nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup 2017

This event will be held for the purpose of providing an opportunity for kids from Tohoku affected areas, Tokyo, and from abroad to come together, compete together in a friendly soccer tournament and build friendship through activities of the 2 day event. The event will also help raise awareness of participating Tokyo residents and international community on the situation of those directly affected by the 3/11/2011 earthquake and aftermath from Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima.
We will have 10 teams in total, 4 teams from Tohoku public schools and 6 teams from Tokyo-based international and local schools. Kids from Tohoku will stay at Aoba-Japan International School during this event. Volunteers from our sponsor organizations will also be supporting the event.

Pediatric Brain Tumor Network (PBTN) get-together meeting

On Saturday June 17, nadia helps organizing a get-together meeting event of Pediatric Brain Tumor Network (PBTN) in Yokohama Sakae-ku, Kamigo-cho (approximately 30-40 min by bus from JR Ofuna station or Keihin Kyuko Kanazawa Hakkei station). There will be various games and activities with about 40 kids (up to 20 years old) including brain tumor kids during the afternoon and a BBQ in the evening. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact one of the nadia members or via the contact form.

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
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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.
ogatsu-2016-11

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.

ishinomaki meets kumamoto 02

Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup 2016 Report

Tokyo, May 27-29, 2016

kids soccer 2016-00

kids soccer 2016-01

Event Overview
Nadia NPO is actively supporting many projects for children affected by the March 11, 2011 disaster in Tohoku. Since 2013, Nadia has delivered over 18 new “Playgrounds of Hope” to disaster-stricken areas in Tohoku, in addition to sending children affected by Fukushima disaster to summer homestays in Italy and rebuilding of a new community center/soccer club house in Rikuzentakata.

The Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup is the result of a collaborative proposal to invite soccer teams from the disaster-stricken Tohoku area to the Kanto area to participate in a soccer tournament to build lasting friendships between Tohoku and Kanto, in addition to exposing them to an international community of children and families in the much in the same way the global community has rallied together in support of the Tohoku region since 2011. The event was first held in May 2015 with 4 teams from Tohoku and 4 from Tokyo International Schools. The success of this event led to the building of long lasting relationships between Tohoku and Tokyo teams.

kids soccer 2016-02Following the success of the event last year, the members of Nadia were excited to run the event again with the ambition to make the event bigger and better. An important accomplishment this year year was the connection to the local Hikarigaoka community via the community liaison Hiroshi Asemi. We expanded the event with the addition of a soccer field and 2 local Japanese soccer teams, which meant more fun and time play for all participating kids. In addition, we also had a special guest, Manuel Belleri from AC Milan soccer school who performed as a soccer clinic coach to the delight of all
participating teams.

The following teams returned to compete this year to try to reclaim the Soccer Cup from the DSTY Eagles who were the winners of last year. The returning Kanto teams were the A-JIS Junior Jaguars and DSTY Eagles. From Tohoku, Rikuzentakata’s Shishiori FC, Souma’s Ohno Sports Youth FC and Ishinomaki’s Fantasista FC returned to this year friendship soccer tournament. In addition to these 5 teams, the Tokyo West Hawks, Harunokaze Canaries FC, Hikarigaoka Kid FC joined from the first time from Tokyo and the Nakano FC team joined from Sendai, also for the first time.

kids soccer 2016-03

The core Nadia members of Guy Roberge, Justin Ho, Fri McWilliams, Naomi Rennie, Asumi Ota and Morgan Knight in coordination with Greg Culos from Aoba JIS formed the core committee to coordinate and execute this event to great success. Operation of the event was coordinated by volunteers from Nadia and the participating sponsor organizations to help with setup, supervision, food preparation and refereeing of the games.

Arrival of the Tohoku Teams
The Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup was hosted on the weekend of May 28th and 29th with the Tohoku teams arriving on the evening of Friday, May 27th to dorm at the gymnasium of A-JIS. Many of the children from Tohoku were in Tokyo for the first time. The Tohoku kids were so excited after their arrival to dorm at A-JIS, they were found to have woken up to an energetic sunny 6:00 am start to the day (somewhat to the dismay of the supporting Tohoku coaches staying with the children overnight, who were hoping for some extra sleep).

