Taylor Anderson Reading Corner Dedication – Ishinomaki

September 6, 2011 – Mangokuura Elementary School – Such an amazing reception and dedication ceremony for Taylor Anderson and her Reading Corners.  A BIG THANKS to the Anderson Family for inviting me to be a part of it.  Today, the first reading corner was given to Mangokuura E.S. (one of Taylor’s schools).  The dedication ceremony was packed full of friends, family, students, ALTs, news cameras, and city employees.  There were many heart felt speeches, and even a couple of Taylor’s elementary school kids got up and made some speeches to honor Taylor in English! It was a really cool moment in the ceremony.

The reading corners are amazing, and Endo-san (the builder) is truly an amazing human being.  Having lost his own children in the tsunami, it was so inspirational to hear him speak, and see how important it was for him to work with the Andersons in building Taylor’s Reading Corners.  Definitely a soft spoken man with a heart of gold.  I was so glad to meet him, and was amazed with his wood working ability.

All and all, an awesome day.  From spending time with the Andersons to meeting all these amazing people who are doing great things in the relief efforts right now.  It almost felt like a reunion of sorts.  Many of the guests were people I had already met through e-mail exchanges, so it was nice to finally put faces to the names.  Also got to catch up with my buddy Michael Maher King which is always a pleasure (and we are going to miss him so much).  Another BIG THANKS to the Andersons and Kat Sheu for making the past 2 days so awesome.  We look forward to continuing working with the Anderson Family, and will continue to support and spread the word on Taylor’s Fund.  They are really doing amazing things in Tohoku right now, and it has been such an inspiration getting to know them/working with them.

Paul

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The Fruit Tree Project w/ The Andersons! – Ishinomaki, Day 21/22

September 5, 2011 – A long but awesome day down in Ishinomaki with the Anderson family!  It was so nice to finally meet them in person, and we are so glad they could come around with us today to see what The Fruit Tree Project is all about.  We started loading fruit at about 9a.m. from Moriya Fruits, then started making our rounds to the shelters in the Ishinomaki area.

The shelter numbers have dropped significantly since we were last down there, but there are still so many people who haven’t made it out yet.  As we approach the 6 month mark since the disaster, it really hits you hard to see the many people still living in shelters and uncertain about their future.  We just really hope people in Japan and all over the world don’t forget about these people, and continue to help them get back on their feet.

It was definitely a long/busy day, but it felt so great to be back out in Ishinomaki, especially with the Andersons and Kat.  We got to chat with so many people along the way, and also got to play with some kids in the afternoon, which is always fun! In total we delivered ~1,233 items of fruit to 16 shelters!  Another BIG THANKS to the Andersons for everything they are doing for Japan right now, and for all the love and support they have given us! Also to the lovely Kat Sheu for everything she has done in the relief efforts, as well as volunteerAKITA.  We will definitely miss her and wish her the best in the future!

All in all, it was a great day! We accomplished so much, and we definitely reached out to a lot of people, which is what’s most important.

September 6, 2011 – Yesterday was a bit hectic, so we were not able to deliver to Hirobuchi ES (a small shelter outside of central Ishinomaki).  After an amazing reception/ceremony for Taylor’s Reading Corners, I stopped by Hirobuchi on the way back to Akita with enough fruit to last them through the week (2 huge watermelons, 150 mikans, and 48 pears!) The folks there are the sweetest people ever, and are always very grateful for our visits.  We hope to get back there soon.

Paul & Minami