TOMODACHI Tohoku Regional Event Highlights Triple Disaster Devestation

The TOMODACHI Tohoku regional event “Think about Tohoku” was held on August 11. Organized by USJC Associate and TOMODACHI Alumni Regional Representative of the Tohoku Region Rimpei Takahashi (General Incorporated Association MACHITOKO), the event featured a series of enlightening programs highlighting the significance of disaster preparedness and memories of the Great East Japan Earthquake’s devastation.

A standout portion was the Disaster Prevention Program at Okawa Elementary School where firsthand narratives deeply impacted attendees. One participant shared, “Hearing directly from those involved, I felt the enormity of the damage and the feelings of the bereaved families.” The speaker, Mr. Toshiro Sato, offered a dual perspective both as a teacher and a relative of the earthquake victims, and his message resonated deeply. He emphasized that we “must think with children at the center.”

The sentiment of cherishing every moment was palpable. As one attendee put it, “Okawa Elementary School was once a place of daily life… it’s not surprising if it suddenly becomes extraordinary. That’s why I cherish every moment now.”

Participants also enjoyed a meetup barbeque in Onagawa Town, which offered an experience distinct from urban life. Executive Director of the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) Mark Ikeno attended and delivered remarks; those remarks illustrated a renewed commitment to do more to provide opportunities for alumni in the Tohoku region. 

The event attracted 25 participants. Mr. Takahashi noted that the event “had alumni from not just Miyagi Prefecture, but from around the world.”

In closing remarks, Rimpei Takahashi reflected on the community’s growth: “The bonds we formed as students have only deepened as working adults. The TOMODACHI community is poised to become a significant force. Our next steps are to nurture these connections and turn our vision for TOMODACHI’s future into reality.”

Through shared experiences, the TOMODACHI community continues to build resilient bonds, fostering deeper understanding and connection. 

To view more photos from the event, click here.