the BIG CLEAN – Miyako, Iwate

April 19th *UPDATE*

Hello everyone,

I hope this email finds you all well. It’s a beautiful Tuesday morning up
here in Kamikoani, and I know the sakura (cherry blossoms) are anxiously
trying to grace us with their presence… It won’t be long, but I can hardly
wait J

I’m writing to you to inform you of a fantastic ONE-DAY-VOLUNTEERING
OPPORTUNITY in Miyako, Iwate THIS WEEKEND (Sun, April 24th). Some of you may
have heard about this through the new volunteerAKITA website that has been
set up as a means to coordinate our efforts here in Akita as well as giving
instructions on donating.

This particular activity was set up by our good friends Mark Dawson and Joe
(from the Shizukuishi Ski Trip). Unfortunately Mark is unable to attend this
weekend, but together we are going to make it happen. He will be taking care
of the admin side of things, while I will be heading to Iwate with the

*So what’s this all about?*

Well, we as a group are going to join up with a group from Iwate called
YUICCO (ゆいっこ), a well organized group that has a great system set up. It is
organized by prefectural senators. They will organize insurance for us, pick
us up from Morioka, and take us to Miyako where we will work for the day.
Our work will involve cleaning out drains, gutters and gaijin traps. This
work is ESSENTIAL as it allows the backed up water/sludge, which was left
behind from the tsunami, to be drained away. This in turn will prevent
disease spreading, another disaster that nobody needs right now!

*Ok so on to the details…*

We will meet at Shizukuishi on Saturday 23rd April at about 6pm, have dinner
and spend the night at Minshuku Nakagawa. The next morning we will have
breakfast and head to Morioka (about a 1 hour drive) and rendezvous with

Alternatively you can simply meet us at the rendezvous point on Sunday
morning if you don’t want to or can’t make it down on Saturday night. But be
aware that would mean leaving Akita VERY early Sunday morning, and if you
are late the bus will already have left. 😮

*So what do you need?*

Lunch and drinks
Clothes – that you don’t mind getting very dirty, and a spare pair to change
back into
Wellies/gum boots
A shovel! – you will need a metal shovel
Goggles – if you want to keep splashes etc out of your eyes
Gloves – to protect your “teacher” hands from blistering 😉
Garbage bags

*How much does it all cost?*

Accommodation at the Minshuku is 4,000 yen

YUICCO will provide our insurance and the return bus service for free!

So for about 4,000 yen YOU can help make a HUGE difference for the lives of
the people who have had almost everything taken from them.


OK, well I’m delighted that you have read this far. And if you think this is
for you please reply to this email and we can get insurance etc. sorted out.
We can of course organize car pooling over to Shizukuishi too.

I need to hear from you by Thursday (around 5pm) at the latest if you wish
to join this weekend!

*What we need?*

Please provide us with the following information if you wish to volunteer.
We need this information to organize your insurance, which is a requirement
to volunteering.



Phone number:

Date of birth:

Country of origin:

*Word of CAUTION*

Please do remember that the area we will be visiting will have been badly
affected. It’s fantastic if you have decided to volunteer your time and
effort to help out, but NOT if it is at your mental or physical expense.
Please take a moment and make SURE that you are capable of dealing with a
level of destruction that you probably have never experienced before, and
also that you are up for 6 hours of shoveling mud and clearing debris etc.
If in doubt please feel free to contact myself, Mark or Paul.

Ok, again I want to thank you for reading this email and I look forward to
hearing from you. As it stands we have a group of about 6 people, but
hopefully we can build on that. The ALT community has come through for us so
many times recently. It’s really a pleasure being part of such an AMAZING

I look forward to hearing from you.


For your reference VolunteerAKITA (English & Japanese) YUICCO (Japanese only)

Minshuku Nakagawa -岩手県岩手郡雫石町長山篠川原174


Heya chaps!

For those of us who remember the Shizukuishi ski trips, there’s a rather pleasant fellow who organises this all for us, simply named Joe. Long story short, he is also organising relief efforts throught Iwate and has come to me requesting if we can donate goods and funds. Specifically, his focus is on mothers and children. I quote “At the coast people need various things, at various times. For the now, it is not so much clothes, but washing/drying machines. But, refugees staying in the hotels in this area need things like socks, underwear, et al. One of the problems not being recognised are the mothers and children who left the area at first and have not been tracked. They typically have  lost their spouse, lost their home, lost their job, so we are trying to create a safety network for them”.

Obviously with the amount of devastation, it is hard to help everyone at the same time. As a community we have done a tremendous job with the two trips so far to kesenuma and the orphanage in Sendai. But I’d like us next to try and raise goods as well for these people in need in Iwate.

Secondly, volunteer work. Every sunday, a volunteer team goes to Miyako, Iwate to do clean-up work. I know that some of us are just itching to help out, so if you are interested to get involved with this, please e-mail myself or Paul and we will put you on the list of volunteers:
I’ll try and arrange a time in a few weeks for us all to go down. (Even if there is only four of us, every little we help has a big impact on the lifes and communities trying to get their lives back to “normal”). Chatting about this with Joe, he suggested this “My recommendation, come over to shizukuishi saturday night, stay at a pension here in shizukuishi (I will try to get discount, and get an explanation on events), then rise early in the morning, meet the team in Morioka City, caravan out to the coast, return in the evening…. ”

We don’t necessarily have to go by that route. So first let’s do this. Get a group together of volunteers, and then we can get ttogether and talk about how and when we want to operate.

Love to hear from you Akita!




– Minami


2 Comments on “the BIG CLEAN – Miyako, Iwate”

  1. Carl Williams says:

    Do you have access to a list of all NGOs working in Miyako, Iwate? I’m the Disaster Relief/Recovery Coordinator for two funding organizations. I have some additional funds that a donor wanted to go to Miyako but I don’t believe we have supported teams working in that area. If that is the case I’ll look to make the donation to YUICCO (ゆいっこ)if you have contacts with them.
    Carl Williams, Disaster Relief and Recovery Coordinator

    • Hi Carl, sorry for the late response. The only organization we have been in contact with is YUICCO. We just got back from Miyako last night, and I think the folks at YUICCO would be an excellent choice to donate to. They are great people, were very organized, and seemed to have a lot of connections/contacts in Iwate. Definitely check them out. Thanks for the heads up.

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