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Report After the “Bring Tohoku Kids to Swiss Camps!” Project Winter Camp 2014

The “Bring Tohoku Kids to Swiss Camps!” Project invited a 3rd-grade girl from Sendai which was hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 11, 2011. She attended a 1-week Winter camp in Schönried, Switzerland

This is a report from the 9 year-old girl, Hanon, after she returned to Japan.

JAPANESE




I had a great fun in Switzerland!

I almost cried when I was leaving the camp school. I had so much fun every day and did not want to leave.

On my first day, kids who were already attending the camp came to the Art Room where I was.  They each shouted, “Who is this?” “What is your name?” I told my name and became friends with them instantly.

They are from England, Egypt, South Korea and USA.  There was a girl from Japan as well.

From the next day, we got up, changed our clothes and ate breakfast, then we went SKIING! SKIING! SKIING! We came back to school for lunch and went back again to the mountain for more skiing! For some afternoons, we had English lessons.

On the Christmas day, we had gorgeous dinner. On the next day, we gathered together in the lounge in our pajamas to receive Christmas presents under the tree. We all received “Snow Dome”. I was very happy!

Besides skiing and English lessons, we did many other things. We went shopping in town, roasted marshmallows on an open fire, and dived into a swimming pool.

On the last day, we exchanged our Email addresses. We now keep in touch by exchanging Emails.

Every single day of my stay in Switzerland was incredibly great. Ms. Tayama, Mr. M, and everyone who supported the project, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

I WILL visit Switzerland again.
Not that “I want to visit again”, but “I WILL visit.”

Hanon Watanabe
 

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Report from Mother After the “Bring Tohoku Kids to Swiss Camps!” Project Winter Camp 2014

The “Bring Tohoku Kids to Swiss Camps!” Project invited a 3rd-grade girl from Sendai which was hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 11, 2011. She attended a 1-week Winter camp in Schönried, Switzerland

This is a report from the mother of a 9year-old girl, Hanon, after she returned to them from Switzerland.

JAPANESE



After the Winter Camp in Switzerland

When I welcomed Hanon with a big smile at the Narita Airport, I could tell immediately how wonderful stay she had in Switzerland.

Hanon almost forgot to say “I am back” (Tadaima) and started to talk about her experience in Switzerland.  Her face showed confidence and a sense of achievement.

The days shared with friends from various countries seemed to have been a continuous discovery. 
What they eat, how to dress, about religious rituals, “What is it?” “Why?”

They discussed and explained their customs and differences, and deepened their understanding.

No matter where they are from, they had one thing in common. They loved to play, chat and eat snacks! Chatting before the bed time, playing cards, and watching movies with snacks in hands… They had a great fun together.

There was one important experience that Hanon had during this trip.

Hanon was speaking English to the cabin attendants and to her stuffed animals on board, a Korean lady who sat next to Hanon said, “Wow, you can speak English!” and they had a good time chatting in the plane until the Zurich Airport. 

The Korean lady could not speak Japanese, and Hanon cannot speak Korean. The fact that by using English they could have fun proved to her that English is a universal language.

I am so grateful that Hanon was given such an opportunity to experience all this. Her experience in Switzerland will widen her interests and possibilities in her life.

It was a good opportunity for me as well to think what I could do for children in Tohoku.

Thank you very, very much.

Mother of Hanon Watanabe
 

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Interview After the “Bring Tohoku Kids to Swiss Camps!” Project Winter Camp 2014

The “Bring Tohoku Kids to Swiss Camps!” Project invited a 3rd-grade girl from Sendai which was hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 11, 2011.

This is an interview with the 9year-old girl, Hanon after she had attended a 1-week Winter camp in Schönried, Switzerland as part of the “Bring Tohoku Kids to Swiss Camps!” Project.


http://youtu.be/SEQNM5T7t6M
 

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The “Bring Tohoku Kids to Swiss Camps!” Project 2014 Winter Camp Finished! Thank YOU!!

2014.12.31

JAPANESE


The “Bring Tohoku Kids to Swiss Camps!” Project 2014 Winter Camp "officially" finished when Hanon was welcomed by her parents at the Narita Airport.

