Messages form Kids

Testimony of participants

Taira Daiichi Municipal Junior High School, Second Year, Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture,
Aoi Takahashi
Participate 1st project 7/27/2011~8/5/2011

From the time before the earthquake disaster I have always held an interest in going abroad because I like English, and I have thought that I would once like to travel overseas.
However, on March 11 the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred, and due to the nuclear accident caused by the great earthquake, the town Tomioka where I was living was declared a security zone, and so I had to seek refuge. Because of that, I couldn’t think about traveling abroad.
At that time, the Miyagi Bikki Organization held recruitment for overseas training at my junior high school. When I saw this I immediately wrote an essay, and as a result of that, luckily I was able to go to Hawaii.
When I actually went to Hawaii, I found that it was rich in nature and the climate was a dry heat so it was very comfortable spending time there.
There were three things that were especially fun.
The first was archery and rock climbing at Camp Erdman. When I tried archery, at first I wasn’t able to hit the mark, but as I kept trying eventually I was able to hit it. As for rock climbing, the wall was really tall, and until I climbed it I was scared, but when I reached the top I was able to feel a sense of accomplishment.
The second was the campfire at night. We toasted marshmallows and made s’mores. Because I have never tried it up until now it was so delicious. I thought it’s just what you’d expect from Hawaii.
The third was a dodge ball tournament that we had at a Japanese school called Rainbow Gakuen and eating lunch together. I was surprised by the fact that even a girl from Hawaii knew about the music group “Arashi.”
From here on, if there’s a prefecture or country that’s ravaged by a disaster like the current prefecture of Fukushima, I want to participate as a volunteer and return the favor for what I have received from this project.

Minato Municipal Junior High School, Second Year, Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture,
Akari Hoshi
Participate 1st project 7/27/2011~8/5/2011

I learned something important during the ten days of this project.
At first, I didn’t speak to anyone, and I didn’t have the courage to be able to speak to anyone. Later on when I asked everyone about their impressions of my former self, they said I was really gloomy and that it was gard to get involved with me. However, I began talking with my roommate and the wall in my heart had disappeared.
I learned that in anything I do, if I have even a little bit of courage I can still continue to move forward. I was also able to learn many other things.
I had a great experience.

Arahama Municipal Junior High School, Second Year, Watari, Miyagi Prefecture,
Fu Kikuchi
Participate 1st project 7/27/2011~8/5/2011

Ever since March 11
our town has experienced many frightening days
that we couldn’t possibly imagine a bright future ahead of us.
However, I participated in this project,
met many wonderful people, and received encouragement.
I was able to meet the people who support our future,
as well as the people who are supporting us, and so I reconsidered the future.
The thought occured to me that we’re the ones who will take hold of the future.
Even if no one else will,
I want to make this town shine bright.
Certainly it’s a long way from now, but if we continue little by little,
I believe that with each step we can restore our town to it’s former glory or even make it better than before.
I want to continue to live this day-to-day.
I once again felt the warmth of the people of Hawaii during those ten days.

■Guardian: Mother
I am the mother of Fu Kikuchi from the town of Watari who participated in the Hawaii study tour.
After we returned home, immediately
my daughter began telling stories of her trip to Hawaii.
While scrolling through each of her more than 300 photos
she talked about each day as she looked back on them.
Fu is the mood maker of our home.
Ever since our first day at the evacuation center she has been doing her best from morning till evening as she volunteered to help with cleaning the bathrooms and playing with the little children.
Even on the day our house in Arahama was demolished, in place of me, who hesitated to go to our town covered with all that debris, it was Fu who went with her father to do some final organizing.
Without shedding a single tear since the earthquake disaster
Fu has always had a bright disposition, and from the time she was a child because of the fact that she always endured and gave more than her best,
when it was decided that she will be going to Hawaii,
I had hoped that she would be able to loosen up and
be herself in Hawaii.
When Fu returned home, as I had hoped
it seems like she released many of the things that were on her mind and became refreshed, and all of her reserved feelings as well as her body loosened up that it seems like she has matured in both mind and body.
From around the time Fu was in elementary school she has always dreamed of being a child caregiver. Even at the evacuation center she appreciated how the child caregivers who are town personnel devotedly provided their support to the center, and so she too used to help out.
When she finished the Hawaii study tour
she said she wants to get her childcare certification and work as something in which she could be of help to many people.
She says she doesn’t know what kind of jobs are out there, but she wants to go more out into the world and make herself useful to others.
I think that she certainly came to this decision as she met and interacted with many people on this study tour.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what Fu will become from here on.
I want her to believe in her own future and continue to move forward without being defeated by this earthquake disaster.
From here on, I hope Fu can continue to move forward with real energy.
I appreciate everyone at the Bikki Organization for having given my daughter the gradual time to be able to face the many valuable experiences and sadness.
Thank you so much.

