The second project was paid for by a combination of individuals and organizations — Iwao Nishiumi, Minoru Iketani, Eri Sato, Emily Downey, Natsuko Lobo, Naoko Fukai, Ken Fujioka, Jacinta Hin, Marcus Yeung, Stephen Gill, Tracey Thredgold, Ashley Thredgold, Max Thredgold, Sam Woodgate, Rika Meynell, Sainsbury’s Leamington Spa Staff, and King Henry VIII’s Sixth Form all paid for walls that the Sasakis needed for their wakame processing facility.
The walls were delivered just a couple of minutes before I happened to pop over to say hi to them. They were thrilled. Mr Sasaki was talking to the delivery guys outside while I went inside with Mrs Sasaki. She showed me the invoice and apologized because it was a little higher than they had thought (¥170,000 instead of ¥140,000) but I had ¥150,000 for them so gave them that — she was very touched and visibly moved. We all had a coffee together and I started making a move to leave. We tried to work whether I could find a couple of hours on my last day here where I could help hammer in a few nails with Mr Sasaki, but in the meantime we had a huge hug.
Suddenly Mrs Sasaki started sobbing — really big sobs that broke my heart and actually still bring me to tears thinking about it. Her husband stroked her arm to comfort her and she apologized for being so emotional but by that time I was crying myself so we ended up having a laugh together, although I had to pull over once I’d driven off but was out of their eyesight. It was truly lovely to be able to help them and I hope that one day, all of those people who paid for those walls, get the chance to give Mrs Sasaki a hug too.