshi Temporary Housing Units for door knockings. Residents told us some incredible
stories. Most memorable experience. More than 20 Uni. students from Tokyo arrived to the base.
Fri. 6 July Visiting Ohata Temporary Housing Units for Pizza making. Mr. Yahata (Samuel) taught us how to do it.Enjoyed by all. Girls had a spell while Luke and Fr. Paul with Samuel visited Matsukura Units for Pizza making. BBQ Party at Shin-Ai.
Sat. 7 July Checking out then to the Base. Final debriefing with Samuel. Then to the railway station. Train to Hanamaki, then flying to Sapporo. MIssion complete! Welcomed by Fr. Jerome, Mrs. Ohtomo, Mr. & Mrs. Yoshino, & Rye Yoshino.
Sun. 8 July Attending the Holy Eucharist at the Christ Church Cathedral in Sapporo. Followed by lunch with
the local parishioners. Visiting St. Michaelʼs Church and St.Margaretʼs Church in Sapporo. Then, the presentation of our mission at the Diocesan Registry. Followed by another great BBQ Patry with local youths.
Mon. 9 July Sight seeing and shopping in Port Otaru. (Train trip) Mrs. Kimie Yoshino, and local youths looked after us. Very relaxing moment. Final night in Japan. Dinner with our guides in the restaurant. Then, back to our hotel. Packing and had an early night.
Tues. 10 July Checked out then walk to Sapporo Station. The Dean (Fr. Peter Ohmachi) came ro farewell us. Then to the Airport, took off for Narita. Killed few hours in Narita Airport, before boarding on QF 22.
Took off Narita at 8, 30 pm, for Sydney.
Wed. 11 July Arrived Sydney. Then Home!
My experience in Kamaishi
By Luke Bennett
My time in Kamaishi was an experience that I will never forget. While I was there I saw and experienced so many
things, going to the preschools and performing for the children was amazing I was told that we were going to do it
but I did not expect to be welcomed by the children and the staff with such enthusiasm. The team being able to bring
Australian culture to the children is something that they will remember forever. During my stay in Kamaishi we spent our morning and afternoons at the rescue center eating breakfast and dinner, sharing out experiences of the day and praying .The food that we ate was semi traditional as there was a flair of western breakfast to keep us sane. We were also able to see what traditional Japanese cuisine is like . That had mixed reactions but I was very pleased to try such varied and interesting meals. The sharing sessions at the end of the day and the praying sessions were good because we got to say how we were feeling about what we had seen and the stories we had the privillege to hear. Many of these stories were overwhelming recounts of courage and extreme tragedy and I felt very humbled by the selfless strength of these amazing people. I feel very thankful to the diocese for the opportunity to visit Kamaishi and I
am very eager to return in another 18months to 2 years to see how this community has continued to rebuild their lives.
Personal Reflection on Youth Trip to Japan 2012
Going on the trip to Japan was an absolutely life changing experience for me. I didn’t quite know what to expect, seeing as it was my first overseas experience. But it has definitely set great expectations for future travels. A definite highlight of the trip for me personally, was the time we spent in Kamaishi. I found comfort in staying there as it reminded me quite a lot of Griffith, or a regional area. I really enjoyed the feeling of being completely immersed in the Japanese culture. Although we were foreigners, and our bright yellow and green shirts further confirmed this, it really felt as though we were a part of the community
of Kamaishi, and we were not seen as tourists. Meeting the children at the preschools was such a beautiful experience. I will never forget the excitement of the children when we arrived at all 3 preschools. It was beautiful to see how open and excited they were, simply by our presence. Of course there were some who were reserved at first, as they were presented with a new
situation and complete strangers. But as we began singing, dancing, laughing, smiling and trying to interact with them, they began to open up and respond. A particular fond memory for me was when we arrived at one particular preschool. We were waiting for the children to get organised to come in and do some activities with us. Kelsey, Katy, Luke and I watched in wonder as the children peeped out at us from behind doors, giggling and pointing at us. While talking with each other about
what songs we would sing for the kids, I felt a tug on my shirt. Turning around, my eyes met the big brown eyes of a little girl. Smiling shyly, she outstretched her hand, passing me a piece of paper. I smiled at her, thanked her, and took the paper. Smiling
widely, she giggled and ran off. Slightly confused, I opened the piece of paper and found a drawing inside, a picture of a girl with a bow in her hair and a love heart next to her. I happened to have a bow in my hair that day. I still have that piece of paper
now, and her beautiful little smile comes to mind every time I look at it. Although there was a language barrier, and many a time I was presented with confused and puzzled facial expressions as I said ‘I’m sorry but I can’t understand
you’, I still was able to interact with the children. Facial expressions, hand gestures and body language allowed us to be able to communicate with the children and form a special bond. A bond I cherished in the moment, still cherish to this day, and will
continue to cherish for the rest of my life.