Day 1 Soccer Matches and Activities
The Tokyo teams and volunteers arrived on the morning of May 28th when meetings for the coaches and volunteers were held. The opening ceremony hosted by Greg set the outline and tone of the event to be one of friendly competition and sportsmanship. On Day 1, all teams played a total of 5 games with a mix of teams playing against international teams, local Japanese teams and Tohoku teams on 2 fields.

kids soccer 2016-04Soccer matches commenced at 9am and ran throughout the day, through lunch and right up until dinner. Teams that were not playing on the fields had the opportunity to attend AC Milan’s soccer clinics, play in the pool and cheer other playing teams between their own matches.

The events continued well into late in the afternoon with the soccer teams being taken to the local sento to bathe after their final matches. A dinner BBQ was hosted by the volunteers consisting of hamburgers, hotdogs, salad and grilled vegetables.

kids soccer 2016-05Both the Tohoku teams and Kanto teams were exhausted from a full day of activities by the evening and retired to the gymnasium where they would dorm for the night in preparation for the 2nd day of soccer matches. A total of 130 kids stayed over at Aoba.

Throughout the day, local community volunteers from Aoba-JIS, Hikarigaoka local community were gracious enough to set aside time to work alongside the corporate volunteers from our sponsor organizations.
kids soccer 2016-06

Andreas and staff at Cezar’s Kitchen ensured all kids were in top shape
for the game by providing delicious breakfast and lunch on Saturday

The staff of Caezar’s Kitchen provided breakfast and bentos for the first day of the matches, while also assisting with the procurement of all food for the volunteer-run BBQ on Saturday evening and the finale BBQ hosted on Sunday.

Day 2 Soccer Matches and Activities
Based on the results from Day 1, the teams were ranked to play in the final tournamenent matches. Like Saturday, the children woke to an early start and were practicing on the soccer pitch by 6 am.
The staff of Caesar’s Kitchen had breakfast for kids ready by 7:30 am for

the teams to be ready for their initial matches at 9 am. The 2nd day of the event had a total of 11 matches among all teams to determine the final rankings and the winners of the Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup.

kids soccer 2016-07The Tokyo West competing against Shishiori FC at Harunokaze field

With the games running throughout the day, the volunteers from the sponsor organizations came together to prepare for the finale BBQ.

kids soccer 2016-08

BBQ on Saturday and Sunday featured Hamburgers, Hot Dogs and Seasonal Grilled Vegetables prepared by our dedicated volunteers to the delight of all kids

By 1:50 pm after the rounds of intense play, the tournament came to a close and the competing teams were brought together for the closing ceremony. Placement awards were for:

First Place: A-JIS Junior Jaguars, awarded by Satoshi Mitsuda, CSR Committee at J.P. Morgan

kids soccer 2016-09

Second Place: Tokyo West Hawks, awarded by Momoko Nakayama, CSR Committee at Societe Generale

kids soccer 2016-10

Third Place: Ishinomaki Fantasista FC, awarded by Hiroshi Asemi, Hikarigaoka Community Liaison

kids soccer 2016-11

MVP Award: Masaya Tanaka, awarded by Naomi Rennie, Nadia Organizing Team

kids soccer 2016-12

All participating teams received a Nadia gift bag containing:

  • A Friendly Cup T-Shirt and Program
  • A soft mini soccer ball
  • A laminated newsletter souvenir of the event

In addition, the Tohoku teams received a gift of from AC Milan.

It’s all about Friendship
Whether it is on the field or in other activities held throughout the weekend, our goal was to provide a memorable event and long lasting friendships between all kids in a bigger and better fashion than the 1st Edition. On that aspect, we can say our mission was accomplished!

kids soccer 2016-13

May the friendships developed over a memorable weekend last a lifetime!

kids soccer 2016-14Many thank you letters from participating Tohoku kids

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Nadia’s Organizing Team

A word of thanks
This event would not have been possible without the support of many organizations and individuals. Nadia would like to express their thanks to A-JIS Ken Sell, Head of School, and Greg Culos, Director of AJ Extension, for working hand-in-hand with Nadia on this 2nd Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup. We would like to also express special thanks to Hiroshi Asemi for bringing in the local community and connecting us with local teams and volunteers. We would like to also say thank you to our corporate and food sponsors who provided financial and logistical support with their volunteers.