Jounan Municipal Junior High School, First Year, Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture,
Kaito Sato
Participate 1st project 7/27/2011~8/5/2011

On my trip to Hawaii, I was able to make a lot of fun memories as well as make more new friends. Those were the things I that were fun and I was happy about.
The reason is because there wasn’t really anything fun to do for four and a half months after the earthquake disaster. However, when I went to Hawaii there were three or four, no, many more fun things to do.
For example, the first day on the airplane was fun. This was the first time I left Japan and boarded a plane to go abroad. When I looked outside from the window of the plane the ocean looked really nice. On July 28, I saw some famous sites in Hawaii. They too were awesome. I also walked on the beaches of Hawaii. The water in Hawaii is much warmer than the water in Oyakaigan, Kesennuma. It was the moment when I felt that I’m really overseas. I also went to the Doutor Coffee farm and drank some delicious Doutor coffee. The coffee was really good.
Also, the thing that I’m the most happy about is the fact that I made many new friends. Each person was someone who experienced the earthquake disaster on March 11 and lost one thing or another. On the first day, I really didn’t want to talk about the earthquake disaster, but towards the last day I became comfortable talking about it.
I also became good friends with people from a foreign country. I have never been to a foreign country before, and so of course, I didn’t have any friends overseas, but I was able to become good friends with people from the Bridge Club as well as with people from Rainbow Gakuen. I would never have been able to do this had I not gone to Hawaii.
If I wasn’t able to go to Hawaii, things probably wouldn’t remain the same as the time before I went to Hawaii, but there weren’t really any enjoyable things to do. I think that even after five or six months after the earthquake disaster things would’ve continued to drag on. Also, I wouldn’t have been able to meet people from abroad as well as the people from the Rainbow for Japan Kids Project.
Therefore, I’m glad that I was able to go to Hawaii this time. There were many very friendly people from abroad. We Japanese should watch and learn from this. Also, the people I met in Hawaii are the people who will the future from here on in the same era. Dozens of years later I hope to be able to continue to build good relations and a great era without forgetting this time. No, I will continue to do so.
Thank you so much to Muneyuki Sato, everyone at the Miyagi Bikki Organization, and Kanaya san for having done the preparations to go to Hawaii this time. Also, thank you so much to everyone involved with the Rainbow for Japan Kids Project. Let’s all get together again.
I want to make use of this experience and never lose sight of myself no matter what hardships may come my way, and now I believe that I would like to become a person who will continue to live on with hope.

Osano Municipal Elementary School, Sixth Year, Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture
Oshikiri Seiya
Participate 3rd project 3/18/2012~3/27/2012

On March 18, 2012, It was a dream for me to have had arrived in Hawaii. I was extremely tired from the long journey from Kamaishi, but when I saw “this unknown tree” at my destination, my fatigue went away all at once. I went to the Island of Hawaii, learned about traditional Hawaiian culture, made ukuleles, and especially was able to socialize with people from Hawaii in the Bridge Club on the seventh day. In this way, it was a fulfilling ten days.
During the ten days, thanks to the support of many people, I was able to make memories of a lifetime. I thought that wow, there are actually people here in the world who care this much about us. I would like to thank so many people beginning with Kanaya san, Murai san, Tsurumi san and Takahashi san, as well as the friends who I went together with.

