In May 2012 I put a call out to the various women’s groups I know, asking if they would be interested supporting a group of fisherwomen in Tohoku by raising money to purchase new outfits to replace the ones they had lost. We raised ¥230,000, which bought 23 outfits.
I drove over to Tsudachi to meet with Mika, who has coordinated the group, and is quite an inspiration to the people of this area. One by one the women turned up at what used to be Mika’s house, right by the sea, ranging in age from their twenties to their seventies. I explained that the outfits were a gift from the international women’s community and that the names of the sponsors were embroidered on the front. I told them that everybody was thinking about them and hoped that the outfits would bring them a bit of encouragement.
We then opened up the boxes of outfits and there were lots of comments about how cute the outfits were. Fishermen working nearby walked over to see what all the fuss was about, and when it was discovered that two of the women couldn’t make it this morning, we roped in two of the guys for the photos, who thoroughly enjoyed themselves trying on the outfits and posing with the women.
The outfits looked massive to me, but they came with belts, and Mika told me they cut off the bottoms to make them the perfect length. So not to worry!
After our little photo shoot, it was great to watch the women walk off in their different directions — they will certainly be noticed on Oshika. Everybody wears blue or yellow outfits here, and the pink ones really stand out!
So a VERY big thank you to all the people who contributed to the outfits:
- Chris Foskett and IBC Publishing
- Nuala Connolly and the Association of Women in Finance
- Ginny Tapley Takemori and the International Women’s Network in Tsukuba
- Stephanie Kawai and Tokyo Mothers Group
- FEW members: Tracey Northcott, Sarah Achilles, Carolyn Hashimoto, Mary Fidler, Petra Wels, Genvieve Sawtelle, Marianne Slivkova, Aly Parker, Yumiko Nakaue, Judith Fisher, Kayo Takamichi, Bethan Kushida, Sarah Furuya, Marcy Wilder.
- Emma Fushimi and Married in Japan
- Leza Lowitz and Sun & Moon Yoga
- Angela Jeffs & Aki