Thank You very very much for taking us to Japan it was an amazing and incredible experience. The most memorable moments of the trip was seeing those kids at the preschools and kindergartens, just seeing how much they enjoyed us being there even though we couldn't communicate in the same language, they still enjoyed our
company and to be there to cheer them up was so good, to see there reactions on there faces and to join in with us. The presents we got I thought we were going there to cheer them up we didn't need gifts, so that was a shock and the children that spoke to us in English when we were receiving the gifts, that was great. I had an absolutely amazing time there. On another note the one thing that will always stick with me is when we went door
knocking, the emotional journey had just started as we heard from the residents some of the terrible things that had happened to them during the tsunami and afterwards. I am pleased that the residents still have hope and are trying to get on with there everyday lives even as they lost family, friends and had experienced such a traumatic
event. Just talking to these people and seeing there emotions about their experiences from this event was confronting and hearing the stories of how they got to be in the recovery centres, the story a woman told us about how she was swept under the wave and that she was here to tell us that story. Ebbi and Samuel I know I will remember them forever thay were great guides and teaching us the way of the Japanese, just being in there house and taking it all in as we were part of the Japanese life that will be a memory i will never forget. it was an amazing experience and I would love to go back one day and see how the recovery process has finished up and worked out.
My time in Kamaishi
The time I spent in kamaishi really impacted on my life,, to see the stories on the news and in the papers I didn’t really know what to think ,, but to actually go to Japan and see what had happened and is still happening made it all real for me. to just thinking about how people lost there homes and families to actually seeing and hearing their stories really dismayed me, but being able to make them smile knowing that they were still so sad
made me feel so great . Visiting the kindergartens was an absolutely amazing time for me to see how excited all
the children were to see us and to see their smiling faces and joining in with the songs i felt really jubilant. communicating with them with out words was easier then I thought it would be, it was fascinating how much we could understand from each other just from using actions and expressions. Visiting the temporary housing units and seeing how and what they had to live in was quite sad, it was good to see that they have shelters over their heads, but you couldn't really call it a home. At the first one we went to I was quite nervous, I felt like I had to work harder to gain
their trust. At the second one I was a bit more confident and my confidence built up throughout it to the point at which two men wanted to keep me (I have never in my life smiled so much) the room was just so full of joy and it was such a great environment to be in I felt really accepted :) Pizza making at the third one was great and I felt such at peace with the ladies and for the one who gave us the gifts of the tissue pouches and the bag of food she really touched me as we were there to give to them, not for them to give to us. At the last one we visited giving the goodie bags to the people, being able to have a general conversation with them or them telling us their story of the tsunami was great especially with the when people told us their experience it was quite emotionally moving for me and at one point i was getting very tearful, I felt quite grieved for the people who wouldn’t answer or didn’t really want to speak I understood their grief. Centre I had an absolute fantastic time at the centre meeting Ebby, Samuel, Fr. James and all the people who would come to the shop. Having to help cook was great, and learning new recipes and new ways to cook it was great. The extensive amount of food I have tried is amazing, iI’m really missing the food most of it was really enjoyable and to sit around the table and share it with the company I had was great.
