Four years ago, volunteerAKITA opened its doors in order to help bring relief to the Tohoku area devestated by the March 11 disasters. We’ve had an unbelievable time doing whatever we could to assist those in need. With our directors moving on to another country this coming April, it is time to officially close the book on volunteerAKITA.
From our initial initiatives, The Fruit Tree Project and The Big Clean, volunteerAKITA was proud to provide a way for people in the Tohoku area to support each other. The buzzword of that year was “kizuna” (絆) which means “bonds” and while we helped promote that idea, we truly felt it in our hearts. The volunteerAKITA Scholarship Fund and FAIR Takata continued our mission to provide assistance in the recovery process. As an organization, volunteerAKITA has touched the lives of both the people we have helped and the volunteers who selflessly gave up their time, money, and energy to give back to the Japanese community that we have called our home. KK and I could not be happier or prouder of what we accomplished during the last four years, and we want to thank everyone who has lent us their help in anyway.
We’d especially like to thank the founders of volunteerAKITA, Paul Yoo and Minami Ishikawa. Without their “can do” spirit, volunteerAKITA would not have existed at all. We’d also like to thank Andy Anderson and the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund for all of their support and strength despite such tragic circumstances. To Smile Kids Japan and Michael Maher-King we owe a great deal of gratitude for connecting us with orphanages in need around the Tohoku area. To Amya Miller and the city staff at Rikuzentakata, we are so happy that you invited us to your city to put on such a fun event. We hope the good memories and feelings from that day continue to spread throughout the city. Finally, to all the wonderful volunteers that helped make volunteerAKITA happen, we can’t thank you enough. Todd, Owen, Michiko, Randy, Melissa, Jeff, Anne, Alicia, Ryan and everyone else who volunteered their time or came out to our events, KK and I truly appreciate what you have done, we will never forget, and the people of Tohoku will never forget you, thank you.
The relief efforts are not over yet for Tohoku, thousands of people are still dealing with the disaster and we won’t stop supporting them even though we are leaving Japan. Please continue to think of Tohoku and those who were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Our hearts go out to each of you and we will always be looking for ways to help Tohoku and Japan in the future.
Thank you again.
KK Miller and Jon Hui
Co-Directors of volunteerAKITA
Saturday, August 17th saw a beautifully sunny day which was ideal for our water based games. All our fantastic volunteers showed up and prep for all of the games were finished ahead of the event. We were so lucky to have volunteers from all over Japan, including Tokyo, Tochigi, Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, and Akita. Everyone absolutely kicked butt at manning the various booths, giving smiles and happy memories to everyone who came.
Guy Totaro from Niko Niko Taishi put the biggest smiles on everyone’s faces with magic, balloon animals and comedy. We also had stellar performances from both Russell Kabir and Autumn River Willow, gaining a new group of diehard fans that will look forward to all their performances in the future. Also a huge shout out to IsraAID for making the trip to Rikuzentakata. We are so grateful for their support!
The goal of FAIR Takata was for people to get together and enjoy themselves, and we whole-heartedly think this goal was accomplished. We know that people will be talking about Pitch Burst and face painting for many years to come.
A HUGE thank you to the volunteers, donors, friends and family that supported us this past year while we were preparing for this event. We really, truly couldn’t have done it without you.
-Jon and KK
Only one week left to go! All the preparations for the games are just about done! We can’t wait for everyone to come play them! Before that happens though, we are very happy to share our final special guest with you!
All the way from Akita prefecture, we have the musical stylings of Autumn River Willow!!!
In 2009, 5 people from various walks of life got together and decided to make a band. In 2011, with the retirement of their singer, they welcomed a new member who had been previously performing as a solo artist and the addition of a new keyboardist. In 2012, they changed to a new drummer to arrive at their current roster. They describe themselves as a blend of jazz, funk, and latin which achieves a classy pop sound.
We are really lucky that they were able to fit FAIR Takata into their schedule. But wait! There’s more!
Due to prior commitments, the regular guitarist for ARW can’t make it to FAIR Takata. His spot will be filled by none other than, Russell Kabir!!! So if you haven’t had your Russell Kabir fix yet, look out for a double feature on display at FAIR Takata!
Can’t wait to see you there!
– Jon and KK
Another game has made it past prototype stage! Please take a look at our plinko board we made for the FAIR!
We can’t wait to see it painted up and in action on August 17th!
With only 10 days to go, we are still looking for donations for FAIR Takata. Please take a look at our donation page if you are interested in supporting us and the people of Tohoku! Tell everyone you know!
– KK and Jon
There are less than two weeks left! We are scurrying around getting everything put together for the FAIR. We hope you guys are all excited!
We’ve got the drinks, the food, the volunteer packages, and the signs all ready to go! There is still plenty to do, but we will have it all ready for the 17th!
If you can’t make it to the FAIR, please think about donating to the event, just head over to our donate page or the donate button on the side there.
We are proud to spotlight another one of our special guests at FAIR Takata. Akita’s very own Russell Kabir!!!
Russell is a singer-songwriter from Oklahoma who is currently living and performing in Tohoku, Japan. His recent album “Way of Things” debuted to the exceeding satisfaction of his friends and community. Enjoy songs empowered by his commitment to music and his constant endeavor to create beautiful melodies.
We are so happy to have Russell come out and play for us. If you haven’t had the chance to see Russel’s show yet, you can catch a glimpse of him on August 17th at FAIR Takata! Also, if you are a big Russell Kabir fan, you don’t want to miss what’s coming up next!!! Stay tuned and see you at the FAIR!
One of our games has been built!
A huge thanks to Todd, David and Amanda for all your help! I hope you look forward to playing this game at the FAIR!