JAMsj Tohoku Update


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JAMsj is hosting “Ai Love Japan-Tohoku Update 2014”

to provide an update on how the people in the Tohoku area are now doing. A pictorial and video update will be presented by Darrell Miho, co-founder of Ai Love Japan, photographer, and journalist. He has been to Tohoku 12 times since the disastrous earthquake of March 2011. In this update, he will share how the area has changed over time. We will then have live, one-on-one Skype video calls with the people from the Tohoku region, followed by a Q&A session. This will give participants a chance to interact with and hear directly from the people who were most affected. Light refreshments will also be served.
Ai Love Japan uses earthquake and tsunami survivor stories to increase public awareness about how people were affected and what they are doing now to rebuild their lives. Their goal is to keep people aware of the ongoing situation in the disaster area in hopes of encouraging volunteers to raise additional funds and go help people in the hardest-hit areas in the Fukushima, Iwate, and Miyagi prefectures.

For additional information, please visit Ai Love Japan at http://ailovejapan.org

Cost is Free.
Seats are limited. Reserve your spot by contacting PublicPrograms@jamsj.org or calling (408) 294-3138.

Darrell Miho

Darrell Miho is a professional photographer and writer specializing in people, sports, travel and special events. His work has been published in such notable publications as Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest and The New York Times.

Miho extends his love for taking pictures to the community by donating his service to worthy causes. It is this inner desire to help others that motivates him to pursue personal projects that will help make his world a better place.

Since the March 11th disaster in Japan, Miho has traveled to the Tohoku region over a dozen times to volunteer and document the recovery and relief efforts and uses the stories to raise awareness and encourage others to volunteer and continue to support the people in Japan.

“Despite the great loss that they have suffered – family members, homes, cars, jobs – the values and the spirit of the Tohoku people are unwavering. They are doing what they can under less than ideal circumstances to rebuild and restore their lives and their communities. This is why I keep going back.”

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Kiyomi Suzuki

Leader of the Minamisanriku reconstruction station

Suzuki-san was born and raised in Minamisanriku. His home was washed away during the tsunami and is now living in temporary housing provided by the government.

Suzuki-san use to support the elderly by introducing them to jobs in the area before the earthquake and tsunami. He now works at the Minamisanriku reconstruction station, which supports the disaster area with volunteers. They manage the works for the area by communicating with various people and groups. The works is helping to develop the town, researching to generate an industry for the future and supporting the elderly who live in temporary housing and the surround area. He mentioned that a lot of volunteers came here to help a year ago, but now the area is almost cleaned up. The next step will require a long term effort to help remove the insecure feeling for the locals.

He’s seen many of the good points of Minamisanriku through his activities. He hopes that people all over the world will visit to share the resources of the region.

Tadayoshi Abe

The creator of Octopus-kun, the mascot of Irya YES Kobo

Abe-san was born and raised in Manamisanriku. His home was not damaged from the tsunami, he now lives in the same place.

YES Kobo-The original factory was washed away by the tsunami. Abe-san, working with volunteers, restarted the factory to provide employment and motivation for the local residence. It was initially supported by others, but over time has become self-sufficient. They make and sell local handmade goods like Octopus-kun. Octopus-kun is the mascot for Minamisanriku, because the area is famous for octopus. Abe-san created the character to help popularize Minamisanriku and started selling it in 2009.They want people to know about Minamisanriku throughout Japan so that the memory of the earthquake and tsunami is not forgotten. Abe-san is coming up with more ideas for goods and products centered on Octopus-kun. He says that he wants to continue his work without forgetting the people who supported them and values their relationships.

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Ryuta Kamikokuryo

NPO Idouhoiku Project

Born in Kagoshima, Japan, Kamikokuryo graduated from Nihon University (college of engineering), located in Koriyama, Fukushima, and lived in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, after graduation. After getting married, he moved back to Koriyama in 1998 and started working for a house builder.

In May 2005 he established Donguri Hoikuen (Acorn Nursery School) as a side business, because he likes kids. In November 2005, he started volunteering to support the opening of other nursery schools via his website based on a successful business model he was already using. He has 120 advisees, 10 of whom have since opened their own nursery schools.

In August 2008, he opened his second nursery school, and in October 2010 he quit his house building job and is now concentrating on his nursery school business. In July 2011, in order to support preschool-age children from Fukushima (who suffered from the great earthquake and tsunami of March 2011), he sold his nursery school business and started the Idou Hoikuen (mobile nursery school) project.

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Mitsuru Tani

Originally from Tokyo, Tani worked for JAL (Japan Airlines) in his first career. He then moved to Futaba, Fukushima, 43 years ago and started his family. He became a rice farmer and had 173 acres before the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami made
his home and farm uninhabitable.

On March 12 at 7:30 a.m. the police came to his home to evacuate the area. By 8:00 a.m. he was on the road, and it took him 8 hours to go 30 kilometers to Kawamata, where he spent the next two nights. He then moved again to Fukushima station, which is 60 kilometers from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. He lived in a variety of temporary housing environments (e.g., open gymnasium floors and relatives’ homes) before settling in his current temporary housing complex in Shin Shirakawa. He helps manage the local residences and is responsible for taking radiation measurements every other day which he posts for everyone to see.