Due to the bad weather, the plane arrived in Tokyo with a 3-hour delay. But it is nice to see Hanon's smile after the long journey.



We thank you, our sponsors, very very much for your support!

We will continue our activities to support children from the Tohoku region in 2015. We ask for your continuous kind support!


 
JUGEMテーマ:大震災後の復興支援

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Hanon Finished the Winter Camp and Took off for Narita!

2014.12.30

JAPANESE

Hanon finished a one-week winter camp yesterday.

We checked in a hotel near the airport before going for the final souvenir shopping!



Hanon took off safely to Narita!!


 

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Ski Paradise at Winter Camp!

2014.12.26

JAPANESE


I visited Hanon at the camp on Christmas Day, 2 days after Hanon joined the camp.

The camp children came back from the snow mountain for lunch. 

Hanon blended right in the group and was enjoying her time there with other kids and staff members.

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Christmas Dinner at Winter Camp

JAPANESE


Hanon enjoyed Christmas dinner with many new friends.

We expect some snow in town today!

スイスのウインターキャンンプでクリスマスディナー
 
JUGEMテーマ:大震災後の復興支援

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The “Bring Tohoku Kids to Swiss Camps!” Project 2014 Winter Camp Started!

JAPANESE


Hanon checked in at the camp.

スイスのウインターキャンプ

She rented a ski set and ready for skiing from tomorrow!

スイスのウインターキャンプ用にスキーレンタル

There is one another Japanese girl in the group. She is really looking forward to the week ahead!

Have fun, Hanon!
 

 

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Sponsors for the 2014 Winter Camp: The "Bring Tohoku Kids to Swiss Camps!" Project

The "Bring Tohoku Kids to Swiss Camps!" Project has received generous support from companies as well as individuals.

JAPANESE


Here are the sponsors for the 2014 Winter Camp.

We thank you very much for your support!

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please check here.


 International Camp School Lovell Camps http://lovellcamps.ch/

東北スイスプロジェクトスポンサー・キャンプ 


 Japanese Restaurant Yooji's http://www.yoojis.com/

スイスの寿司屋Yoojis


 Japanese Grocery Shop Uchitomi http://www.uchitomi.ch/ 

スイスの日本食材店うちとみのロゴ 


 Japanese Grocery Shop Uchino http://www.uchino.ch/

東北プロジェクトスポンサー


 Toyota Car Dealer Bauer Automobile AG http://www.bauerautomobile.ch/ 

東北スイスプロジェクトスポンサー・トヨタ 




JUGEMテーマ:大震災後の復興支援

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My Experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami by Hanon's Mother

The mother of Hanon who is Invited by the “Bring Tohoku Kids to Swiss Camps!” Project to join the Winter Camp 2014 wrote her experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011.
 
My Experienced of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami



My Experience on the day of Tohoku Earthquake

Who would have even thought that we would have such a huge catastrophe at that time, and on that day? It has been three years and half since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami happened, yet still there are more than 200,000 people living in shelters or temporary housings.

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami – it happened on the 11th March 2011.

I was home with my daughter, who just came back home from Kindergarten.

14:46.

My mobile phone beeped loudly announcing an earthquake warning, and a few seconds later a violent earthquake hit us. I confirmed that my daughter who went quickly under the table, while I held on TV. The shake was not like usual earthquake we were used to – it was much stronger and a lot longer.

“Mummy, quickly!” my daughter screamed. I turned and saw her. What I saw startled me a little. I saw a mirror image of myself who ducked under a table when I experienced the Miyagiken-oki Earthquake as a kindergartener. 

After I joined my daughter under the table, the earthquake slowed down, so we went to the entrance area of the house to go outside. That is when another big shake hit us, and I had to sit down on the spot covering my daughter.

When the shaking settled, we fled to a local park. A friend who lived in the same apartment and I switched on the TV in a car to find incredible scenes one after another shown on the monitor. At the same time, the screen was showing a map of Japan indicating tsunami warning areas. The report showed a bright red warning indicator that covered my little hometown Shichigahama. My mother lived in the town alone, since my father had passed away a few years ago. The only way she could escape was on foot, as she does not drive. I thought of the path to sheltering area on a hill on the town... Would she be able to escape on foot? Isn’t it impossible? How about the relatives living closer to the sea?

