RSY vol.21 The Last Ashiyu at the Common Room in Shichigahama Kokusaimura Temporary Housing
by Voices from the Field Admin - Sunday, 12 January 2014, 12:58 PM


The last ashiyuservice was offered on March 3, 2013 at the common room of the temporary housing in the Second Parking Lot of Shichigahama Kokusaimura Hall. This temporary housing will be closed for the construction of permanent housing.


Though, every time, more than ten residents used to come and receive the ashiyu service in this common room of the temporary housing in Kokusaimura Hall last fiscal year, the number of users gradually decreased. Still on this last day we had five residents even though vacant units were noticeable.


In their mutterings (tsubuyaki), we heard them talk about the common rooms in their new communities.

“There will be no acquaintances in the common room at the new place. So I don’t think I’d go.”

“Frankly it’ll be hard to drop into the common room at the new place. Most of the people there will be from other districts and will be unfamiliar to me.”


Talking over a cup of tea in the common room was the only opportunity for some people to go out, but they will no longer be able to get together with the same friends from Kokusaimura Hall temporary housing on a daily basis.


One by one, people have moved away to other temporary housing or to their rebuilt houses with a feeling of anxiety.


We hope that an ashiyuservice will provide an opportunity for those who have moved to another temporary housing site to take part in their new community. As they mentioned, however, it would be difficult for them to feel as comfortable as they used to, in the common room at their new locations if they are among strangers.


We wonder how the people who have moved into their newly rebuilt houses feel and spend their days, especially when in some areas there are no neighbors.


A new expression, “ashiyu tomodachi”, or ashiyu friends, was born as a result of our activities, which may indicate the fact that people looked forward to our ashiyu service day as “the day they can see friends” who get together for the ashiyu more so than to actually receive the ashiyu service.


Now people’s needs are changing day by day and becoming diversified. Consequently, it is becoming harder to find what people really need. We, Rescue Stock Yard and volunteers, have to take this situation into consideration and figure out the best way to respond.


Reported by Reiko Iida, Rescue Stock Yard.


Originally reported in Japanese on 4 March, 2013