Thanks to all our supporters and sponsors!

kids soccer 2016-16

 

Yamathon 2015 – Report

By Ron Choi

yamathon 2015 report 01

Figure 1. 770 Yamathon participants packed the Galleria area in Tokyo building.

yamathon 2015 report 02

Figure 2. J.P. Morgan Lentos II team had hands down the most interesting station photos.

On 30th of May, 2015, close to 800 people participated in Yamathon, a race around the 29 stations of Yamanote line in Tokyo.   The event is quite familiar to the Tokyo residents as it has been held annually since 2009.   This year International Volunteer Group (IVG), the organizer of Yamathon, decided to support NADIA to help their efforts in Tohoku recovery. Joe Pournovin, Events Director for IVG, noted they became interested helping NADIA after seeing its numerous projects in Tohoku area.   The raised funds from this year’s Yamathon will go towards, among other things, building more playgrounds in Tohoku.

In Yamathon, teams of four are required to walk or run to all 29 stations and take a photo of themselves in front of each station sign to prove they visited all the stations along the Yamanote line.   Most people walk. Some run. It is not only a physical challenge, but is also a navigational challenge as the total distance can be anywhere between 40 to 48 km depending on the paths one takes.   Majority of the participants have difficulty navigating the tracks between Gotanda and Shinagawa where the route from one station to another is far from obvious.

yamathon 2015 report 03

Figure 3. The funds raised in Yamathon will go towards building more playgrounds like this in Tohoku.

2015 Yamathon was special for a number of reasons.   First, it was the venue.   This year’s event was held in the Galleria area of Tokyo building, quite a departure from Yoyogi Park and Tokyo International Forum.  It’s indoors and a much smaller location, but it provided an opportunity to be much better organized. The post-event fundraiser party was held at P.C.M., the bar on the first floor of the same building, which proved to be a big hit with the participants. The bar provided a great location to raise more funds through holding a raffle. NADIA provided many volunteers who were involved in the organizing with IVG for months leading up to the event and also doing the physical work of putting on the big event itself. The total number of participants was the largest ever –210 teams with 770 walkers and runners, a huge increase from 480 in 2014.

The feedback from the participants was resoundingly positive.   Yamathon is, more than anything, a fun event.   One doesn’t have to be super fit athlete to participate.   Some families with children completed the entire course.   Also, given that teams are required to take photos at each station, this provides many opportunities to be creative. In fact, some of the photos taken are quite amazing in their inventiveness.   Many teams take long breaks during the race – stopping in cafes and restaurants for food and drinks, etc. are all par for the course.   There were a large number of teams wearing costumes, making it a much livelier event.

Given the success of this year, the organizers are quite optimistic they may be able to break the 1000 participants figure next year. It only means more funds raised for worthy Tohoku for more years to  come.

yamathon 2015 report 05

yamathon 2015 report 04

Figure 4. More playgrounds like these will be built thanks to Yamathon.

yamathon 2015 report 06

Figure 5. J.P. Morgan Lentos II team had hands down the most interesting station photos.

Ishinomaki Sanja Matsuri Volunteering in July

Summer is coming! Speaking of summer, YES, Matsuri season is also approaching. Nadia has supported a children’s matsuri called Sanja Matsuri every year since it was re-established in 2012, and we will do so again this year. We will leave Tokyo at midnight on Friday July 17th, and will come back on Monday the 20th (it’s a holiday!). Please join the event as the locals are really looking forward to seeing Nadians this year too. Somen noodles provided by the local women will be really tasty, especially after hard work! Kids are also welcome to enjoy the festival together with local kids. This will be a good opportunity to show the locals that they are not forgotten, and to provide support when they need it.