“Please. Quickly. Evacuate to a higher place.”
All I can do was to pray.

In the evening, my husband joined us, and we slept in the car.
I craved for any piece of information about the disaster from TV or radio.

I closed my eyes, thinking of the distance between the ocean and my mother’s house as well as my relatives’ over and over. But I had no idea how far the Tsunami had hit the area. Then I recalled the time when I had a walk with my father when he was still alive.

“Dad, would Tsunami hit our house if a big earthquake hit here?”

“Haha! There is no way Tsunami would come this far! No worries!”

My father’s smiley face, with tanned skin, repeatedly appeared and disappeared in my mind.

I was not sure if I slept or not. But it was the next morning already when my younger brother joined us.

I knew that I could only go to look for my mother one or twice at most because of the amount of petrol left in the car. After we passed the center of Sendai city where people were queuing up to get petrol, the scenery drastically changed. The cracks on the roads hollowed the ground, and there were piles of containers and debris soaked up with sea water and mud. Many cars were stuck upright in distorted roads and houses. I knew that we had to be careful not to get flat tires on our car. We drove to the town with full attention through the devastating sites. Far in distance was petrochemical complex burning down fuming black smoke.

I thought I knew what was going on, but I could not accept the scenes that had completely changed.

We headed out to the gymnastic halls of local elementary and junior high schools.

There were many cars that belonged to the people who came to take shelter on the school ground. We decided to visit shelters one of one to find my mother. As we were walking at one of the evacuation site, we saw my mother walking from the martial arts hall. We shouted, ran, and held each other.

My mother told us that a man who lived next door heard the Tsunami warning from his car radio soon after the earthquake, then he quickly came back home, and my mother joined this neighbor to escape.

We went back to my mother’s house to collect valuables before taking shelter in the center of Sendai city, we saw the sign of water flooded the parking and entrance areas. The whole neighborhood was filled with the smell of burned petrochemical complex.

We were afraid of possible strong aftershocks to come as well as the fire in the petrochemical complex that had not been put out yet. When we reached my mother’s house, we all encouraged each other to act quickly. We packed as much as we could in the car.

Back in the Sendai city, my mother and we lived together for the following few months.

I heard from some of our relatives who had managed to escape in another shelter that my uncle and aunt died from the tsunami. Their house was located only a few steps away from the ocean. My cousin speculated that they decided not to escape because even Chilean earthquake did not cause Tsunami. They were both found inside the house.

My husband, who worked in the communication industry, was assigned to take turns to go into the affected areas for a week at a time as a team. His assignment was to provide battery charging systems for mobile phones all day at shelter areas. His company was the only one that stayed on site to support people. They charged other companies’ phones crossing borders between competitors. Now looking back at the time, he says that he had a mission to connect as many people with others as possible by offering battery charging service.

“Everything was washed away. There is nothing out there. I cannot find a word to describe it.” He would say when he came home on the weekend. He would drop his head down, shaking his head.

Water, petrol, gas… there were things missing in life in the center of Sendai city. However, I was only grateful for being still alive and also having a house to live in, while media would report the transformed scenery of the hometown I grew up in as well as the coastal areas.

I was touched by generosity of so many people – some friends were concerned about me and came all the way to check on me, some sent me a box full of food from the Kanto and Kansai areas where they took shelter, some lent me everything in her house as she was taking shelter in Yamagata, and others lent me a portable bath water boiler, as her house had gas access quicker than other areas.

I recently had an opportunity to visit an affected area in Iwate Prefecture.

Belt conveyers to carry large volume of soil were operating in full motion in order to raise the over-all level of the ground. I stopped at a cafe where its owner kindly took time to explain in details how the area was affected back then by the earthquake and what was the plan after the work of raising the ground completed. “I am sorry”, I said acknowledging so many people must be asking the same questions to him. He responded “no problem, because I want everyone to know what happened”, with his smiley eyes looking straight ahead.

Everyone has a different story of that time on that day. We need to remember the day, and tell and pass it on to the next generation. Needless to say, that is a mission assigned to us who survived the disaster.

November 2014
Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture
Mother of Hanon Watanabe
JUGEMテーマ:大震災後の復興支援


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