De-briefing was great knowing what everybody thought and felt and being able to fully share with everyone was great without there being any awkwardness or judging going on. The friendships I have made on this trip have been great and I wish to keep them for my whole life... knowing i have really good friends in another country is great and being able to inform each other what is happening in our areas is fantastic. This trip has really influenced my life and its something I will always remember and I couldn’t have shared it with more amazing people. I wish to do something like this again in
the near future... :D
PERSONAL REFLECTION ON YOUTH TRIP TO JAPAN JULY 2012
This has been the most wonderful and life changing experience as I have learnt so much about what is important, the true value of life itself and to be able to acknowledge gifts I have. To have the opportunity to spend ten days with four incredible young people from our Diocese and to watch them mature over such a short period of time, noticing the change in their values was a wonderful experience. Like me, they realised the importance of family, friends, manners, kindness, respect and God’s love rather than material goods and these are life skills they will have with them for the rest of their lives. Whilst we were in Kamaishi we had the opportunity to meet some incredible people. At the evacuation centre we shared special times with the staff, especially Ebbie and Samuel. Our young folk realised they needed to earn the respect of these people and they proved they were worthy of this respect. The sense of achievement that our young people felt upon earning this respect was heart-warming. These men work very hard sharing the love of God with the people of Kamaishi, especially at the temporary housing facilities. Their hours are very long and I’m sure they have experienced some very challenging circumstances over the past fifteen months. It was very important to spend time in prayer at the beginning and end of each day and this we shared with those present at the base in both English and Japanese. Morning Prayer gave us an opportunity to seek God’s help as we worked over the coming day and at Compline each evening we reflected on the day that had past and gave thanks for everything we have. Our daily debriefing session proved important for us all to share parts of our day and to share challenges we experienced. We must thank the staff at the base, especially Ebbie and Samuel for the love and kindness they shared with us over the incredible week we experienced in the Kamaishi. The experiences at the Kindergartens were amazing. As a teacher, and one who has worked in a preschool here in Australia, I saw so many similarities between children across the continents. When dancing the Hokey Pokey, little boys love to run into the centre of the circle and crash into each other in Australia and in Japan, in community based centres, Anglican kindergartens and Buddhist kindergartens. They all play in a similar way! I loved being able to read stories to the children with Fr Paul helping with the translation of Mem Fox’s “Where is the Green Sheep?” and to watch the reactions of the children as our young people danced and engaged with the little ones at each of the centres. The reaction from the windows of the Shi-Ai preschool as we returned on Thursday afternoon was priceless. The squeals were infectious and the children delighted to spend time with their new friends! We visited a number of temporary housing facilities where people are living in one, two or three room housing, depending on the number of people in each family. Here we met people who had lost everything, including family members and friends. They were incredibly gracious and so appreciative of our visit, especially young Australian teenagers who had come across the world to listen to their stories and spend time with them. For myself, although I found door-knocking a challenge in the beginning, I have discovered that a kind touch and a compassionate expression can break down language barriers and that I am able to show my care towards others. This is a gift given to me by God and I have been challenged to take risks to share with others. I would like to publically thank the Diocese of Riverina and Anglicare Riverina for this opportunity to visit Kamaishi and meet so many special people. I would also like to thank everyone in the Diocese for their prayers for our safety whilst Kelsey, Katy, Luke, Elizabeth, Fr Paul and I were travelling in Japan.
Reverend Sue-Ellen Chilvers
Parish of Griffith.
Time flies, indeed. More than a month has passed since we came back from Japan. I am recalling the day when we landed in Japan on 1st July. At that time, my mind was fully occupied with one big assignment, that is, [Taking our Team safely to Kamaishi.] After having 9 hours flight, we were still required to travel for another 7 hours by trains. Apart from myself, no one else visited Japan before. I had to make sure their welfare every time when we got on and off the train, making sure that they are following me,.... I must say that their ability to adjust and learn something totally new and strange, was perfect. Luke, Elizabeth Kelsey, Katy and Sue were able to manage everything including their train tickets, bags, cash, and food. After we arrived Kamaishi, we visited the Anglican Recovery Centre (The Base) and given some briefing by the Manager, Mr. Koji Ebihara. (We affectionately called him ‘Ebbie’) I knew he was little nervous in facing a bunch of Aussies who do not speak Japanese at all. But He gave us all essential informations loud and clear. From that time, our operation went smoothly and confidently. Without the management staff of the Base, we would not be able to achieve (and learn) our goal. So, I would like to acknowledge the great support given by, Mr. Ebihara, Mr. Samuel Shinya Yahata (PIM Secretary of the Provincial Office of NSKK, especially for his friendly support and English communication), and Mr. Sawada who is a local volunteer worker. Let me not to forget Fr. James Suga of Tokyo, who was with us for the first three days. His friendly smiling made us so relax. I would like to thank Ms. Hitomi Takahashi and her staff at Shin-Ai Kindergarten, and also the staff member of other two pre-schools, Kamaishi Pre-School, and Syofukuji Kindergarten, for their wonderful hospitality and understanding of our mission. People who live in various temporary housing units, I would like to thank them for telling and sharing their incredible stories to us, even though we’ve never met each other before. To Bishop Nathaniel Uematsu, the Primate of Japan, Very Rev. Peter Ohmachi, Revs.
Jerome Ohtomo, Francis Iino, and Paul Yokoyama (the Registrar of Hokkaido), Mr. & Mrs. Yoshino, and all of our friends in Hokkaido, without your help, we would not be able to be there. To Rt. Rev. Dr. Doug Stevens, the Bishop of Riverina, Mr. Clive Jones the Registrar, our Diocesan Family and Anglicare Riverina who supported our funding, ticket booking, and most importantly their prayers for us, thank you very very much. Finally, to our team members, to Luke, Elizabeth, Keley, Katy, and Sue-Ellen, thank you for every thing you did. I’m so proud of you!
May the peace of God and his strength be in the community of Kamaishi at all times.
Ven. Canon Paul Kumasaka