Please sign up here

sanja matsuri 2014

The 1st Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup – Report

  Tokyo, May 23-24, 2015

Hosted at01 Aoba-Japan International School

Event Overview
Nadia NPO is actively supporting many projects for children affected by the March 11, 2011 disaster in Tohoku. Since 2013, Nadia has delivered over 15 new “Playgrounds of Hope” to disaster-stricken areas in Tohoku, in addition to sending children affected by Fukushima disaster to summer homestays in Italy. Last September, Nadia supported the delivery of a new community center/soccer club house in Rikuzentakata in coordination with Hisashi Kato, a J-League team general manager and former Japanese National Team captain who has been active in rebuilding projects in the Tohoku area.

02The Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup is the result of a collaborative proposal to invite soccer teams from the disaster-stricken Tohoku area to the Kanto area to participate in a soccer tournament to build lasting friendships between Tohoku and Kanto, in addition to exposing them to an international community of children and families in the much in the same way the global community has rallied together in support of the Tohoku region since 2011.

The members of Nadia began by scouting for a venue to host this event at a variety of locations including soccer stadiums, public and private fields and international schools, to gauge interest and the feasibility of this event. Through the scouting process Nadia was met with the unparalleled enthusiasm from sports director Greg Culos of Aoba-Japan International School (A-JIS) to host this event. The initial kickoff meeting for this project was held at the Hikarigaoka campus of A-JIS on February 2nd, 2015, with the ambitious target to secure the commitment of a total of 8 soccer teams (4 from the Kanto area and 4 from Tohoku area), secure funding from sponsors, and coordinate the logistics of transportation, lodging, tournament schedule, volunteers and food preparation for this event within the span of less than 4 months.

Through the coordination of Greg Culos and Hisashi Kato, the Kanto teams of the A-JIS Junior Tigers, Tiny Titans, DSTY Eagles and the Yokohama International School Dragons and the Tohoku teams of Aizu/Koriyama Santos, Shishiori FC, Ohno Sports Youth FC and Ishinomaki Fantasista FC were invited to the friendship soccer tournament.

03For top left to bottom right: Aizu/Koriyama Santos, Yokohama International School Dragons, Ohno Sports Youth FC, Ishinomaki Fantasista FC, A-JIS Junior Tigers, Tiny Titans, DSTY Eagles and Shishiori FC

The core Nadia members of Guy Roberge, Justin Ho, Fri McWilliams, Naomi Rennie and Morgan Knight in coordination with Greg Culos formed the core committee to coordinate and execute this event to great success. Operation of the event was coordinated by volunteers from Nadia and the participating sponsor organizations to help with setup, supervision, food preparation and refereeing of the games.

Arrival of the Tohoku Teams
The Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup was hosted on the weekend of May 23rd and 24th with the Tohoku teams arriving on the evening of Friday, May 22nd to dorm at the gymnasium of A-JIS. Many of the children from Tohoku were in Tokyo for the first time. The Tohoku kids were so excited after their arrival to dorm at A-JIS, they were found to have woken up to an energetic sunny start of the day by 6:00 am (much to the dismay of the supporting Tohoku coaches staying with the children overnight, who were hoping for some extra sleep).

Day 1 Soccer Matches and Activities
The Tokyo teams and volunteers arrived on the morning of May 23rd when meetings for the coaches and volunteers were held. The opening ceremony hosted by Greg and Guy set the outline and tone of the event to be one of friendly competition and sportsmanship. For Day 1 teams were divided into 2 round robins of 4 teams (2 from Tohoku and 2 from Kanto), with each team playing 3 games. Prior meetings with 04coaches indicated that maximizing game time for the teams would offer the most enjoyment for the players, and a tournament schedule of 45-minute team rotations (2 x 20 minutes) was created.

Round robin games commenced at 9am and ran throughout the day, through lunch and right up until dinner. Teams that were not playing on the fields had the opportunity to watch and learn from the different play styles on show between the different teams and the resulting matches. The event venue also offered a basketball court, available space in the gymnasium and the school pool for additional activities for the participants to enjoy themselves.