■Guardian: Michiko Oshikiri (Mother)
At the start I was filled with anxiety as I wondered if my son would really be ok being away from his parents for ten days and also in a foreign country, but after he returned home my tanned son’s expressions were filled with happiness.
After the earthquake disaster, he couldn’t even look at the ocean, and so what I worried about most as a parent were what he would think upon seeing the ocean in Hawaii, and if he will ever feel like going into the ocean. When he returned home, I was really happy to hear him say that he likes the ocean. Also, while listening to the songs of the concert that he recorded on his “Bloggie” countless times at home, it seemed like he strongly wanted to meet everyone again.
When they were recruiting for the third project, my son told me “I definitely want to go,” and I honestly thought that it might be impossible, but I feel as if I was taught from him that dreams are meant to come true. Thank you so much.

Yamoto Daiichi Municipal Junior High School, Second Year, Higashi-matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture
Haruka Hashimoto
Participate 3rd project 3/18/2012~3/27/2012

In the beginning I was extremely nervous. I sat on the bus by myself and didn’t have much opportunities to talk. When I was feeling depressed and did not what to do from now, we went through introducing each other, and I became able to talk with the people in the group. Even after I arrived in Hawaii, I talked with other people and had a great time.
The scenery and each thing we did was a first experience for me, the pretty ocean, the people, the buildings, and even the staff who helped with ukulele making were kind and interesting; I had a really great time. It felt good playing tennis in the morning at camp. We also socialized with the local junior high school, and they treated us to ramen. Seeing the starry sky at night is my best memory!!! With the support of the people from Nadeshiko Japan we were able to have a smooth time shopping.
In 8 nights and 10 days, I experienced various things, and I was able to mature. It was also a precious time which provided me with the motivation to make friends. First, I would like to thank the people of tje Bikki Organization. Thank you for planning this and inviting us. Because of this, family and teachers have helped me to make various preparations. I am where I am now because of all of the many people who have supported me. This time, I was able to go to Hawaii and have a wonderful experience, and I’ve come to be able to think positively about anything and everything.

■Guardian: Toshiharu Hashimoto (Father)
When I heard that my daughter was greeted very cheerfully, the people were kind, amd that she could really feel the warmth of the people, and that the views of the ocean and the mountains depict a wonderful country that is different from Japan, I feel that her perspective has broadened because of the fact that she went to a foreign country, and that she feels excited.
Thank you so much for the digital camera, the shopping card, the T-shirt, the ukulele making, the many products and souvenir gifts. Sometimes she plays the ukulele and our family becomes happy as we feel the Hawaiian vibe. Because it’s hand made there’s no other one like it in the world. In addition, it’s signed by the craftsman, and so I think it’s a treasure of a lifetime.
I would be happy if she had the opportunity to meet the people she became friends with in Hawaii and Japan again. Thank you so much to everyone at the administrative offices in Japan and Hawaii for having allowrd my daughter to participate in this Hawaii educational trip by the Bikki Organization. I appreciate it.

Tamaura Municipal Junior High School, Second Year, Iwanuma, Miyagi Prefecture
Momoka Onodera
Participate 3rd project 3/18/2012~3/27/2012

I was filled with anxiety at the fact that I would be going to Hawaii for the first time. However, when I think about it now, it’s strange to the extent that I have no idea where those feelings of anxiety went. I was able to make many friends, and I was able to talk about various things with Tsurumi san and Kelcy in Hawaii. Everyone cried together, laughed together and helped each other out more than I had thought, and we asked for and gave each other advice; It was truly a feeling of youth!
Now I’m saving money, and I will definitely go to Hawaii with that money. The feeling of love for Hawaii has grown in me that much. Hawaii, to me, is my second hometown. I really love Hawaii. Mahalo to everyone who planned this for us, and also to the people of Hawaii, my dad, my mom, and everyone with whom I went to Hawaii together!

