Ibukijuku News No.14 Feb.2017

IBUKIJUKU NEWS No.14   February 2017   Ibukijuku http://ibukijuku.org

Aroma Hand Treatment – Aromacraft @ Convent

We have a friend in Toyama who remembers us on the eleventh day every month, and sends us some nice goods without fail. This friend, named Ms. S, came all the way to visit us in Tokyo the other day, and trained us to give aroma hand treatment with the aroma she brought with her.
Those who participated in this project included some Sisters, one 102 years of age at the top of the list, our college students and the volunteer center members. It was really a very relaxing time. The participants prepared a parcel for the Earthquake victims’ village in Fukushima. The 102 year old Sister is extremely alert, and has beautiful hand writing. Her heartfelt letter enclosed in the parcel was full of her love and happiness to be thus connected with the recipients.

Wow! Shinagawa!

Shinagawa Ward organizes every year on February 11 an event named “Wow, Shinagawa! Comfortable Life and Contribution to Society”. The students of Seisen Women’s College were made to feel free and comfortable to join in it.
In our last issue we gave you the report of the Silk Thread Pumpkin which was our invention. This time we invented three new kinds of cookies: Dreaming Pumpkins, Totto Hall and Dreaming Shinagawa Cookies.
At the end of the event, there was a voting for the most popular activity, and the winner of the “Wow! Shinagawa!” prize was announced. Can you guess the result? “Seisen Women’s College Volunteer Learning Center!” It is needless to say that the students were both pleased and surprised.
During the past year we planned together how to utilize the vegetables of Shinagawa grown by the handicapped people there, and we succeeded in selling them in wider areas. This effort of ours must have been recognized by the people of Shinagawa. At the same time, we are aware how much our students owe the Shinagawa people for their warm understanding.
Next to our booth, there were lots of beautiful marine products being sold. They must have come from the sea in the north, e.g. Fukushima and/or Sendai area, as the officials of Shinagawa have been involved in volunteer work.

The Ninth Fukushima Forum


On February 18, “Fukushima Citizens’ Forum” was held under the auspices of the
Medical Society of Fukushima, Fukushima Myojo Welfare School and the authority of
Fukushima City, at Fukushima Terusa Hall.

The keynote address was given by Dr. Hiroshi Kainuma, author of The Beginners’
Course of Fukushima Studies, The First Fukushima Atomic Power Plants Scrapped,
and other books. As I had already read both of these books of his, I was all the
more fascinated in his talk. He convinced us of the importance of the discovery of the real problem and the forming of a cycle of people who work together. Dr. Kainuma made us see that it is not enough to stand close to the powerless people but to deal with the solution objectively.

According to Dr. Kainuma’s analysis, the problem of Fukushima becomes complicated because of its two storied structure.

From the distance, you see Fukushima Prefecture as a two storied house, but as you approach the house, you see the first floor, which is the site of the abolished reactor. If the first floor collapses, the second floor naturally falls, while if the first floor is solid, the second floor will be automatically safe. People mix the question of two different floors, and the image of “that horrible time” is stabilized. Thus what objective figures tell us is subjectively carried on by spoken words. Dr. Kainuma stressed that the distinction should clearly be made.

In the symposium which followed, medical doctors told us how they are coping with the actual situation, and the health of the victims. Pediatricians stressed the importance of informing young parents about the medical knowledge of radiation, while they are busily involved in the treatment of the sick children. They also warned us to make a clear distinction between science and politics.
They work for the present children as well as for the future ones.

New Book: Crawling Up from the Atomic Power Plant


Here is a new book by Shin and Tazuko Okawara. This is a moving book of a puppet show which introduces organic farming, dramatizing what really happens in an atomic power accident. In the book the authors say, “Yes, I run after the sun. I pray for the rain. I wait for the wind. Living without harming the earth will be our final healing of this wounded planet.”
You will certainly be pleased with the book, which is¥1400 plus tax. You may order it through Sister Nogami, 090-1832-7185.

The concern of Pope Francis in his Laudato Si’ is now our own problem. The problem of environment is the beginning of a more serious crisis. The more we read the Pope’s words, the more we realize that we have to pray more and to be more serious about the way we live every day. The book Crawling Up from the Atomic Power Plant introduced above will also be a living example of the Pope’s urge. Now, one more recommendation. If you have not read Paul McCartin’s Genesis for Today, (Gendaiban Soseiki) 2016, be sure to add it to your reading list. He is a Columban missionary living in Tokyo, who wrote a very readable history of creation in Japanese, in the light of Laudato Si’, for Japanese youth.