05The events continued well into late in the afternoon with the soccer teams being taken to the local sento to bathe after their final matches. A dinner BBQ was hosted by the volunteers consisting of hotdogs, hamburgers, salad and grilled vegetables.

Both the Tohoku teams and Kanto teams were exhausted from a full day of activities by the evening and retired to the gymnasium where they would dorm for the night in preparation for the 2nd day of soccer matches.

Throughout the day, student volunteers of A-JIS were gracious enough to set aside time to work alongside with the adults while also volunteering to handle tweeting and providing live video streams of the event online. The staff of Caezar’s Kitchen were gracious to donate their time and provide breakfast and bentos for the first day of the matches, while also assisting with the procurement of vegetables for the volunteer-run BBQ on Saturday evening and the finale BBQ hosted on Sunday . The French Chef community, including Pachon and Amicale des Cuisiniers et Patissiers Français au Japon kindly donated a swath of high quality prepared meats, cheese, bread and wine for the event closing BBQ.

Day 2 Soccer Matches and Activities
The schedule of the second day was left open, depending on the results of the first day. In the spirit of friendship and sportsmanship, the organizing committee felt that it would be best for the coaches to be involved with establishing the tournament schedule for the second day, to allow their teams to have the most enjoyable and competitive matches.

The coaches were so excited by the enthusiasm of their teams displayed during the matches of the first day, so the original game schedule for Sunday was extended to start earlier from 8 am and last till 1:30 pm – right before the scheduled departure times of the Tohoku teams – to maximize play time.

Like Saturday, the children woke to an early start and were practicing on the soccer pitch by 7 am and the staff of Caesar’s Kitchen had breakfast for kids ready by 7:30 am to have the teams ready for their matches by 8 am. The 2nd day of the event had a total of 8 matches among all teams, to determine the final rankings and the winners of the Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup.

With the games running throughout the day, the volunteers from the sponsor organizations came together to prepare for the finale BBQ with a variety of fine meats, cheese, bread and dessert graciously donated by the community of L’Amicale des Cuisiniers et Patissiers Français au Japon.

08 09 10

BBQ on Sunday featured donated French products to the delight of all kids and participants

By 1:30 pm after the rounds of intense play, the tournament came to a close and the competing teams were brought together for the closing ceremony. Placement awards were for:

  • First Place: DSTY Eagles, awarded by Mr. Joji Hiratsuka, Chairman of Nadia NPO
  • Second Place: A-JIS Junior Jaguars, awarded by Mr. Ron Choi, CSR Committee at J.P. Morgan
  • Third Place: Ishinomaki Fantasista FC, awarded by Mr. Guillaume Burtschell, Chief Country Officer of Societe Generale in Japan
  • Friendship Award: Shishiori FC, awarded by Jean-Pierre Biard, CSR Committee at BNP Paribas

Joji Hiratsuka, Chairman of Nadia with the champions, DSTY Eagles

 All participating teams received a Nadia gift bag containing:

  • A Friendly Cup T-Shirt and Program
  • A soft mini soccer ball from Kato-san’s J-League team
  • A laminated newsletter souvenir of the event

In addition, the Tohoku teams received a gift of French salt from the Isle of Rhé donated by Omnisens.

It’s all about Friendship
Whether it is on the field or in other activities held throughout the weekend, our goal was to provide a memorable event and long lasting friendships between all kids. On that aspect, we can say our mission was accomplished.

12

 
May the friendships developed over a memorable weekend last a lifetime!

The Sponsors’ Cup
After the departure of the Tohoku and Kanto kids in the early afternoon and the completion of cleanup activities, time was set aside for sponsors to square off in a friendly, but fiercely fought, Sponsors’ Cup.

 

 

 

 

 

By 5:30 pm, after 4 intense round robin games played by each of the 4 corporate sponsors teams and a team of Tohoku coaches and kids from A-JIS involved in the event, the top 2 teams were selected to play in the Sponsors’ Cup Final.

Congratulations to the winners!

