The morning of our last day in Fukushima was full of educational activities. We started the day off by cutting vegetables that we later on used as ingredients for the soup we had during lunch time. Cutting vegetables seems like a boring task however the presence of friends and Japanese hosts makes the experience one to remember. After which we came out to the streets of Tenei Village to walk around the classical Japanese houses still standing. We got a chance to enter a traditional Japanese house that was over 140 years old! How often do you get a chance like that? The family living in this house explained to us that the architecture of traditional houses before we’re centered on having good airflow throughout the house. This can be really convenient especially during hot summer days, but also can be brutal during winter. Our next activity was harvesting rice. Since Fukushima is generally a cold place they can only harvest rice once a year which makes rice very valuable because of the low supply. That made our next activity even more special because we were able to make our own onigiri (rice balls) for lunch. We we’re expecting to make some convenient store looking onigiri, something that people would buy in the stores, however we found out that it was actually much harder than it looked and most of us ended up making deformed or oversized un-proportionate onigiri’s. Nevertheless they still tasted pretty good!
After a morning of fun activities it was time to do some serious work. We previously prepared a short presentation for the local people in Fukushima regarding the Radiation scare caused by the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima. Our reports were focused on how and what the media in our countries (ASEAN + Australia) showed us about this disaster. Japan is the strong country with high technology and very great people, almost each of us thought that, they could handle all the matters, even after the disaster in March 11th, so they didn’t need our help so much, because we still the developing countries. But we were wrong, after joined to the volunteer activities, we realized that they really need our help, even just the little things. We also talked about the rumors and insights that we ourselves and fellow countrymen believe regarding the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. From how things are going, it may take more time until the stigma haunting Fukushima products clears up. This is unfortunate, but it is the reality of things. Not only are foreigners weary about products especially food that come from Fukushima but Japanese as well. However we cannot blame them if they are pessimistic because they are only concerned about their health and the health of their family. This is not to say that the local government in Fukushima isn’t doing anything to alleviate this problem they are facing. As a matter of fact they are exerting all their efforts to reassure people that products coming from Fukushima are safe to consume. Having gone, lived, and consumed Fukushima products personally, and seeing how much effort they are exerting to ensure the safety of their products I strongly believe that Fukushima products especially those of Tenei Village are safe for consumption. We enjoyed our stay in Tenei Village so much, we learned a lot and we had good memories to bring home, I hope one day you too will be able to visit Tenei Village. Gambatte (Good Luck) Fukushima! Gambatte (Good Luck) Tenei Village!
TITLE: [Case Study of Countermeasures: Farming Experience] Business Promotion Division, Tenei Spring Onion Producers Association
REPORTED by HANG DAL
In the morning, we visited to the small factory of Spring Onion Producers Association where they produce green onions to be sold at the supermarket and we could see the way they do step by step. At first, they take off the onion shield by hand and then they use a machine to blow the bad shield of the onion. Some of us trying to use the machine for taking out the bad shield and some were good at doing this but some couldn’t do well. After that they cut off at the good size and pack three onions per pack. We also had a chance to taste the fresh onion that was very delicious and they also gave us some juice.
TITLE: [Site Visit of Recovery Assistance] Site visit of food safety (apple picking) and recovery assistance from the aspect of human support @ Osuga Orchad
REPORTED by SOVANNDARA MAK
We also go to take an experience from the apple farm. At there we help the owner to turn the apple around to get it becomes red from the sunlight. The apples there were good and high quality. This apple farm is long time ago maybe 2 generation nowadays. After turned the apple around, we also got a good chance from farm owner to pick up our apple to bring back home. It’s a time to lunch so we left the farm, but before we leave we also got some information about this farm also. They tried so hard to protect the farm from radiation and also find the way to rescue the farm. It’s new information to against with harmful rumor.
TITLE: [Lecture at Disaster Affected Area] “Activity Record of the Great East Japan Earthquake”
LECTURERS: Sukagawa Police Officers (Endo-san, Fujita-san, and Onoguci-san)
REPORTED by NOR SYAFARAH ZAKARIYA
- To share their experiences during and aftermath the disaster around Okuma, Nihonmatsu City, Fujinuma Lake, and various places around Fukushima.
- To ensure our understanding towards the efforts for revitalization and reconstruction they have made thus share this with our countries’ citizens.
POINTS THEY HAVE SHARED
Onoguci-san and Fujita-san has shared his and his colleagues’ experiences during and after the disaster. There was an officer lost in action while he was evacuating the locals during the tsunami. This really showed the true value of commitment. We should follow his footsteps. He also touched us with the sense of responsibility of the police officers; they always strive hard to find the bodies. Until now, they’re still searching for another body out of 8. If they don’t have responsibility, they wouldn’t have found those bodies. Besides that, we were amazed by the fact that they have strong discipline. The scene and situation of the disaster sites are very challenging. But, they didn’t flee and continue with their job. In addition to that, they were patiently wore the hot anti-radiation suit for 6 months during their work. He also astonished us with the fact that, the police officers were not from Fukushima prefecture only, but from all over Japan. Their bond of brotherhood is strong within them. The police officers were also brave because eventhough they knew that the reactor could explode anytime while they were working on the site, they were still steadfast to work.
