NVNAD vol.11 NVNAD Newsletter
by Voices from the Field Admin - Thursday, 1 May 2014, 08:47 AM

Vol.95 dated May 17, 2013

Two years have passed since the Earthquake and Tsunami, and some changes are appearing little by little in Noda Village, Iwate Prefecture.

In the middle of April, the members of Team North Rias, along with younger staff of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the local government office discussed the village restoration plan, while receiving explanation from the Village officials, in charge of the plan. Several of such meetings have been held and the response seems to be becoming more enthusiastic, little by little, with every meeting. 

Residents in temporary housing held a hanami []event to admire the beauty of cherry blossoms which finally began to bloom at the end of April. Some staff members of NVNAD were invited to join the hanami because they luckily visited there at that time.

Furthermore, a student staff member of the Team North Rias held a Japanese calligraphy program in the central part of Noda village. The event drew many new participants, whom we had not had the chance to meet before, and a very comfortable and pleasant atmosphere was created. A participant said, “Finally, I feel like sitting down and practicing calligraphy. It took me a long time though.”

Moreover, we could see some changes appearing in the behavior of the student volunteers at the Osaka University Satellite Office in Noda Village. They have been organizing a seminar on the 11th of every month since the office opened in March 2013.

While we see these changes, the volunteer activities of NVNAD are changing as well. Under the present circumstances, it seems that we need to care increasingly more about the “hard-to-see (or invisible) survivors”. Temporary housing residents come and join us when we offer a tea party. If they do not or cannot come out, we can visit them in their homes. They are relatively “visible”. On the other hand, there are those who lost their houses in the tsunami and now live in other places such as in public housing provided by government; those in nursing homes, and other institutions; those remaining in their own damaged house and those who did not receive any serious damage. They are the “hard-to-see (invisible)” survivors.

A community consists of such diverse people after all. To make progress in reconstructing the community, there is a growing need for volunteer activities which pays careful attention to each individual voice.

Furthermore, we have come to the stage where we may also want to listen to the “voices” of the ancestors who built up Noda Village, not to mention those of the victims of the tsunami. For example, there is Namomi, one of the traditional events of Noda Village. (This is an event for New Year’s Day of the lunar calendar in which adults with wearing ogres’ masks will discipline lazy children.) People have valued this tradition even establishing a preservation group for it. This tradition has been nurtured here for a long time. Carrying on the ancestors’ thoughts embodied in the tradition to future generations would not only enhance people’s identity as Noda Village residents but would also promote the restoration. Volunteers are not natives of the village but they could offer various kinds of help related to the traditional events. We, NVNAD, would like to be as thoughtful and responsive as possible to the changes of the village, and continue to walk besidethe people in the disaster-affected areas. We look forward to your continued support. (Written by Kimihide Atsumi, Chair, NVNAD) 

[] Japanese word which literally means “to view flowers”