A Visit to Tsunami Stricken Area

“Philippine-Tohoku Goodwill Ambassadors” Under JENESYS PROGRAM (more Info..)

With the thousands of applicants nationwide who applied for the program, I am very lucky that I got accepted. I felt like everything is just a dream. However, in 2011 the programme was postponed because of the disaster happened. It was a year long been waited and finally push through. It took a little while before I finally realized that I was in Japan! As expected it was an inspiring programme and be one of the student ambassadors is a great honour, we are not tourist but a goodwill tohoku ambassadors “Go Green” Team, as JICE stated. I am very thankful for the opportunity that I’d experienced and have learned. It was a big break to discover Japan at its finest! I am very grateful that I have pack myself with knowledge on environmental issues, rich culture and traditions. I’m glad to know Japan as an industrialized is able to preserve their rich cultures and tradition.  It was a great opportunity to listen, exchange or share experiences, views and perception with the Japanese individuals in any concerns. Generally, I think the programme aids to appreciate on the world we live, and boost enrich cultural along with environmental interaction and offers me a great opportunity to access persons, places and activities. Moreover, it helped me built more self-confidence and developed better point of maturity given the fact that I’d gain better awareness, knowledge and incomparable friendship which I think is a great basis for my personal success.

It was a year long been waited and finally push through. For 11 days I was with 22 colleagues 2 supervisors and 2 Japanese coordinators from JICE who owns different personality, outstanding skills and knowledge which essentially made the trip truly memorable, in high spirit, and successful.

When we finally arrive at Narita Airport it was too late before it gradually sinks into my mind that I’d finally step into the land of the rising sun! The excitement triggers as the JICE welcome us warmly and acquaint us about Japanese culture and tradition, not to mention their very advance technology everywhere (toilet orientation etc). We always woke up early for the daily temperature check and buffet breakfast. On our second day in Tokyo, we had lecture about "The Outline of the disaster caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Reconstruction after the earthquake" by Dr. Hironobu Nakabayashi. Time management is important as the Japanese coordinator says “Time is Hair”. We moved to Tokyo station by bus and JR Tokyo Station to JR Ichinoseki Station Shinkansen (Bullet Train) we had our vegetarian boxed lunch in the train. From JR Ichinoseki Station to Kesen-numa Ace Port (bus) then Kesen-numa Ace Port to Oshima Island (ferry boat) and finally Check-in at Minshuku Ishida (Japanese-style inn). 

I've witness the impact of tsunami happened and feel pity. I can no longer distinguish how the city looks like before it was like bad dream, my deepest sympathy and prayers to the people. I’ve first realize the exceptional hospitality of Japanese on our first dinner on a Japanese style Inn. I never thought I would appreciate Japanese foods and be keen on their culture. 

oshima island japan, traditional japanese dinner

On our Third Day, we woke up in “futon” and I had a very comfy sleep. Waking up in Oshima Island is different, it’s very calming! We’d experience traditional Japanese breakfast then we had volunteer activity of beach cleaning where I’d jammy dig up a sakura shell, it was also a good chance to talk with the locals who were also big-hearted volunteers. Right after, we moved to Mt. Kameyama where we’ve sight Oshima Island from the summit and heard about the guide experience about the disaster. Going back to the Inn we had our scrumptious Japanese lunch, two different rice balls with salmon and seaweed fillings within. We met local fishermen and experience making “Glass Fishing Floats” a local media were also there to do coverage. I am not really good in craft making but because of their kind assistance I am able to make it. Along with their friendliness good conversations divulge and have been a really great bonding.

sakura shell
oshima island japan, life in japan, traditional breakfast in japan
Cultural Experience that I will cherish for a lifetime.

We headed to Oshima Uranohama for a ferry ride back to Kesen-numa Ace Port. I am very thankful to meet people like them, who were very strong to overcome all the hurdles that happened in their life. And despite of the situation, they still manage to smile and stand up again. I salute the Japanese for being strong enough in the obstacles of life; they’re likely a motivation not to give up on any hurricane life might bring us. 

Saying goodbye to the locals was really sad, for just a short period of time we’d felt their kindness and shared moments. We sang to them and can’t help but cry. It was really depressing to see people waving goodbye and crying too. With the good relationship of their community and the government I believe everything will be restore and will bring back to usual. I would always love to come back here! And I am hoping that you who are reading this could also visit this lovely Island soon. 


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