  • First Place: “The Coaches Team”
  • Second Place: Societe Generale Team #2

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For top left to bottom right: SG-1, SG-2, Coaches Team, DBG, JPM

A word of thanks
This event would not have been possible without the support of many organizations and individuals. Nadia would like to express their thanks to A-JIS Ken Sell, Head of School, and Greg Culos, Director of AJ Extension, for working hand-in-hand with Nadia on this 1st Nadia International Soccer Friendly Cup. We would like to also say thank you to our corporate sponsors who provided financial and logistical support with their volunteers. Finally, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to our food sponsors for the delicious food and support provided throughout the tournament.

Thanks to all our supporters and sponsors!

Corporate Sponsors Host Venue Food Sponsors
Societe Generale
Capital Group
J.P. Morgan
BNP Paribas
Deutsche Bank Group
Aoba-Japan International School Cezars Kitchen
Pachon, Omnisens and other members of L’Amicale des Cuisiniers et Patissiers Français au Japon who contributed with in-kind food donations
t nadia 21 24

22Nadia Volunteers and Corporate Volunteers

Playground of Hope Repair Trip Report – May 2015

            By Ron Choi

1Figure 1. Our May volunteers in front of the refinished playground at Kaihatsu Koen #599 in Ishinomaki, Miyagi-ken.

On 9th and 10th of May, 2015, International Volunteer Group (IVG) and NADIA volunteers, in partnership with the members of Playground of Hope (PoH), conducted maintenance and repair work on the beautiful playgrounds built by NADIA two years ago in Ishinomaki and Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture. It was the first playground repair trip for NADIA..

It was also the first time IVG members participated in a NADIA volunteer trip. Starting this year, IVG, the organizer of an endurance race called Yamathon, will donate all funds raised through their event to NADIA. In its seventh year, the Yamathon is a endurance race by teams of three or four navigating all 29 stations of Yamanote Line, which encircles the central area of Tokyo. It is a hugely popular and fun race, but it also raises money for good causes. Joe Pournovin of IVG told how Yamathon was started, “We wanted to do something in Tokyo, some sort of endurance challenge. You look at certain other events … they’re expensive, you need to take time off work, you need to commit to training and practice. Yamathon, you don’t need to do so much training. It’s in the center of Tokyo, and it’s affordable.”

2Figure 2. 2014 Yamathon walkers and runners.

NADIA is extremely grateful for the donation, much of which will help us continue the Playground Of Hope project. NADIA is also helping IVG in organizing, planning, and executing the Yamathon event on May 30th. This year’s event will be the biggest ever. The venue will be in Tokyo Building ( a.k.a. TOKIA building ) in Marunouchi, Tokyo, located next to Tokyo Station. It will also host Tohoku Market. Many vendors, such as Fukushima-kan from Tohoku will bring local crafts, food, sake, juices and sweets,. There will also be a post-event fundraiser party at PCM, a bar next to event venue which will have DJs playing excellent music and IVG will auction off prizes to raise money for NADIA.

3Figure 3. 2014 Yamathon participants are required to take photos at each station to prove they covered the entre distance. Some of the racers are quite creative with photos. Like theis team from J.P. Morgan in 2014.

When we arrived at the job site at Kaihatsu Koen #599 in Watanoha area of Ishinomaki, we found children and parents already at the park. The park has become a focal point for the community. The residents, many of whom still living in temporary housing compounds near the park, meet and gather there each and everyday. The community leaders and towns folks remembered us from our build trip back in August of 2013. They came to thank us and brought food and drinks for us. Many of the children wanted to help with sanding the wood. There were many touching moments throughout the day.

The play set looked worn out. Hundreds of kids must have played there the past two years. Some wooden beams were chipped and much of the waterproof stain was gone. Some nuts and bolts needed tightening. We spent the entire Saturday patching, sanding, and apply wood stain to make sure the play set will last a long time. After a daylong activity, the play set looked absolutely brand new. The town kids who show up on Sunday morning will be pleasantly surprised.