Sr. Yukie Nogami

Ibuki-juku Communication No.13, 2017

The Ibuki-juku Communication No.13, 2017
Dear Readers,

How did you start the New Year, 2017? What are your new dreams?
As for myself, I visited the sea shore area on January 19 through 21. I felt I had not been there for a long time. There I visited the Visitation Sisters who had chosen to live with the people in Naraha Machi, to which the government has been urging the former residents to return. They are the Sisters who, as good neighbors, visit those who returned to Naraha to live in the temporary houses.

楢葉聖堂 修道院

(chapel)                                              (convent)
The frequent visitors are not just us. There are wild boars walking around freely in the area where 90 % of the residents left. Let us be careful when walking around in the town!
“Wild boars have come out to join the citizens of the residential area near the nuclear reactors. They freely visit the area, dig the ground, and go into houses from the windows seeking for the left-over food. The people also experience the danger of running into boars while driving on streets. The human refugees living there are asking the local government to control these animals.”(Quoted from Fukushima Min’yu, January 24, 2017.)

In October 2016, the rice produced in Naraha was shipped, after an interval of six years.

There are frequent express trains of Joban Line to Iwaki from Tokyo Station, and buses also leave every hour for Iwaki. This sounds like favorable information. However, getting from Iwaki to Naraha is the problem. Naraha Station is the last stop of Joban Line coming from Tokyo, and there are trains barely once every hour between Iwaki and Naraha. Moreover, the rail is cut off from there on.

竜田駅 竜田駅②

(Naraha Station. The last stop from Tokyo)
(People coming out the train with flowers in hand)

The registered number of residents of Naraha Machi at the end of December 2016 was 2,819 families which consist of 7,282 persons. On January 4, 2017, those who had stayed in the little town for at least four days were 767. This means that only 10.4% of the registered residents had returned home. The breakdown of these people according to their age is as follows.
0 to 4:6, 5 to 9:4, 10 to 14:9, 15 to 19:11, 20 to 42:14, 25 to 29: 8,
30 to 34:9, 35 to 39:14, 40 to 44:26, 45 to 49:25, 50 to 54:48
55 to 59:81, 60 to 64:99, 65 to 69:124, 70 to 74:78, 75 to 79:84
80 to 84:77, 85 to 89:30, 90 to 94:12, 95 to 99:7,100 to 104:1
(quoted from Naraha Machi home page)

The preparation work for creating a living environment for the citizens is steadily advancing. There is a junior high school just a few minutes’ walk from the Sisters’ convent, which is being prepared for opening again next spring. About 80 children will start coming to this school as of April, 2017.


Naraha Elementary and Middle Schools to be open in April

National Highway 6 runs through the town, passing near the Convent, leading to this school. Trucks are seen all day long carrying various things such as industrial waste, from Hirono area to Fukushima Highway.


National Road No. 6. In the back is the Power Plant of Hirono. Cars are heading for Fukushima.

From Naraha I drove toward Minamisoma through the National Highway No. 6, which I had not done for some time.

Tomioka Station had disappeared, but people were working at great speed, and the new station building was almost ready. “Oh, no, this couldn’t be true!” I cried out. The breakwater was of course there, at the same place as before.


富岡駅③       富岡駅

The railway is being joined speedily. What is on the right of the rail way looks like the station building. On the left is a small house being repaired.

Since the National Road No. 6 runs through the “forbidden area,”
there is still a fence to prevent people from going in.
帰還困難柵                帰還困難

(Along National Road 6)                        (Ukedo area)

Fixing my eyes upon the dosage manifested on my little machine in the
car, I saw 2.6 mSv, while the sign on the high way was 2.83. I took
the picture of it with my camera.

1F国6号から②       1F横国6号から

(Picture 12 & 13: National Road from the car)

You cannot enter Yoru no Mori, Ono or Futaba Station from Tomioka. In spite of my experience of driving in this area for six years, I learned how to get to Namie Station for the first time!

浪江商店街      浪江駅

( Namie Machi shopping arcade)         (Namie Station)

For more than a year and a half I had not come to the elementary school in Ukedo. The school has not changed since then. People were sorting out debris close to the school, and an incinerator was at work in the same area. Side by side to that, newly made tetras were lined up.


( Ukedo Elementary School)

( The school lunch room kept the same as before)
(A fork is still there…)  請戸小1 請戸小横瓦礫選別( Sorting out debris right next to

the school)

請戸瓦礫焼却炉    請戸瓦礫焼却炉①

(Incinerator for debris in Ukedo, beyond the tetra.    Incinerator)

原町の浪江住民の復興住宅    白鳥@小高

(New but temporary houses had been built for the inhabitants of Haranomachi.)
( In Odaka, many swans were resting their wings quietly.)

