August 2012 - Vikingess Voyages

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blog Post for UE: 譬え、小さなアリでも成し遂げられること

10:11:00 PM
This is a blog post written by me for the volunteer group United Earth. Original text can be found here.

こんにちは、ノルウェーから来た留学生のアンです。
 
ユナイテッドアースにお世話になった十二日間はあっという間に終わってしまいました。
林業をはじめ、草刈り、ワカメの作業、漁港のタコ、老人ホームでの蕎麦打ち体験、ホテル観洋でのプール監視など幅広い活動をやらせていただいたお陰で様々な新しい経験ができました。



ボランティアに来る前、ノルウェー出身の私は受け入れてもらえるか少し心配でしたが、ユナイテッドアースには優しい人ばかりで、現地の人々からも頑張って下さいと応援の言葉を頂いたので来てよかったと思います。毎日美味しい和食を食べさせて頂き、様々な楽しい活動をやらせて頂いただいていると、私は被災地にいるということを忘れてしまう程、充実した楽しいボランティア生活を過ごすことができました。しかし、自然の中の南三陸を通ると数多くの家のない土台や防災対策庁舎を目にし、今も続く住民の苦労を感じました。



短期でボランティアに来る人の多くは帰る前のスピーチであまり何も役に立てなかったと嘆いていました。私ができた支援もアリのように小さいものだったかもしれません。しかし、小さなアリでもみんなで協力することで一匹では成し遂げられないことも達成できると信じています。頑張っている多くのボランティア達の姿を見て、これからも一緒に南三陸のために頑張ったら少しでも現地の人達の役に立つことができると思います。



私はこれからは違う道を歩みますが、機会があったら是非南三陸の復興に貢献したいです。そして将来復興した南三陸を再び訪れることを楽しみにしています。




Related blogposts


Friday, August 24, 2012

A Korean Graduation Ceremony

6:57:00 PM
Today the lady working at the hostel I live at told me about a graduation ceremony taking place in Seongkyunkwan University (성균관대학) right by my hostel. So I took my camera and went over there, and got some nice photos.
The graduating students and the main temple
Students and dancers 
Traditional Korean dance

The dancers and the temple in the background
 I also got a couple of video with my iPhone. Please enjoy;)



Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sightseeing in Seoul: Trying on the Korean Hanbok!

5:20:00 PM
On my first day sightseeing in Seoul I dragged my new Finnish friend Tommi along to the Seoul's City Hall where I was going in order to finish the alien registration necessary for foreigners who are staying long-term in Korea. We walked from the nearest underground station, and by pure luck we discovered that by the entrance to the temple on the other side of the road, Deoksugung, they offered tourists to try the traditional Korean attire called Hanbok (한복) for free. A Korean lady helped us getting the hanbok on, and it seemed we were quite lucky with the timing, because it was just the time for one of the many daily Changing of the Guard ceremonies. Here are some pictures and videos from the day:
Tommi getting dressed up
Half way there..!
Do I look very Korean now? Probably not, but still.. ^^ 
Peace!
The main gate to Deoksugung
The Changing of the Guard ceremony
The drummer
After the ceremony was done we got to take pictures with the guards.
Yellow guards. Yay:)

-Apparently you can try the Hanbok for free here between 10:30-11:40, and 13:30-16:00..!

Other blogposts:
South Korea
Seoul
                                  


Hotels in South Korea


Friday, August 17, 2012

Korea, my new home!

12:57:00 AM
Today I left Japan heading for Seoul in Korea where I'll be staying as an DMDP-exchange student at Kyung Hee University for a year. Arriving in Seoul I took the airport bus into the city, and arrived at the hostel I'll be staying at the first week a couple of hours later.