I hope that the message that they’ve been trying to convey will be absorbed by us thus apply it in our daily life and make it as a habit.
After 2 days of amazing new experiences, we were looking forward to starting the new day. The new experience for today was related to agricultural study.
The Morning session was spent with a local vegetable farmer from Tenei village. All members participated in planting seeds in the soil. For some participants, this was their first experience planting vegetables. Therefore, everyone was so excited to do it and we were also looking forward to seeing them grow up when we visit Fukushima next time. Through this experience and listening to the local farmer’s story, we all felt that being a farmer is not easy and it will be difficult to get good products if you do not work hard, Tenei village in particular. Fukushima in general was affected not only by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, but also by harmful rumors about radiation after natural disasters. In my opinion, if everyone had the opportunity to visit Tenei Village once, you can see that local people are trying their best to recover, especially working hard in order to produce safe food for everyone in this area. Therefore, they will be very depressed if the harmful rumors keep going around the world like this. By the way, we also had the opportunity to visit a station market that sells local products. Local people want to introduce their safe products and sell them at the station. That is also a very good idea and good way for the local people to promote their local products.
After having lunch at a local restaurant, we started our afternoon session in Yumoto Community making Japanese food and a scarecrow. The Scarecrow used to protect the paddy field from some animals. Making the scarecrow with our respected groups was very fun and enjoyable. We then brought our scarecrows that we made to paddy field. They will use our scarecrows to protect their paddy field. We felt so happy because although our scarecrows were not so good and did not have proper shape, they still appreciated our hard work. We never thought that making a scarecrow was easy as we thought.Thereafter, we made Japanese food, which is called mochi, with this community. Some of us tried to pound the rice for making mochi. After that, some local people did the rest, the prepared the seasoning and sauce. The fresh mochi we ate was the most delicious we’ve had in Japan so far.
At night, we had party with the residents. We all danced with Japanese traditional moves. That was so exciting. We could follow the steps because it was pretty easy and basic. We all had fun together in Fukushima J
So far, we enrich lots of knowledge and intelligence by participating in the farming life experience and interact with local Japanese people who are really vibrant and kind; even we have lack of Japanese conversation. Other side, I am proud of Japanese people, they never give up, and they work hard, and never feel tired 24/7. That is something new for us, because most of us living in city, and have exchange to countryside life. Fukushima food tastiness is very good and I believe that there is no food contamination anymore.
Post by: Mira, Will & Kha Tu
At Wednesday September 19th, we had several activities regarding safety management of farm products and radiation issues.
In the morning, we learned safety management of farm products through DVD about “Record of Elimination of Radioactive”. The documentary movie told much about how the farmers in Tennei Village, Fukushima, strived for Zero Radioactive Contamination in Rice Crops. After the Explosion of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, everyone was very worried about radioactive contamination that could be carried in the rice. Even though Government of Fukushima had announced about the safety of rice, there was brown rice from one of the district that was found to be contaminated by radioactive cesium that exceeded the standards.
In Tennei Village whose rice production was claimed to be safe, the farmers still had to work to make the level of contamination close to zero. They had a team consisted of 21 farmers of the village called Tennei Rice Cultivation Study Team. They used potassium, zeolite, and Prussion Blue. After couple of months, at February 2012, the contamination level decreased to 16 %.
Besides watching the documentary movie, we also had a chance to see and learn about how the machine used to check and make sure the radioactive level works.
After watching and learning about safety management of farm products, we headed to see the farm field. There, we saw the cucumber field owned by Kaneko-san. The cucumbers there were very delicious and special because they tasted sweet. Not only sweet and delicious, Kaneko-San’s products have also been proved as safe.
During our stay in Fukushima, on the 2nd day we had lecture in morning about the radiation by Professor Inoue Hiroyoshi, a Professor from Keio University, Department of University. This lecture was basically one of the Kizuna Enhancement Projects in order to clarify about the harmful rumors regarding agriculture products in Fukushima. This lecture was mainly about 2 types of Radiation: Natural & Synthesized radiation from Atomic reactor. From the lecture we came to know about radiation and its influence on the human body. He also spoke about cloud chamber, which is a particle detector used for detecting ionizing radiation.
Post by: Aini, Gift, Aurea, Rebek
Our first thoughts mainly consist of negative ones. Is it safe enough? Would we be prone to radiation exposure? What will happen to me after I get back from there? Will I end up glowing in the dark? Thoughts like these – that obscure our minds every time we rehearse this idea of going to Fukushima. But then when I sat down and thought about it thoroughly, surely, the program wouldn’t throw us in a place that is hazardous to our health right? So I decided to give this chance the benefit of a doubt. So did the rest of the program participants.
For the Course A and B participants, this means packing up from our hotel in Kitakami to make our way to Fukushima. We arrived at Shin-Shirakawa by a shinkansen, and breathed our first Fukushima air. Suddenly, for me, the thoughts of concern evaporated into the fresh air that surrounds me, as the thought of a new journey grips my mind. We got onto a bus that took us to the Community Hall of Tenei Village, where we had our orientation. We were briefed on the attractions of the area and how everything was steadily depleting following the 3/11 disaster last year. When that was done, we were transported to our place of stay – a traditional Japanese ryokan.