Miyako Exchange Program
August 1 – 4, 2019
Fifteen students participated in our annual visit to Miyako, Iwate as part of our Miyako Exchange Program. This program began after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, which badly affected the Miyako area.
After arriving in Miyako, we had lunch while enjoying the beautiful view of Jodogahama, a series of rock formations designated an area of national scenic beauty. Later we visited a year-round mountain dairy farm, where the students heard some powerful stories. Following this, the students participated in a disaster prevention tour given by local volunteers and viewed the new 14.7m sea wall as well as tsunami footage taken at the Taro Kanko Hotel.
As in previous years, we had a meaningful time interacting with local people, for example discussions with residents of “disaster restoration public housing” and chatting with students from Miyako-kita High School. Together they discussed reconstruction and prepared poster presentations while considering what the government’s slogan of “Reconstruction Olympics” (the Olympics symbolizing the reconstruction of the Tohoku area) really means.
We visited a disaster exhibition space named “Voyager” at Taro Daiichi Junior High School. The students spoke with a janitor who told them about disaster prevention wisdom handed down from generation to generation. Later the students experienced wakame seaweed harvesting with the Taro fishing cooperative. In the afternoon, we toured Miyako with the NPO “Miyakko Base”. The students could interact with a variety of local people.
We held an event at the hotel poolside together with students from our junior college and university. The students prepared shaved ice, cotton candy, and various games and activities. Both the students and the local kids enjoyed the event a lot!