So far everything has gone well, although I have to admit that the language barrier makes me a bit uncertain. When I arrived in Japan two years ago I had already had a lot of practice during my two years of studying at the University of Bergen, so I didn't really have any problems related to language as far as I can remember. Now the situation is a little bit different; although I took a course my last semester at Ritsumeikan the progress of the course was rather slow because of the Japanese students not being willing to do their homework and learn the Hangul letters like they were supposed to.. ><

Anyway, I'll be staying a week at Windroad Hostel, so I have some time to get used to the area before I move to the university dorm! I'll try to continue updating my blog on what I'm up to as well;)

All my posts about Kyung Hee

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Youtube: Minami-Sanriku's United Earth

11:08:00 PM
Here is a youtube video from United Earth, the group I volunteered for in Minami-Sanriku. I actually ended up in the video myself, although the only thing I actually contribute with here is by eating their food.. haha.. >_<

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Sightseeing in Japan: Climbing Mt. Fuji!

8:47:00 PM

Climbing Mt. Fuji was one of the things that had always been high on my list, simply because it is the biggest mountain (or in reality, vulcano,) in Japan, and the role it plays in the country. Mount Fuji is regarded a sacred mountain for the Japanese, and it has been depicted a vaste number of times, for instance through famous ukiyo-e (浮世絵) pictures.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Volunteering in Minami Sanriku: United Earth

11:29:00 PM
United Earth is a volunteer group that have been contributing to the still ongoing recovery of Minami Sanriku since the area was devastated by tsunamis in March 2011.

The members are almost exclusively Japanese (there was a French freelance journalist here the first couple of days I was here); at the present I'm the only foreigner in the group which right now in the summer holiday counts close to 50 members. Still, if you have a certain level of Japanese knowledge you'll meet a lot of friendly and nice people coming from all over the country.

The volunteer group United Earth has been helping out in the area since the disaster stroke last year, and they are helping out the community through various projects. These projects covers a wide range of sectors including fishery, forestry, removal of weeds, farming, senior citizen's home, a seaweed factory, and their activities varies according to the demand from the community. The recovery of the community takes time, and there is a lack of manpower in the area even with a lot of available jobs.

In order to get to Minami Sanriku there is a bus running three times a day from Sendai at 8:00, 14:10 and 16:20, and registered volunteers has the opportunity to get picked up at Hotel Kanyō (観洋). Staying as a volunteer costs around 3000 yen pr. night depending on the duration of the stay (repeaters pay less than the regular price). This covers most daily life expenses, so you don't have to worry about special equipment or food during your stay.
Working at a factory cutting seaweed
Cleaning an area for trunks
Holding an event at a senior citizen's home
Some other post with activities I participated in:
-Forestry
-Kessennuma's Sea Weed Factory

-United Earth's members are almost exclusively Japanese. If you prefer a more mixed volunteer group, check out for instance It's Not Just Mudd.

Related blogposts


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Last update from Minami Sanriku: The Voice of a Survivor

8:46:00 PM
I want to share one of my experiences working as a volunteer in Minami Sanriku with my readers out there. The wife of one of the farmers we have been helping is a woman who always dresses nicely and seems like an energetic and friendly person. The first times seeing her I'd never believe that she had had any personal losses from the tsunamis. However, one day before we were supposed to start our work at the farm she told us about how she had been working in a senior citizen's home at the time of the tsunami and how she and the others had to evacuate to the roof when the tsunami flooded the building.
Here she told us about how she had seen a person being taken by the wave who was screaming out for help. His hand was so close that she could have reached it, but she had been to afraid to do anything. She saw how the guy got drawn into the water until only his reaching hand was visible.
She told us about how bad she feels about not being able to help, and how it still hunts her every day. About how she and the others spent the night sleeping on the roof of the senior citizen's home hoping to wake up finding that it all was a dream. But instead they woke up to a city totally destroyed, and how they had to stay there until helicopters came to their rescue. Who would believe that such a cheerful person would carry such a dark experience..

Here in Minami Sanriku there are a lot of people that despite horrible experiences like these still keeps going on working on the recovery of their communities.
There are a lot of things that can be said about the situation in Minami Sanriku, but these are the words I've heard most frequently from many of the local people while staying here:
"The worst thing for us is to be forgotten. Please tell your friends about your experiences here, and that the recovery still is going to take a lot of time. Please don't forget us."