■Kyoko Onodera (Mother)
During her childhood Momoka has never done anything by herself. I wonder when she, who would never separate from her mother’s side, grew up and became a strong child who would go by herself to Hawaii…?
Last year, we as a family went positively from a life with many anxieties despite being uneasy. From that kind of life, Momoka has received warm words and deeds from many people, and she has really matured into a strong woman. I believe that Hawaii was a gift to Momoka from people all over the world.
The March 11 incident was a really difficult thing, but I feel that I’m watching you Momoka as “it’s important that we find the light in life and continue to live on.” Also, I hope that I can go to Hawaii. Thank you so much to the people of the Miyagibikki Organization for this time.

Koizumi Municipal Junior High School First Year, Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture
Kento Kikukawa
Participate 4th project 7/15/2012~7/24/2012

Thank you for allowing me to participate in this past Rainbow Kids Project.
By taking part in the Rainbow Kids Project I was able to experience many things, and I had a great time. There, all of the programs were fun, but swimming in the ocean was especially fun because it was the first time I swam in the ocean since the earthquake disaster, and it felt really good. The people of Hawaii treated us very kindly and it was easy for us to become friends.
Lastly, thank you so much to Kanaya-san, Takahashi-san, and Kagawa-san for taking care of us.

■Guardian: Mr. Kikukawa (Father)
I am the father of Kento Kikukawa who participated in the 4th Hawaii Rainbow Kids Program. When my son departed from Ichinoseki Station on July 15, I was filled with both anticipation and uneasiness as five of them, including children from Kesennuma, left.
Back at home, everyday I would talk with my family while looking at the itinerary about what he would be doing today, or I would look at the affiliated organization of this program’s Facebook page. Looking at the pictures, I saw that the people in the program have received a large welcoming from everyone in Hawaii. I also saw that they become friends with and get to experience Hawaii while interacting with the local people who are of the same generation.
When I went to pick him up at Ichinoseki Station, despite being tired from the long journey back, he held a look of satisfaction and glimmer in his eyes. During the car ride home, he constantly spoke of a number of his experiences one after another and played his ukulele. It seems as if the sights of Hawaii’s vivid nature and scenery as well as its sounds were a great experience for my son which he will remember for the rest of his life.
Also, thank you so much to all of the sponsors beginning with the Japan-America Society of Hawaii and Miyagi prefecture’s Bikki Organization as well as to the local volunteers who helped to make this wonderful program possible for the children of the disaster-stricken areas.
The area of Koizumi in the town of Motoyoshi in Kesennuma City where Kento lives has the highest rate of damage to land and housing at 70 percent in all of Kesennuma. Most of the houses in the area were washed away. Even I, a community center personnel, have been in charge of the evacuation shelter since the earthquake disaster until the ending of September of last year. For about two months we were forced to live without water and electricity, and I truly felt the preciousness of living a normal, casual lifestyle. It is all due to the efforts of Koizumi, the self-defense forces, the policemen of many other prefectures, firefighters, municipal officials and the many volunteers that we are still here today. However, even now there are many people who still live in temporary housing.
The Rainbow for Japan Kids Project was like a dream in the middle of all those hard times. I want Kento not to simply brag about having gone to Hawaii, but I want him to tell his local friends and junior high school students about going to Hawaii and having made many friends and being cared for by many people.
I offer my sincerest gratitude to everyone who have helped to plan this kind of program. Also, thank you to Kagawa-san for your having escorted us from Ichinoseki Station.

Otsuchi Municipal Junior High School Third Year, Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture
Koya Sasaki
Participate 4th project 7/15/2012~7/24/2012

First of all, the thing I felt first was “the warmth of the people.” The people of Hawaii are all kind, and they talk to us in a friendly manner. Even if we couldn’t communicate with words, they firmly taught us through easy-to-understand gestures until we understood. They were nothing but kind, good people, among other things. In addition, everyone was always smiling. It was also very easy for me to talk to them.
Also, I felt that the world is an amazing place. Here I was living in a small town in Japan, and then I came to Hawaii and I learned that the people are diverse with different languages, rules and manners. I felt that there is still much more out there to explore. I became extremely excited. I want to come to Hawaii again. Lastly, there were a lot people with whom I got along well.