In many of the newly built houses, communities are being reorganized, and many people have to meet new neighbors. We hope not many of them face the situation of losing friends and ending their lives in solitude.

This year again we would like to continue our humble communication steadily, to join the information as to who, where, what and how.
The “Kinshi pumpkin jam” which we advertised before will be ready for sale in the fall. Please look forward to the result!

Thank you very much, and God bless you!

Sister Yukie Nogami, ACI

The Ibuki Communication No. 8 February 2016

The Dreaming Pumpkin


Our collaboration with the organic farming specialists in Fukushima started with our first encounter with Mr. Okawara. It started with the extreme fright with our first experience with the nuclear accident of the First Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. It was the beginning of a crisis in our life, the threat of our very life, the life of the Earth, the life of the Ocean… all of these immense phases of existence, strange enough, were seeking loving individual relationship with each one of us. We were beginning to take our first steps toward this immense nature, trying first to apologize to it for our terrible pride, our presumption as if we could take over the control of nature.

All of a sudden, consumers began to show fear only at the sight of the indication “Product of Fukushima”, because they feel their life is threatened. This causes uneasiness in those who produce such threatening food. Some of these people committed suicide, as they felt unable to recover from their psychological damage. Only those who have experienced similar suffering could understand, but we have tried to imagine what it must be like.

It was through his experience of planting and watching and harvesting of the “Golden Thread Pumpkins” that Mr. Okawara let us share with him. For Mr. Okawara and his people, those pumpkins had been just a vegetable, and it had never occurred to them that one could bake cakes with them. So, there we were with the new idea, the debut of a confectionary.

Seisen Women’s University, which is situated in Shinagawa, had already made a treaty with the government of Shinagawa Ward offering nourishing menus as fair trade. Included in the device was the invention of the Golden Thread Pumpkin Cake, which became extremely popular, to the satisfaction of Seisen students who can now help financially and nutritionally the disaster victims of Fukushima. Now we are witnessing more and more collaboration among various units of activities. The event called the “Happier Life and Unity of Local Power” on the weekend of Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14 added special color and life by the participation of more than a hundred local groups. At its opening ceremony, the greeting by the Mayor of Shinagawa was followed by an extremely lively Seisen Girls’ cheering presentation. The fifth anniversary of the East Japan Great Earthquake is thus being commemorated in many creative ways. The threat of nuclear damage is still there, and so are our prayers and mutual encouragement.


The Ibuki Communication

Hello, Readers!

This is a rather informal communication with our friends who are interested in our activities. It will be informal in many ways, for example, you will not be receiving the newsletter periodically and faithfully, and the style or length will also be irregular. However, you will hopefully catch our spirit and the intention. As Ibuki means the spirit, we dare to talk to you freely like the Holy Spirit.


We go back in our history a little bit, but let me tell you about our last volunteer trip to Fukushima, on November 27-28, 2015. On November 27 p.m., we visited Mr. and Mrs. W. who are involved in the organic cultivation of Egoma, a kind of perilla which produces oil, originally coming from China and India. Since it was taken up as a topic in a TV program, Egoma suddenly became popular. The couple told us how hard they have to work for the whole course of its growth.

Then in the evening, i.e. after 5 p.m., we went over to the Village Office of Katsurao, and visited the public servants after their day of duty to give those who wanted “aroma hand treatment”. When we try to offer this kind of service during their working hours, the public servants refuse to receive the service. However, outside their working hours, we were welcomed. It was worthwhile to give them a little act of consolation. They were certainly physically very tired. This alone already convinced us that the problem of Fukushima was not finished. It was indeed a very meaningful evening.The more geographically distant from Fukushima, the less capable we are of understanding its problems.


The next day we went to help the work in Ms. S’s little shop for Christmas decorations. We were glad to see that this little space of Esperi is well utilized as an inter-cultural space for young people of the area to mix with each other. Even having someone explain what the Christmas decorations mean could become a great opportunity for cultural exchange.


A good number of visitors from all over Japan come to see the site of the Earthquake and Tsunami; numerous young people come to observe the actual daily life of the victims of the Nuclear Accident…. All these opportunities serve as a place of rich learning.

We are looking forward to the future development of these humble steps. May the Lord bless your steps as well as ours as we proceed into the unknown but attractive path.

Sister Yukie Nogami, ACI