Activity location


Our trainees never got particularly depressed or anything. It did seem like they took pride in Sakuranbo. Although the building was gone, our trainees had the strong determination to keep up their spirits. Even though the workshop had physically disappeared from their lives, you know… I think they were still so proud of it and felt a strong sense of belonging. You might feel the same way if your company went bankrupt. They had a dream for Sakuranbo to be rebuilt in the same place one day.

Searching for a new workshop location

What was the next step after you decided to move forward with rebuilding?

We couldn’t build the workshop right away, so we figured we should just find a place we could all gather first.

Because we had no more workshop, we had to suspend our trainees’ activities for early April.

And we would visit our trainees’ homes, or everyone would gather in the park. We staff sometimes had meetings on the benches outside the supermarket.

We had to find a temporary place to get together, so we started looking around, but our problem was we didn’t have the funds to rent a place.

We petitioned the city government, and for a short period from around April 17th to the end of May, we were able to borrow one room in the disabled welfare center. We used the mornings to get everyone together for activities, and in the afternoons we searched for new locations and went around greeting people.

By April, our business partner from Arahama had already resumed their business. That company had also suffered major damages from the tsunami, but even in those circumstances they reached out to us, so we staff and trainees volunteered to gather up the company’s equipment that had been washed away by the tsunami and was covered in mud, and wash it with a pressure washer.

After that we also started preparing for activities at the workshop, wondering if maybe we could make crafts or find something else to do. We were really grateful we were able to continue our relationship with our business partners even though our workshop was destroyed.

Thoughts for the future

We’re still operating in the prefab building, so I think we’ll only really be able to say we’ve recovered once we have a headquarters, or you know, a proper building. I think the completion of that building in spring 2019 will be a crossroads for us.

But the completion of that building won’t be the goal. We’ll still have to keep going one step at a time. We have to keep treasuring not only the building itself, but also the great assets we have, including the people we’ve met along the way.

The JDF volunteers who came at the time of the disaster said they would keep coming for ten years, and I think that’s incredible. So it’s important not to forget the warmth of the people who always take care of us, too.

I truly admire their deep commitment, as I don’t think I could go to the same length for others if I were them. I’m still in over my head with what I’m dealing with now, but one day I also want to commit myself to helping others like they’ve helped us.

We’ve been influenced by all these people, and we are thankful for all the experiences we’ve had that have led us in a good direction.