News 2012/10/1

Refreshment Tours for Fukushima Kids

 
 

The Seikatsu Club organized Refreshment Tours for children and their parents from Fukushima during the summer holidays. The Seikatsu Club also organized similar tours last summer. The children and parents were invited to nine regions of Japan and a total of 148 people participated in the tours. (Posted on October 1, 2012)

After the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, we live our daily lives in fear of being exposed to radiation. This is especially true for children and their parents in Fukushima.

The Seikatsu Club therefore organized "Refreshment Tours" during the summer holidays hoping to help the Fukushima residents relieve their anxiety about radiation. Members of the Seikatsu Club hosted 148 people from 56 families in nine regions from Hokkaido to Hyogo. "It was my best memory of the summer," many children wrote in their letters to the Seikatsu Club. One of their parents also wrote, "When I saw my kids playing outside, I felt the tension leaving my heart." Another parent wrote, "Someone told me we suffer for their electricity. When I heard it, I felt my hardened heart melt."

Refreshment Tours Spread Rapidly

The Seikatsu Club received the good news that a consumers' co-operative in Korea is also ready to accept refreshment tours. The Seikatsu Club Consumers' Co-operative Union is planning to discuss the plan at its committee for reconstruction assistance in order to sort out the practicalities.

The expenditure for the Refreshment Tours, including the travel costs, was partially covered by the second round of donations that the members of the Seikatsu Club gave to the survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Ms Hiromi Ohtsuyama sent thank-you letters to the Seikatsu Clubs in different regions. The following is an excerpt from such letters.

Thank you very much for accepting refreshment tours from the Seikatsu Club Fukushima.

Kids get excited at the beach, run around with insect nets while cicadas are shrilling, walk among the trees while cooling off in a breeze from the surface of water…This was the second summer in Fukushima when it was not possible to see these scenes. On top of that, kids and their parents are seriously wondering whether they should drink the milk in their school lunches, take swimming lessons at school, and whether schools should abolish their rule to cap the time students spend out on the field to three hours, including physical education and club activities. They hesitate to express their anxieties to their teachers and friends.

Under these circumstances, members of the Seikatsu Club Fukushima who participated in the Refreshment Tours and left Fukushima for a while say, "I played as much as I wanted without being afraid of radiation," and "I told people about how I feel." We especially appreciate the fact that we had a chance to talk straightforwardly about radiation.

Again, the Seikatsu Club Fukushima appreciates the courtesy which everyone has extended to me in a variety of ways.

Refreshment Tours 2012

Seikatsu Club Tour Dates Families Adults Children Participants
Saitama Kids in the Wild August2-5 12 3 12 15
Hokkaido Cool! July 24
-August 3
9 9 20 29
Shizuoka Tour in Izu July 30
-August 2
5 6 8 14
Kyoto Free Time in Kyoto July 31
-August 4
5 7 9 16
Yamanashi Kiyosato Highland and 5 Lakes around  Mt. Fuji July 30
-August 2
2 3 4 7
Toshi-Seikatsu, S coop Osaka Kobe and Awaji July 31
-August 2
6 6 8 14
Chiba Summer in Boso August 9-11 7 10 12 22
Kanagawa Let’s Play in the Pool! August 19-21 7 8 12 20
Tokyo Let’s Play in Kyodo Village September 15-17 3 5 6 11
total     56 57 91 148

Feedback from children (excerpt)

  • Thank you very much. For me, the four days passed as quick as lightning.
  • Volunteers led us and said "Come on and join us!" It was fun to play with them.
  • This year we could not use our swimming pool at school. I enjoyed swimming in a pool during the tour."
  • I had fun at the beach.

 

Feedback from parents (excerpt)

  • It was the first time for me in a long time to see my boy enjoy himself. When I saw him playing energetically outside, I felt my hardened heart melt.
  • I realized the importance of our normal daily life because we have been forced to live in an abnormal situation.
  • Everyone listened to me compassionately and I could not stop crying. I was accepted as I was and told "you can cry as much as you want." Thank you very much for your kindness.
  • I asked my host family why they decided to host our visit. "We are friends because we eat the same consumer materials from the Seikatsu Club," they answered. I was happy that I joined the Seikatsu Club.