My stay in Minami Sanriku is coming to an end. But there is still a long way to go for the city to recover, and a need for people who can help. I believe that not only volunteers but also tourists can contribute to make the community bloom once more, so if you have the chance please don't hesitate to pay the fantastic people of Minami Sanriku a visit..!


Related blogposts


Minami-Sanriku: The Story of a Hero

4:04:00 PM


This building is all that is left of Minami-Sanriku's disaster prevention center. Despite knowing that the tsunamis were heading towards the city 24 year old Miki Endo kept warning the citizens of the danger through the community broadcast system until the very end. Many lives were saved because of her efforts, and the building has been left standing as a memory of her braveness. 

RIP.


Related blogposts


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Popular United Earth..!

10:14:00 PM
The number of United Earth members has been rising steadily since I came, and today we probably reached the highest number of attending members on the daily meeting with more than 50 people in the room. As you can see from the picture the room is pretty filled up, and in addition there were many members sitting behind me as well.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Volunteering in Minami Sanriku: Forestry

5:16:00 PM
One of the hardest volunteer activities I participated in with United Earth was the 林業 (forestry) group. One of the local farmers wants to open up a restaurant by the side of the main road, and as there were a lot of trees on the lot our job has been to cut down the trees and clean up the area.
Carrying the trunks is quite a tough job. In addition to the heavy weight the burning sun also make this quite a demanding activity. But at least by the end of the day you feel you've really earned to hear "お疲れ様です" when you return to the HQ.. ^^
Here are some pictures taken of the forestry group:
The area we are working on
Trunks
In action!
Cooperating with carrying the trunks
Luckily we also have a machine to move the heaviest trunks

Related blogposts


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Volunteering in Minami Sanriku: The Seaweed Factory

7:54:00 PM
Unlike in most western countries the Japanese often have seaweed as a common ingredients in their daily meals.
As Minami Sanriku still lacks people who can work at the local businesses, one of the tasks of United Earth volunteers is to help out with manual labour. One of these businesses is a factory processing seaweed, and I've had the opportunity to join the 昆布-team three times during my stay in Minami Sanriku.
My second time working here one of the lady in charge took me aside in the lunch break an showed me a beautiful pouch in many different colors which she told me had been made from boat flags. When I asked her how much she wanted for it she told me it was a gift. She said that they all really appreciated our help, and asked me to 頑張って下さい ("work hard"). It impresses me how the people here who have lost so much still they keep their heads up high and keep on working for the recovery of their city.



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Saturday, August 4, 2012

ユナイテッド・アースからのアルバイト募集!

