Ogatsu Playground Build Report – September 2016

This fantastic project started back in February 2016, after team nadia was asked to bring a kids playground to the city of Ogatsucho in the Ishinomaki area. Ogatsucho is a small fisher village directly at the cost line. Residential buildings are rebuilt on higher grounds as many houses were destroyed by the 2011 tsunami.

The very fun part was to involve children from the Koyama Home orphanage in Chiba throughout the planning phase as well as the build and opening ceremony.

Thanks to our friends at Playground of Hope (PoH) and the sponsors of International Volunteer Group (IVG) this became a huge success.

ogatsu-2016-01nadia volunteer committee members met with the Koyama Home kids the first time in July to introduce and discuss about the project.
The second meeting was a done via Video Conference. The breakfast menu on the day of event was decided with the kids then.
And the third time we met again in August, finalizing the plan and started folding a 1000 paper cranes.

After a night in the bus we started the day early with a rich breakfast prepared by the kids. Salad, sausages, scrambled egg and toasted bread was on the menu.ogatsu-2016-02

While the Koyama Home group went on an organized “sightseeing” tour we started with the playground construction from the very beginning. The group came back in the early afternoon and all helped with putting the parts together.ogatsu-2016-03

Thanks to the professional lead of Yannick, Angela of POH and Horiuchi-san of Sakae corporation the playground and spring rockers were in place in the evening.ogatsu-2016-04

Dinner with deliciously fresh seafood was organized by the local community. That was a highlight by itself.ogatsu-2016-05

Day two was all about the opening ceremony.
After quickly folding some more paper cranes the speeches of all involved parties were spoken and balloons released.ogatsu-2016-06

A local taiko drum formation impressed with their powerful and synchronized drum performance and our Okinawa music performer Ritsuko animated to dance.ogatsu-2016-07

It was a pleasure to see the local and the Koyama Home children playing on the brand new playground.ogatsu-2016-09
ogatsu-2016-10Another round of BBQ with the freshest scallops and hoya (sea pineapple) for lunch before we went back on the long drive to Chiba and Tokyo.

It was an outstanding experience for team nadia to work together with all the involved groups. Especially heartwarming is the relationship with the Koyama Home children, which we will never forget and hopefully staying in contact with other projects in the future.

by Rolf


Sanja Matsuri Report – July 2016

We were able to organize this trip thanks to the fundraiser event with auction on 3/11 earlier this year.

The journey started with a smaller group of volunteers and about the same amount of nadia core members on Friday night from Shinjuku.

The bus drove through the night and we arrived safely early morning in Ishinomaki. We could get another few hours of sleep, laying down in the Minato community center.

Saturday morning we split into several groups:

Gentaro and Joji visited Chiba-san to plan about the Ogatsu playground build in September

Sakiko and volunteer friends went shopping for ingredients and then prepared crepes in the Minato community center kitchen for the Sunday festival

Koss and a fellow volunteer drove to Kamome school for disabled kids where we built a playground at the end of 2014; they did some maintenance and weeding around the play-set

Morgan and Rolf took some volunteers to the annual grass and weed cutting around the Atsuta shrine. Fortunately we got reinforced by locals helpers

It was raining quite hard the whole Saturday but on Sunday it luckily cleared up, right on time for the Sanja kids festival.

The preparations and ceremony started early Sunday morning.


By the time the kids and adults in their blue happis (shirts), carrying the mikoshi (portable shrine), shouting ‘yoisa yoisa’, came back from their rounds around the neighborhood the following entertainment was ready:

giant “magic” bubbles (not so gigantic in the picture)

the shovel guitar players proved again that it doesn’t need strings to play the shovels

the Ogatsu taiko drummers took it away with their outstanding powerful performance

the Okinawa performers sang and played traditional songs with their shamisen guitars

fishing water balloons and toys which turned into a big splash zone in the end – how fun was that!


various foods like yakisoba and others from the local community as well as crepes from team nadia

THANK YOU, supporters of the 3/11 memorial dinner and volunteers to make a difference by supporting this great festival event. We participated the 5th time this year and its always great fun as you can see on the pictures above.

by Rolf


Ishinomaki meets Kumamoto

After discussing what Nadia could do for the survivors of the Kumamoto earthquake on April 14, we came up with our latest program called “Ishinomaki meets Kumamoto” – to deliver products purchased from Ishinomaki food product companies, which experienced the great earthquake five years ago, to an area in Kumamoto which was devastated by this recent disaster. Nadia contacted a company it has had a long-standing relationship with which very eagerly jumped on board and even arranged additional suppliers to join in.

ishinomaki meets kumamoto 01

Meanwhile, we received contact from a group called Nishihara Village Tanpopo House in Kumamoto, asking for food and other provisions. Nishihara Village is located close to Aso and was one of the most severely damaged municipalities along with Mashiki Town. This organization’s main mission is the operation of a facility for people with disabilities, but after the earthquake it began providing hot meals and delivering relief supplies. Nishihara Village Tanpopo House was recently featured on a n NHK program called Baribara aired May 29, in an episode titled “90 days from the Kumamoto earthquake – rebuilding Nishihara Village and the workshops”. (Japanese only: http://www6.nhk.or.jp/baribara/lineup/single.html?i=128)

Fortunately, Suenaga-san from Miyagi was on his way to volunteer in Kumamoto and delivered the relief supplies by car for us – travelling the great distance of 1600km! We are very happy that we were able to deliver Nadia’s support to Kumamoto. A big thank you to everyone that helped out in the form of donations and delivery! We are praying for the speedy recovery of Kumamoto.

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Ochakko closing ceremony – report

by Kaicho

ochakko201601sAfter three and a half years Ochakko is being closed down and the structure is being donated to a local group.  While it is a bit sad perhaps, as we leave behind some good memories, in the end we should realize that it was not the building that made it memorable but the people we met and the things that were done at Ochakko.  We should also be glad that the needs of the community are evolving and moving forward and we can be proud that through Ochakko, we at nadia, were able to be a small part of that process.
ochakko201602sAs I said at the ceremony, the building Ochakko was simply a building, but Ochakko was about the people and the community.  Many thanks to Kayo, Team 3-11, and all others that made it what it was.  We hope that even if the building is gone, we can continue building on the relationships we have created and can continue to help the community going forward.

Many thanks to Air Liquide, and the many other sponsors and volunteers that made this possible.ochakko201605s

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