I am organising a trip for Tohoku families to go to Tokyo Disneyland in the spring of 2013 — if you would like to help make this happen please let me know! So far I have enough sponsors and hosts to enable twelve Tohoku families to go to Disneyland. It costs about ¥49,000 for a family of four to travel between Tohoku and Tokyo and to spend one day at Disneyland. You can help by either sponsoring a family or hosting a family in your home ….. or both! Why not get together with your friends and raise the money to sponsor a family to take the trip of a lifetime?
The Tohoku families will arrive in Tokyo in 2013 on March 30th, go to Disneyland on March 31st, and return home on April 1st. I hope that host families will enjoy the experience of having Tohoku guests in their homes, and I hope that any children of the host families will enjoy spending time with the Tohoku children. Host families (with or without children!) are very welcome to join their guests at Disneyland too!
HOST FAMILIES need to be willing to open their home to a family from Oshika, providing dinner for them on the night they arrive and a place for them to sleep. The next day they will head off to Disneyland (you can go too!), along with the other Oshika and Tokyo families. The following morning you need to be able to provide breakfast, before the Oshika families head back to Tohoku.
SPONSORS need to provide a maximum of ¥49,000 per family. This will pay for a family of four to travel from Oshika to Tokyo and back, and also go to Disneyland …. depending on how many people are within the family and how many people actually participate.
Here’s why I’m doing this ……
Every morning on Oshika, the sounds of the schoolchildren from Ohara Elementary School wake me, as they get off the school bus outside the community centre where I stay. The Principal stands by the bus door, greeting every single child as they step off the bus and run up the little hill to the school entrance. I love watching them each morning. If I’m a little late rising, then instead I hear them in their garden just outside the window in the room where I sleep. I like to open the curtains and watch them tend to the vegetables.
I do this with a mixture of sadness and happiness. I am sad because I know that half of these students come from the nearby town of Yagawa, which was completely wiped out by the tsunami. The children of Yagawa Elementary School huddled together on top of a small hill only a few feet higher than their school, which was submerged by the incoming ocean. They now attend Ohara.
I am sad because lots of the children on Oshika have left the peninsula and moved into the city — so many children here have lost their playmates as well as their playgrounds. The ones that remain now live in tiny temporary housing units, crammed in and with neighbours right next door. There is very little opportunity to run about or be noisy the way that kids naturally are.
But watching the children also makes me happy because so many of them survived, their teachers greet them with big smiles every day, and they are able to laugh and have fun during the times they are together with their (smaller) group of friends.
I’d really like to give the parents and children together the chance to get away from their new homes, just for a couple of days, and to run about together, laughing and shouting as loud as they can. And I have one particular place in mind for that ….. Disneyland.
Please contact me by email at if you'd like to help.