10:35:00 PM
震災から1年5ヵ月が経ちます。 
宮城県では先日もニュースになりましたが、 
大人の人口より仕事の量が上回る状況となり、 
人口が減った被災沿岸部では雇用が余るという問題が起きています。 
つまり、各企業が採用の募集をしても人が揃わない!という状況です。 
すでに多くの企業や復興事業の中で働く人材が足りない!という致命的な課題が出てきています。 
 もちろん、Uターンで人が戻って来てくれることが理想ですが、それを待っていても何も始まりません。 
 そこで、「Iターン復興応援ボラバイトPJ」が発足しました。 
それは、若い世代を中心に復興の応援になりつつ現地でバイトが出来て、 
いわゆるリゾートバイトのイメージに近い、
寮や宿泊地ありでの1ヵ月~半年、 希望次第では1年とかの期間限定のバイトになります。 
 産業活動に対していつまでも無償のボランティアがサポートし続けるということは、 
ある一定の時期を過ぎると、いろんな見え方も出てきたり、 
自立ある復興の観点からもいずれは無くなっていくことになります。 
そこで、ぜひ!過去に現地で活動に参加頂いた皆さんの中で、 
「お金を頂ける形でそれが求められているなら、
1~3ヵ月なら私行けます!」 とか 「ちょうど大学休学しまして…」 「ちょうど仕事やめまして…」 「そろそろまた長期で行きたいけどなーーーと思ってて…」 などという方や、そういった知り合いが友人に親戚にいるわー! という方はぜひ!お声がけ下さい。
本当に求めています。 
実は、先にニーズにお応えすべく、少し前から長期ボラメンバーを筆頭に 
まずは夜だけですが、ホテルの裏方の仕事に3~4名入っています。 
しかし現在、毎日満室のホテル観洋ですので、まだまだ手が回っていません。 
また観洋だけでなく、
南三陸町のガレキの処分事業を運営されている清水建設さんと連携して 
そちらにも派遣社員としてすでに4名(地元の人も含む)ほど働いてもらっています。 
以下、募集内容をお知らせしますので、ご覧いただき、条件が合う方がいましたら是非とも!
ご連絡ください。 
************** 
≪ホテル観洋≫ 
●仕事:(準社員)フロント、事務、お客様応対、配膳(アルバイト)布団敷き、下膳、プール監視員など 
●年齢:18歳以上~ 
●雇用形態:準社員派遣、アルバイト派遣 
●給与:準社員時給1000円~、バイト時給700円~ ※役割や努力によって昇給の可能性もあり 
※準社員は社保も検討あり ※22時以降は時給25%UP 
●時間帯:早番(早朝から午前中)・昼間(昼食前から夕方)・遅番(夕方から0時前後まで) 
============== 
≪清水建設:戸倉事務所内業務≫ 
●仕事①:保健師(作業員のケアと保険管理など) 
※保健師か看護師の資格者が基本 
●年齢:問わず 
●雇用形態:派遣社員(社保あり) 
●給与:時給1500円~ 
●期間:3ヵ月~半年以上が理想 
●時間:8:30~17:10(実働7時間45分) 
:::::::::::: 
●仕事②:CADオペレーター 
※オートCADが使える方 
●年齢:問わず 
●雇用形態:派遣社員(社保あり) 
●給与:1200円~ 
●期間:3ヵ月~半年以上が理想 
●時間:8:30~17:10(実働7時間45分) 
*************  
 以上が現在募集している案件です。 
少しでも興味のある方は、エイタやふっしーに直接電話でもいいし、 
まはunitedearth5@gmail.comにメールでも大丈夫です(´▽`)/ よろしくお願いします☆ 
 ■南三陸町復興応援プロジェクト
HP■ http://united-earth.jp/minamisanriku/  






Volunteering in Minami Sanriku and Kesenuma: An Introduction

10:21:00 PM
Minami Sanriku (南三陸) and Kesennuma (気仙沼) are two cities in the northern part of Japan's main island Honshū, and two of many areas that were stricken by the tsunamis provoked by the Tōhoku earthquake March 11th 2011.

Looking at the beautiful landscape with the trees, mountains and the sea in perfect harmony it is hard to imagine that just a year ago such a horrible disaster actually happened here. But by the woods there is a huge pile of wrecked cars, and when you look at the ground you'll notice that it is covered by houseless foundations, foundations overgrown by weeds. That's when you begin to realize the scale of the damages in the area.
Kesennuma
The foundations of a house used to grow flowers
After the Tōhoku earthquake some newspapers referred to Minami Sanriku as the city that was washed away, and one year after the community both here and in other parts of Tōhoku still struggles with restoring their city back to how it was before the disaster. Some people still live in temporary houses, and a lot of people have left the area for good. There is a lack of manpower in the area, and although there are a large number of available jobs they still struggle with finding enough people who wants to work there. This is where us volunteers comes in, and we help the locals with various types of work in their community.

It is said that it may take as many as ten years for these areas to recover from the disaster last year. Although international media no longer pays a lot of attention to the situation in Tōhoku there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, and the local community really appreciate the work done by volunteers.

(My trip to Tōhoku was made possible thanks to support from the Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation!)
A ship next to the road in Kesennuma. And no, it was not placed there on purpose..

Related blogposts


About Me

Adventures ofAnette


A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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