*UPDATE* August 17, 2011

We appreciate everyone’s e-mails regarding volunteering in Tohoku.  As of late, many areas and volunteer centers are slowing down.  This DOES NOT mean they no longer need volunteers, but from here on out, if you are interested in manual labor volunteering in Tohoku, we urge you to please contact the Volunteer Centers and go from there.

Kessenuma Volunteer Center can be found here.

Ishinomaki Volunteer Center can be found here.

As for volunteering with us (volunteerAKITA), we will make sure to post ALL opportunities on our website.

Thanks so much everyone!

– volunteerAKITA CREW


Volunteer Opportunities

volunteerAKITA has established contacts in Kesennuma, Miyagi – Miyako, Iwate – Rikuzentakata, Iwate – PLEASE contact us if you are interested in volunteering in these areas, and we can give you all the information you need.  Please refer to the “Contacts” page and contact the specified Project Co-ordinator for the area you are interested in heading to.  Tohoku needs us right now! We hope you can find time to volunteer!

– volunteerAKITA crew

Golden Week Volunteering

Many of you, though unable to attend the last volunteer events, have shown
an interest in helping out over Golden Week.  We thank you for your patience and
have thus put together a list of relief efforts we are participating in, and
also how you can particularly GET INVOLVED!

*Volunteer Miyako*

If you take the time to read Owen’s report you can see how much of a success the
trip to Miyako was. In as much of a success that it was, there is still
clearly so much that needs to be done! Over Golden week (and with little to
do due to lack of internet) Owen has kindly offered his time to go and stay
in Miyako from April 30th – May 06th* (best part of Golden week), If you
would like to get stuck in the mud and lend a hand, for the whole week, or
just a day or two, all you gotta do is let us know. We can arrange
accommodation, the insurance and give you a list of items you will need.

As of 1pm on Wednesday, April 27th, volunteers are required
on May 1st and May 2nd for sure! The April 30th, May 3rd and 4th are maybes, though I’m confident that if we are down there they will put us to work.

So, please let us know by April 28th if you are
interested and what days you are available, to give us adequate time to
make arrangements. We realize and apologize that it’s short notice for you.

Mark and Owen



*Volunteer Kesennuma – The Fruit Tree Project*

Hey everyone, the donations have been rolling in everyday from all parts of
the world.  As of right now, we have about 500,000yen! which will DEFINITELY
buy lots of fruit for those folks!

– As for volunteering here is what we have so far.  The fruit deliveries
will not take all day, so we have been looking into volunteer opportunities
through the Kesennuma VC (volunteer center).  Many of these opportunities
are on a first come first serve basis, so if you are there early you will
most likely get put to work (usually some sort of manual labor)

– Also, we have gotten the OK from the shelter to do some activities with
the kiddos down there!  He suggests if we have an idea, to tell him in
advance and he can spread the word around the shelter to spark interest!

If any of these opportunities interests you, please contact me and we can
get the ball rolling!  This Golden Week is a great opportunity to get out
and make a difference!  MADlove, and let’s keep the momentum going!

Paul Yoo and Minami Ishikawa

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

https://volunteerakita.wordpress.com/ VolunteerAKITA (English & Japanese)

http://yuicco.com/ 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: vikingsparx@gmail.com
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