Ishinomaki Takidashi, Market: Day 1

Sunday, midnight: Takidashi Team from Tokyo met for introductions and last minute logistics.

Pre-departure

Sunrise against mountains going up north. Near Fukushima.

Mountains

We drove straight to the site: Watanoha, Ishinomaki:

Ishinomaki, child playing

Led by a Tsukishima restaurant owner whose family members were victims of the tsunami, 14 volunteers helped prepare, cut and cook fresh vegetables, pork, and other ingredients for tonjiru, a hearty miso soup. Open market was made possible with the support of AAR Japan (Association for Aid and Relief), who brought a truck full of supplies requested by locals.  The takedashi (cooked meal distribution) was made possible by the generous donations from the Embassy of Afghanistan in Japan, Mr. Don and Drs. Nagao, Rice for Life London, Grace City Church, and the 60+ Tsukishima volunteers who donated goods and a great deal of their time.

People lined up patiently even in the windy, cold weather. We ran both an open market, where people could pick up supplies and kerosene, and a takedashi (cooked meal distribution, aka soup kitchen).  (Click photos to enlarge)

sea water

The wind picked up dust from the dried mud, carried into the entire town with the tsunami. Dead fish littered the pools of sea water, where we could still see a few live fish swimming in the muddy water.

People cleaning their homes; in front of the site where we were cooking

chop chop

Volunteers slicing and dicing ingredients

Amazake

Volunteers making amazake

so heavy

My brother, Ken Nagao, helping with the heavy lifting (chips, from IKEA)

AAR

Collaboration with AAR

Food

Locals eating hot food for the first time since the EQ. People live on the second floor of houses surrounding the parking space. We were told by an elderly couple that they've become very close with their neighbors after the quake. This is a relatively new neighborhood, and historically neighbors were not friendly with one another.

location #2

Second location, surrounded by apartment buildings. Mothers were lugging up 4 gallons of water up 5 flights of stairs, along with other bags full of supplies hanging on their arms.

happy

Happiness in the midst of wreckage. We found out that the children's parents cleaned up the parking space that we used to distribute food and tonjiru soup. They said that they didn't think anyone would come and deliver aid without a space. It took them 3 days to clear the area, and they were delighted that we arrived and used their space. These kids brought a perfect ending to a long, cold day for everyone.

spring

Ume tree blossoming among the debris. We can't wait for spring to arrive and bring warmth and renewed energy to this city.

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