今年初めて参加させていただいたひまわりプロジェクトで宮城県の名取市に行ってきた。ひまわりプロジェクトというのは、東日本大震災後に発足した復興支援プロジェクトで、関東地方で一般の人にひまわりの種を配って育ててもらい、そして回収した苗を名取市の美田園駅前で植える企画。7月になると、希望のシンボルであるひまわりが咲き誇って未だに仮設住宅に住んでいる現地の方々に少しでも元気を与えられるといいね。

I made a trip to Natori city of Miyagi Prefecture as part of Himawari project from my school. This project was started after the 311 Great East Japan Earthquake and involves distributing sunflower seeds to people in Kanto region and collecting the seedlings, before sending them to Natori city. These seedlings are then planted in a designated area in front of Mitazono Station. These sunflowers will be in full bloom in July, symbolizing hope for the locals who are still living in temporary housing 4 1/2 years after the disaster.

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その後、名取市内で一番被害の大きかった閖上に足を運び、語り部に参加し、そして現地の高校生と一緒に再び苗を植えた。

After that, we took a bus to Yuriage, the most heavily affected area in Natori city, had a tour around the area, and planted seedlings there too with the local high school students.

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その夜はひまわりプロジェクトの皆さんと仙台にある牡鹿半島のお店で打ち上げをした。

After the day’s activity we had dinner at a restaurant in Sendai, specialized in food from Oshika Peninsula.

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その後イスラエル、フィリピンとネパールの友達と、レトロのバーで二次会を開いた。普段自分より若い人に囲まれているが、今回俺は珍しくメンバーの中で最年少。日本人は一人もいないのに80年代の日本ポップで盛り上がり、途中踊り出した人もいた。

After the dinner, a few of us gathered and went to a retro bar that played 80’s Japanese pop. Coming from Israel, the Philippines, Nepal and Singapore, there wasn’t a single Japanese among us, but we got high and one or two even started dancing in the bar.

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1日目は結構飲んだせいか、翌日起きるのが遅かったが、計画通りネパールの友達2人と石巻へ向かった。

The first day ended with most of us pretty intoxicated but we managed to get up and leave for Ishinomaki as planned.

俺は今回石巻9回目ということで、初めて石巻に来た2人の友達を案内させてもらった。母国のネパールには最近大地震を経験したせいか、未だに東日本大震災の痕が残っている石巻を回りながら、様々な鋭い質問をしてきた。石巻の商店街、Ishinomaki 2.0のIRORI、情報交流館、石ノ森漫画館、日和山、門脇小学校など、震災当時のことから、現在の復興にかけて、東日本大震災、そして石巻のことを幅広く知ってもらったのではないかと思う。

Having been to Ishinomaki many times, I volunteered to bring my two Nepalese friends around the city in their first trip to Ishinomaki. Ishinomaki is one of the affected cities that have shown the quickest progress, probably because it used to be one of the biggest cities in Miyagi Prefecture. At the same time, Ishinomaki has retained some of its scars from the disaster, making it easy for first-time visitors to visualize and learn about how the tsunami caused massive destruction. Having seen their own country, Nepal, suffer from a huge earthquake recently, they expressed deep interest in Ishinomaki, occasionally asking specific questions on the situation and recovery progress of the city. We visited the main shopping street (where most shops have closed down), Irori co-working space, the Cultural and Information Centre, Ishinomori Manga Museum, Hiyoriyama, Kadowaki Elementary School and so on.

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そして、夜は仙台でおいしいご飯を食べてから東京へ戻ってきた!

We rounded our trip off with a scrumptious meal in Sendai before returning to Tokyo.

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