■Guardian: Ms. Rika Sasaki (Mother)
Thank you so much for all of your kindness and hospitality. Having been touched by everyone’s warmth, my son returned home with brighter smiles on his face than usual. He made a lot of friends, experienced a lot of things and heard many stories, and I believe that they have expanded his hopes and dreams for the future as he returned home in a positive frame of mind.
He showed me all of the fun pictures they took and told me how much he appreciates all of the people who have cared for him. Also, he is filled with many fun memories that he definitely wants to go back and meet everyone . I’m very happy that he was able to have a fulfilling time and experience something that he will never forget for the rest of his life.
He is currently actively involved in his student council and club activities. He looks as if he is brightly shining as he works towards his goals. I believe that this is something he acquired as he interacted with many different people. Thank you.

Fukushima University Junior High School division
First Year, Kai Uriu
Participate 5th project 12/23/2012~12/31/2012

In Hawaii, ever since the earthquake disaster I was able to experience many “firsts.” The ocean, the refreshing air…I was touched by the splendor of Hawaii’s nature, and it reminded me of Fukushima’s nature before the earthquake disaster. This visit to Hawaii taught me of the Fukushima inside of me that I was unaware of before.
Also, the people I met in Hawaii treated us so much like family that the word “kind” is not enough to describe them. Therefore, I came to love Hawaii, and before I knew it tears overflowed when I was filled with the feeling of not wanting to leave.
Ever since the earthquake disaster, I often hear the word “bond.” However, I have never strongly felt any bonds as I have this time. I want to be connected to the people I met in Hawaii as well as the friends I went together with from now on.
Lastly, from this visit, I will keep in mind that there was not only support from the people of Hawaii but support from many other people as well, and from now on I want to improve myself not only in my studies and sports but as a person so that I will become able to support others.
I had a great time in Hawaii. Thank you for your kindness.
I hope that I will be able to see you again forever.
I love Hawaii. I love the people in Hawaii.

■Guardian: Mika Uriu (Mother)
After my son returned home the first thing he said was “I’m really back home. I wanna go to Hawaii again.” My son, who usually doesn’t speak, much told me in excitement all about his precious experiences of Hawaii’s nature and culture as well as the various places he visited. However, the thing he spoke of the most was about the people he met and the people that took care of him as well as all of the new friends he made through the activities together.He also mentioned that he especially seemed to be touched by the kindness of the people of Hawaii, and that he too wants to be like them. Because of the people of Hawaii, the people involved in this project as well as the people who fundraised and volunteered to make this project a success, my son was able to learn the qualities of being a person that I wanted to teach him the most as a parent. Also, it seems that these precious experiences have become memories that he will not be able to forget for the the rest of his life. From now on I want him to be connected to everyone. Also, I would like to thank everyone who was in involved with this project from the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much.

Ueda Municipal Junior High School, Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture
Second Year, Maki Ogawa
Participate 5th project 12/23/2012~12/31/2012

I came to Hawaii for the 5th Rainbow for Japan Kids (RFJK) project, and I was able to meet and interact with many people. Also, I was able to feel the people’s warmth called “the aloha spirit.”
The people of Hawaii were all very kind and warm-hearted people. The word “aloha” holds many meanings such as being used as a greeting as well as being used to say thank you. I wish we could spread the aloha spirit in Japan, where the people’s warmth is slowly starting to disappear.
From now on, when I think that things are difficult such as taking an exam or club activities, at those times, I want to remember the aloha spirit and the people I met in Hawaii as well as the friends that I went together with, and I want to do my best to stand up and face any hardship. And when I become an adult, I want to return to Hawaii. Thank you so much for this project.

