June 6, 2014
How to bring more fans to RIKUZENTAKATA?
－2014 Project-Based Learning in RIKUZENTAKATA Spring Program－
① Prior Sessions：February 20 & 25, 2014
② Core Program：March 15-21（Tokyo：3/15 & 21, Rikuzentakata：3/16～20）
③ Presentation & Briefing Session：April 23
16 Rikkyo students including 3 from overseas
① Prior Sessions：
- Team-building activities
- Lectures on 311 East Japan Great Tsunami and Earthquake related issues
- Interview method
- Workshop with SAVE TAKATA
- Personal and team’s goal-setting
② Core Program：
・Field trip orientation and preparation
［Rikuzentakata／5 days 4 nights］
・City tour, visits to local businesses, shops, restaurants, tourism related facilities and etc.
・Workshops with guest speakers
・Preliminary proposal presentation
・Feedback from NPO employees and revision
③ Presentation & Briefing Session
(Nicolas Bureau College of Law and Politics )
It is quite difficult to relate what I lived in Rikuzentakata, because I would say it’s something one has to live to understand. I think we were all impressed by the people there, and their strength, their courage, their will to never give up. It was a wonderful experience, and I will definitely go back there in a few years to see how things are improving for the residents.
We had a chance to listen to a lot of stories from the local people; how they lost everything, how they tried to rebuild the city, how they now live their daily lives. One of the most moving stories, and I know I’m not the first one, was the shop owner’s one, how he had to spend the cold night on his chimney, how he saw the center where his family had likely gone washed away by the tsunami.
I wanted to go there to be useful, and to see by myself, without the help of TV or newspaper, what was the actual situation there. I’m very happy I had a chance to do that, and quite sad too because the reconstruction seems to be going very slow. I don’t want to lose hope for Rikuzentakata or Tôhoku altogether, and I guess I understand better the term 我慢 (GAMAN, endurance and perseverance) now that I’ve seen their courage.
（NOBORI Honoka College of Tourism）
It was a pleasure participating in this program. Through the program, I was able to meet my teammates, who not only possess excellent English skills, but were also very serious in thinking about solutions for the problem. Each of them had his/her own ideas and did not hesitate to share in discussion, which made our group work very inspiring and fruitful. For a passive person like me, it was a first-time experience to join and enjoy such heated discussions.
What’s more, I was able to visit the city of Rikuzentakata. My feelings and way of thinking towards the 311 disaster-hit areas have totally changed after I went there and saw everything with my own eyes. Instead of continuously fading out of my memory as before the trip, the disaster-hit regions now have become one of the motivations for my studies. As a student majoring in tourism, I would like to learn more at school in order to help revitalize Rikuzentakata in the future. That’s a new long-term goal of mine.
（TSUJI Naomi College of Science）
How to bring more fans to RIKUZENTAKATA? That’s the question we, as a team, thought about almost every day during the two-month program. In order to come up with a proposal for the assigned task, each member, including one from outside of Japan, contributed from different perspectives. We visited Rikuzentakata, saw the current situation, talked with various people, enjoyed delicious local food and leaned about the wonderful things of the city. There’s no doubt that all participants have become fans of Rikuzentakata, and even part of the community through the short 5-day stay.
I will definitely visit again. Before that, I will keep watching the recovery progress of the city and hope there will be more people like me.
April 26, 2014, Yomiuri Shimbun (Japanese)
May 9, 2014, Tokai Shimpo(Japanese)