In my last update I shared our excitement of finally finding an avenue to give our attention to. We were hoping to help Funakoshi Elementary school during it’s temporary stage, before re-building which is expected to take 3 years.My sister-in-law, Kazuko has been helping me in making connections and has found it difficult to get me an appointment with the principal there. However, the elementary school where our nieces, Maiko and Yuki are alumni, Yamada Kita Elementary school has been easier for her to approach. The building is still standing and usable however, the grounds and play equipment was destroyed. Also, many of the children who attend Yamada Kita Elementary have lost their homes and some relatives.
While we do not wish to give up on helping Funakoshi Elementary, we must respect the time they need to re-plan the next three years. Therefore, in the mean time, we will approach Yamada Kita Elementary to see where they may need some help. Kazuko informs me that they would most likely like some new outdoor play equipment for the children.
I will visit Yamada this weekend and hopefully meet with the principal. After finding out their needs and the estimated cost, our campaign will begin. Many of you have already donated generously and we appreciate that. Emi will be planning some events and fund-raisers in Las Vegas to coincide with the one year anniversary in March. If you know of any businesses or individuals that would be interested in donating or participating by donating gift certificates for our raffle, please contact Emi ([email protected]) or myself. Details of these events will follow soon.
We have other ideas planned as mention in the last post, involving sister schools, donations and visits from Tokyo volunteers, however there appears to be some resistance in receiving this kind of intention. Part of the resistance stems from the strict scheduling that Japanese schools abide by, making it difficult to suggest a day or even a class-time involving visitors and an outside project or event. The other reason for the resistance is cultural. Anyone who has ever given a Japanese person a gift knows that they will be re-paid for that gift with another gift. If you go to a wedding and give money there is a scale of what value of gift you will receive in return. Western culture dictates a thank you note, but not so here. The Japanese culture makes it difficult to just be on the receiving end. Most humans have trouble with this also, but it is pronounced in Japan.
Nonetheless, we will try to find a balance of giving and respecting. Please watch for next weeks post on how things went in Yamada.