■Guardian: Kayoko Ogawa (Mother)
Thank you so much for allowing my daughter to participate in this wonderful project.
From the time it was decided that she would participate, family and relatives were all involved as the exciting preparations began, and we welcomed the day of her departure filled with anticipation rather than anxiety.
However, an hour before her departure I called my daughter and for some reason I was comfortable with her when she tearfully told me “I’m scared.”
During her trip, we were able to see all of the places she visited on facebook, and so it was as if even we were participating. My daughter met and was supported by many people which has made her more mature before returning home.
It seems as though my daughter has decided that one day again, when she meets everyone she wants to be herself who is not embarrassed, and therefore, she’ll do her best in everything she can do now.
I am grateful to all of the the people who were involved with this project.
Thank you so much.

Daini Municipal Junior High School, Miyako, Iwate Prefecture
Second Year, Sakuya Sugawara
Participate 5th project 12/23/2012~12/31/2012

From this project, I have experienced many “firsts” such as going on trip without my family, riding in an airplane, and going abroad. Everything was a first for me, and I looked forward to the day of my departure with both excitement and anxiety. However, because the friends with whom I would spend the ten days together, the people of Hawaii as well as most of the people I met were friendly, my anxiety disappeared before I knew it. Before, I had no dream. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I had no set goals. But, this time I went to Hawaii and I was able to find a goal. My current goal is to go to college in Hawaii. Therefore, first I set the small goal of not allowing my grades to drop. Then I will get a score of more than 400 points on each test, and I will stay within the top ten ranking of my grade.
This time I went to Hawaii with eleven friends, and I’m very glad that I was able to go together with them. If even one person were different it wouldn’t have been the same, and even now I can’t even think about how it would’ve been with any other members.
On this trip I met many people, and I’ve received so many things from them that I can’t thank them enough. Those ten days have become a “treasure” within me, and I think that I will never forget it.
Thank you so much to everyone who was involved with this project.

■Guardian: Kasuko Sugawara (Mother)
It was the first time living without my daughter at home for more than ten days. Throughout the time the earthquake disaster occurred as well as the life of refuge that followed, I was saved by the surprisingly positive and cheerful children, and I feel that my daughter having had this experience of Hawaii has taught me the importance of “helping one another” and “creating bonds with others.”
Thank you to everyone who has taken care of my daughter.

Nishigo Daiichi Municipal Junior High School, Nishigo, Fukushima Prefecture
First Year, Yurina Ichijo
Participate 6th project 3/25/2013~4/2/2013

The most memorabe things to me about this Rainbow for Japan Kids Project were the warmth of the people of Hawaii and Hawaii’s nature and culture which are different from Japan. The people of Hawaii warmly welcomed us, and I was touched by their warmth. Also, while camping and interacting, I was able to become good friends with them.
In Hawaii there are some active volcanoes, and the people of Hawaii showed us things that we could only see in Hawaii such as lava, which you can’t you see back in Tohoku where we live, and the hair of the volcano goddess Pele. Also, there are many trees and flowers left in Hawaii, and when I saw that, I thought that Hawaii is really different from Japan.
Lastly, I want to tell all of my friends and family in Japan about how warm the hearts of the people of Hawaii are as well as about the cultural differences between Japan and Hawaii that I learned in Hawaii.

■Guardian: Yukie Ichijo (Mother)
When my daughter said “I want to go to Hawaii” and received the application form from school, I was honestly surprised. I felt uneasy about her being separated from us on her first trip abroad. At those times, I would remember my daughter’s future dreams. “Although it’s still vague, I want to do something that involves English,” she said. I think going to Hawaii for this project might be a good chance for her to get some direct exposure to English.
When my daughter returned from Hawaii, her whole face was full of smiles. I truly glad that I let her go. Her words overflow with confidence, and she came back with even more confidence than before she went. I believe that this experience abroad has certainly helped my daughter to grow as an individual.
Thank you so much to the staff for taking care of my daughter and providing her with a great experience.

