Relief supplies and assistance come in many shapes and forms. Volunteer manpower is still desperately required to assist with cleaning up affected areas, creating shelters, and distributing supplies, amongst other things. However, it is also possible to be of great assistance from afar, by checking through this blog what is required, and sending necessary goods directly, or by offering support through providing knowledge and information. Team Sake is also grateful for financial donations which allow them to go into the field etc, but have set up this blog in a way which enables people to take direct action to ensure the survivors get fast and efficient help. If you can participate in Team Sake activities in any way, please email them to liase and confirm what you can provide. Team Sake was set up in March 2011 and is a 100% volunteer organisation. It is open to all, and it's easy to find a way to help in your own way, so please join us. There is still much to be done to rebuild in the affected regions.
Examples of Villagers' Needs
This man's insurance certificate has been washed away and he doesn't know what to do...
This lady has become separated from her family. She wants life to be the way it was before...
This man wants to revive his fishing business, but wonders whether people will still buy his fish...
Examples of Forms of Support
Ms. X in Fukuoka can assist: "As an insurance agent, this made me anxious. After all, people are worried because the insurance papers for their boats and/or homes were washed away. The least I can do is send out information to help them."
A village in Shizuoka: I live in a town in Shizuoka. We're discussing forming a relationship with a town in the Sanriku region and supporting them. Our community decided to help because of the Team Sake blog.
Mother's Club in Tokyo: We've always eaten wakame kelp from the Sanriku area. While us mothers were chatting together, we decided to send relief supplies to those in need, accompanied by letters from the children.
A statement we need to repeat
The affected area is too big. Even simply the length of the coastline as the crow flies is longer than the distance from Tokyo to Osaka (about 500km), and there are a number of peninsulas.
The victims and their circumstances are extremely varied, so what's required is completely different depending on the time, place and person. Our reports are place-specific, so do not always apply to other affected areas. Something that was necessary somewhere a week earlier may no longer be needed now. Please take this into account.
What we've come to learn through our activities
At first, when we connected with other private and public organizations, or when there was an existing organization that had similar ideas, we announced that we would operate under their auspices, but now we are encountering highly urgent circumstances, and we are placing priority on hearing from the people in the communities we have met, and acting quickly to help them directly.
As we operate in the cracks where large organizations are unable to help, we consider our work to be something that can't be formulated. We try to share as much as we can in the short time we have, then depart. Then ee return again, just like salmon, hence our name, Team Sake, which means "Salmon".
Without engaging in polite dialogue, we can't determine what is truly needed. Simply asking, "Is there anything you need?" fails to go deep enough. There are still innumerable small communities that we are concerned about, but rather than make too many brief stops, we decided to make more time for discussion. Spending time listening, and understanding, allows us to be effective in providing the care and assistance that is required.
Our relationships cannot be built on the idea of "the more you receive, the more you give." We strictly avoid being served tea by victims or staying in their homes. However, as our visits increase, we come to realise that caring for each other in a mutually beneficial way, and developing a relationship of gratitude, is all the more important in small communities.
While supporting the immediate relief-supply needs of small communities affected by the triple disaster on 11 March, 2011, Team Sake is actively building up relationships and creating networks. In the process, as we see the vision of the future drawn from the villagers' hopes and ideas, we send it throughout the world on the internet, recruiting further assistance, to help bring these visions closer to realization. Providing such things as personnel (volunteer manpower), commodities, technical skills, and information, many people coming from across the nation, and indeed the globe, are able to use this website to assist survivors in whichever ways they themselves choose. This process in itself is considered to be the most encouraging and sustainable way of offering both short-term and long-term support for the villagers.