On Sunday, we drove to Minamisanriku to do some repair work on the second playground we built back in September of 2013. It is on a gorgeous park with lots of greenery and grass. When we arrived we found two root sidings on the small tower were missing. We cut down a wood panel to replace the missing pieces on the roof. We did more patching, sanding, and painted on wood stains.

4Figure 4. The playground we built in Minamisanriku back in September of 2013. It is situated in a beautiful park with green grass.

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Figure 5. Our volunteers, Joe Pournovin and Tsutomu Horiuchi, test out the playground.

Joe Pounovin said of the trip, “An unbelievable weekend with some wonderful people fixing playgrounds in Ishinomaki and Minamisanriku. Seeing the good in doing good and doing it with a smile – that’s what it’s all about.”

7Figure 6. NADIA and IVG volunteers being supervised by Michael Anop of Playground of Hope.

It was a great trip. Hopefully we can continue to go back to maintain all the playground we built in 2013 and 2014. We will need donations and volunteers. Thanks to all for helping us.

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Figure 7. Koji Oishi and Jennifer Guess of IVG and our hero, Tsutomu Horiuchi-san.

10Figure 8. Uga Kayo of Ishinomaki made this bento for us. Undoubtedly the best bento in Tohoku.

11Figure 9. Sharing the sweets given to us by local residents with a local child.

12Figure 10. Local children wanted to help out with sanding.

13Figure 11. All our volunteers after the repair work was finished..

Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program – Report

AgCiao2014ain this year, we have successfully organized one month home stay program for children living in Fukushima, “Fukushima kids in Italy 2014”.
In addition to 11 children who joined 2013, 14 newly selected Fukushima kids (Total 25) got a ticket to Italy to spend entire summer at loving Italian family.

It was not just a simple dream vacation tour, children studied really very hard before their trip in order to be able to integrate into Italian community. We had three months training period before the trip.Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 01Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 02 Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 03Through training camp as well as several orientation sessions, children learnt Italian language, learnt about Italian history and culture, got used to sleep without their parents and used to do daily things by themselves. By the time of the departure at Narita airport, all children learnt how to introduce themselves, how to count numbers, and how to express their emotion in Italian!

Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 04 Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 05On Departure at Narita airport, Italy here we come!


Program Outline

Location: Rome, Lazio/ Naples, Campania
Length of Stay: 25/July – 22/August
Activities: One month homestay including outdoor activities at beach and parks, cultural exchange with local children and people.

Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 06On arrival at Rome airport, welcomed by host families

Having studied hard in Japan, none of them understood family’s words, so they used whole body to communicate with Italian people making full used of facial expression, gesture, dictionary, and sometimes even smartphone translation apps helped.

At first some suffered from Jet-lag, some suffered from homesick, others might just simply enjoyed. But all of them loved Italian life style and loving Italian family.

Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 07 Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 08 Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 09 Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 10They loved Mamma’s pasta, homemade Pizza, having a family dinner on a long table

Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 11 Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 12Everyday they played in the park, swam in the ocean until dark

Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 13Some learnt Italian dishes from host mother and when they returned to Fukushima they cooked for their family.

Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 14Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 15Children was so curious about Italian history, shocked by the fact that they were standing on the very spot where Julius Caesar and Augustus and others passionately made speeches more than 2000 years ago.

Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 16By the time a few weeks passed, all kids overcame jet-lag, home sick, started understanding Italian languages, spoke Italian well enough to fight with other Italian kids.

And their four weeks went too quick…Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 17On final day at Rome airport, tearful farewell with Italian families

Fukushima kids in Italy 2014 Program Report 18We, energy fully charged Fukushima kids and NADIA staffs, all came back to Narita airport safely with bronze skin and big smile!

Again this year, 14 Fukushima kids found lifetime friendship, a family whom kids can visit every summer and holiday seasons. Kids decided to continue studying Italian in order to go back to their family next year.
We are so proud of you, Fukushima kids!

Thank you for your support, and see you this summer at Fukushima kids in Italy 2015

Special Thanks to:
Program partner
PUER Onlus www.puer.it

Program supporters
Alitalia-Compania Aerea Italiana
Capital Group
Davis LLP
Japanese School in Roma
大熊町教育委員会
Individual supporters