Kamatsuta Municipal Junior High School, Iwaizumi, Iwate Prefecture
Second Year, Yu Sasaki
Participate 6th project 3/25/2013~4/2/2013

This time I participated in the Rainbow for Japan Kids project. At first, I was worried about many things such as “Will I be able to make any friends?” and “I can’t speak English so can I become friends with the local people?” However, when I met everyone, we immediately began talking and playing with each other, and I was able to make good friends. At camp, I did several activities such archery and rock climbing, all while interacting with the local people; I had a really great time. Also, I was worried if I would be able to get used to living in Hawaii, but due to the support of the people of Bikki Organization and the people of Hawaii, I was able to get used to it faster than I thought, and I once again truly felt the warmth of the hearts of the people.
In Hawaii, I saw a rainbow twice and a volcano which seemed like we wouldn’t be able to see due to the fog. I also saw the stars, miracles happened many times, and I was able to have a wonderful life; I was really happy. Also, when I got near the ocean to ride a canoe, I happened to see a turtle. Everyday was like a dream. On Big Island, I was able to deepen my knowledge as I learned about Hawaii’s nature, culture, and history. I came to understand the people of Hawaii’s feelings about nature, and I think that we shouldn’t forget to take advantage of nature. The people at the ukulele factory were also really kind and interesting people.
The ten days were over really quickly, and when I returned to Japan, it was like I returned to reality because everyday was really productive and I met many people; my experience in Hawaii was wonderful. I want to go to Japan again with the same members. From now on, I want to take advantage of the many experiences I had and the things I learned in Hawaii. Thank you so much for the ten days.

■Guardian: Michiyo Sasaki (Mother)
Thank you so much for all you have done, and for allowing my daughter to participate in this Hawaii Rainbow for Japan Kids project. I was a little uneasy about my daughter going on the long, ten-day trip, but I’m really glad to have let her gone. I appreciate the people of Hawaii for having welcomed my daughter with bright smiles.
I believe that the local people have touched many hearts through the interactions and experiences of the children. Having taken pictures with the camera she received, she recalled each scene and told me about them. Seeing that, everyone in our family became happy. I’m really glad that she was touched by “the aloha spirit.”
Being touched by the kindness and the warmth of the people, I heard that Hawaii respects nature more. I want us to respect nature as well. Also, I hope to convey “the aloha spirit” someday. Thank you so much for a valuable, dream-like experience. I appreciate all of the people who were involved with this project.

Okawa Municipal Junior High School, Ishimaki, Miyagi Prefecture
Second Year, Amane Ukitsu
Participate 6th project 3/25/2013~4/2/2013

Looking back at the 6th Hawaii Rainbow for Japan Kids project, the thing I felt the most was “warmth.” Hawaii’s warm climate is also warm, but I mean that I was deeply moved by the warmth of the people I met.
Going to Hawaii for this project was my first trip abroad as well as being apart from my family for ten days, and in the midst of all of my worries, I received support from many people starting with the Bikki Organization, and because of that I was able to return home safely.
During eight of the days in Hawaii, I experienced so many things that you can’t experience in Japan such as the majestic nature, the history that has been passed down for generations, and interacting with the local people who welcomed us with open arms.
The thing that was the most impressionable to me was when we went near Mt. Kilauea. After we heard the folk tale about the volcano goddess Pele, everyone got a glimpse of the starlit sky. I was really moved by that moment.
This time in Hawaii, I feel that I have found my future dream. I can’t convey all of my many memories, but I hope I can take advantahe of my next step. Thank you so much for such a valuable experience!!

■Guardian: Miwae Ukitsu (Mother)
After my daughter returned from Hawaii, I saw on her face for the first time since the earthquake disaster a smile that came from her heart. When she returned home, I was very happy that she came back with a smile, and the first thing she said as she entered was “That was fun.”
She happily told me all about Hawaii’s majestic nature, Mt. Kilauea, the beautiful beaches, and comminicating with the Japanese staff as well as with the local staff and children through gestures. Hearing about the constellations at the astronomical observatory, it seems that she found out what she wants to do apart from her future dream. Thank you so much for allowing my daughter to participate in the Rainbow for Japan Kids project. She’s looking forward to being able to meet everyone again.