Hi! This is a link to the blog that we have created for our action plan. It would be great if you could check it out and maybe submit a story or photo 🙂
Today we went out on a field trip, starting at 8.30am in extremely hot weather (a nice change from NZ!). We went out towards Matsushima, one of the three most beautiful sights in Japan, and first looked in a temple. The boat ride around the islands was great, and we all got some awesome photos. By lunchtime, we were all starting to get tired, and the heat just kept increasing. We had a bento lunch on one of the islands, and while it tasted great, it was difficult to tell what you were eating! Afterwards we had a tour around some of the disaster areas and saw some really damaged areas. Seeing the shrines and memorials was an emotional moment for all of us, and I think we realized how lucky we all are. The commentary on the bus by Junko and John was also very interesting and hearing what they’ve been through and how they have recovered and helped others, was very inspiring.
Thursday 16th August 2012
Today was filled with inspiring and also emotional events. We started the day off by exploring the Matsushima Islands, learning about the interesting and awesome culture of Japan. We visited many different temples and shrines and learnt about the historical stories that were related to that particular area. We visited the first rose garden in Japan, located in Matsushima. The roses were brought over from Rome in the 1600’s.
From Matsushima we made our way too the worst affected areas of the Natori Tsunami. We saw how the buildings were reduced to just the foundations of the houses and we struggled to digest how terrible the Tsunami was. While their earthquake didn’t kill anyone the Tsunami did. These places helped us to relate to the people of Japan and discuss how we can move forward.
We left the worst affected areas with thankfulness that we didn’t have any Tsunamis. We arrived in the Rokugou citizen centre where we learnt how the first UNESCO club was set up in Japan in 1948 and how there are hundreds of UNESCO clubs in Japan now. We also heard how setting up a local tea party or other social events can keep a community together and give people who have lost everything in the Tsunami a meaning and purpose.
Today was awesome, learning about the interesting history of Japan, visiting the worst affected areas of Natori and also learning ways we can keep our communities together.
Airport. Air plane. Airport. Airplane. Airport.
After about 24 tedious hours in airplanes and airports we finally arrived in Narita, Japan at 6am. Tired and a bit jet lagged we walked into the stifling heat of Japan. After customs we ventured out to the train station, dragging our heavy bags and trying to breath in the humid air. It was bustling with people, very bright and cheerful colours, it was a little bit overwhelming but still enjoyable to be a part of. On our way to Tokyo, Benazir taught us the basics of New Zealand sign language, keeping us engaged till we reached Sendai. We briefly stopped at Tokyo station to change trains and we were almost melted in the sun. On the train we had our first taste of Japanese cuisine like dried fish and Pokari Sweat.
In Sendai we had lunch, eating ‘real’ sushi for the first time. It was an amazing experience to say the least, revolving sushi, fermented soybeans and green tea. When we reached the Espol we saw a few familiar faces from the first forum but many new people, ranging from China, Indonesia to the Philippines. Even in the first few hours of the forum you could sense eagerness and anticipation from everyone present. To end the night with a bang, we let off fireworks, everyone gathered in the dark watching the bright sparks.
Everything about Japan has been amazing and I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we can’t wait to explore some more.
Thank you UNESCO and Vicki for organising this forum.
The New Zealand delegation to Sendai is together and heading to Japan! We’re currently on a quick stopover in Sydney (7 hours) before boarding our flight to Tokyo tonight. It’s great to be finally all together and I’m pretty sure everyone’s excited to get to Sendai!
First we have an overnight flight, followed by a trip on the bullet train.
We’ll keep you posted…