Miso was established in order to support the rebuilding and repair of badly affected schools and educational institutions in the Miyagi area and help the students of Miyagi get back to studying.MISO was certified as a NPO on the 31st of October, 2011.
On March 11th 2011, Japan was hit by a triple disaster of an unprecedented scale. The massive M 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami caused immeasurable damage and loss to a large area of the East Japan coast and has left the wonderful people of our beloved Miyagi with a mountain of challenges. Hundreds of schools have been damaged or destroyed and many people have lost family and friends, their homes, jobs and belongings. MISO was established by an energetic and enthusiastic group of 12 international educationalists whom have had the privilege and pleasure of living and working in the beautiful prefecture of Miyagi. MISO is a determined group passionately wishing to make a difference in our beloved Japan at a time when it’s most needed.
Miso is a group in which all members love and have a strong bond with Miyagi. We started supporting some educational Organisations employing non-Japanese people, who live in Japan and have had damage or lost their jobs because of the earthquake. Miso has been working to help the local city and to provide accurate information to non-Japanese people in Japan and abroad. Moreover we intend to help in not only restoring Miyagi but also in making an even more attractive prefecture than the one before this particular fearful disaster occurred.
Recently, MISO has been focusing on broadening the horizons of the children of Miyagi by providing high quality and fun English lessons at our many schools in Miyagi (see http://www.carleikaiwaschool.com/). MISO has also been promoting international exchange through various multi-cultural events, such as a Halloween party, spring and summer camps and an imoni jamboree. MISO also sends volunteers to various institutes in Miyagi, such as to the Miyagi School for the Visually Impaired for a Christmas Party, to promote a brighter future full of hope.
Each year, kids from all over Miyagi are invited to dress up in a costume and join in the ghoulish fun with approximately 100 kids of all ages usual participating in MISO’s annual Halloween Party,Activities and games include Halloween craft, Dress the Mummy, Build the Skeleton and a haunted house. Kids go around with the foreign staff on a Trick or Treat and get candy and the best costumes get a prize. Costumes range from pretty princesses to scary ghosts, the foreign staff’s costumes being particularly frightening!!!
This is an annual NPO MISO event in which an average of 200 kids and adults gather in Kasenuma to enjoy inter-cultural exchange in the autumn sunshine. Families get together from all over Miyagi and join approximately 16 staff from six to eight countries to participate in various sports such as cricket, American football or traditional British sports day activities such as egg and spoon race, sack race, three-legged race and water balloon toss. After working up an appetite the participants enjoy the Tohoku imoni (big soup) with the luxury of three kinds of imoni. Soy sauce flavor such as is traditional in Yamagata, miso flavor - traditional in Miyagi and Borscht, a tomato and beet flavoured broth originating from Russia.
Every summer MISO takes a group of 40 to 50 kids to summer camp. In the past, popular venues have included the Refresh Plaza in Rifu Grande 21, Yakurai Cottages and the B & G Center in Matsuyama.The usual theme of the camp is World Sports and Games and sports played have included indoor curling, petanque, lacrosse and park golf. At the Grande venue, a mini soccer world cup is held on the World Cup Miyagi Stadium. At the B & G Center the kids enjoy a bonfire and cook their own curry dinner. In the evening the kids can have fun playing board games from other countries and, in the case of Yakurai Cottages, jump into a hot spring before lights out.
In recent years, NPO MISO has taken many kids to British Hills for the Spring Camp. British Hills is like a small British village located in the Fukushima mountains. At British Hills, the kids are able to experience British food and culture without needing a passport. They have a tour of the manor house, take part in Easter Craft and learn British table manners. They are also encouraged to use English with the MISO staff and the multi-cultural staff at the venue. The kids can wear Harry Potter style robes and eat British-style food in the refectory, which conjures up images of Hogwart’s school of Witchcraft and Wizardry..
MISO X SANTA
Christmas is “the season to be jolly” and also “a time for giving” so, with these things in mind, MISO decided to contact Mr. Claus early and organize a special collaboration to cheer up the children of Miyagi.Armed with donated presents and cards and aided by MISO’s Rudolph, SANTA visited the following schools and was greeted by an array of beaming faces that would melt the heart.
Trick and Treat Salon,
Kano Elementary School,
Okuma Nursery School,
Sora Mame Kids Group
MISO would like to thank SANTA from the bottom of our hearts for helping MISO to make some of the kids’ dreams come true!
Provision of Relief Goods to Sendai City PTA Festival
On November 6th, the Sendai City PTA Recovery Support Festival was held in Kotodai Koen Park. The Saiwaicho Junior High School PTA organized a Superball and Prize Draw Booth and MISO provided goods as prizes.Despite raining on the day, approximately 500 kids visited the booth. The steady progress on the road to recovery being made by Sendai was reflected in the happy children's' wonderful smiles.MISO hopes to continue to positively participate in events such as the Sendai City PTA Festival and make active contributions to the ongoing Miyagi Prefecture recovery process.
Small Hands, Big Power
Captain Kamo is one third of the charismatic performing arts group Sora Tobu Crayon. Captain Kamo, or Kamo-sensei as he is more commonly known at his kindergarten, where he is principal, and his crew tour all over Sendai on the weekends entertaining families with their inimitable style and humour. After being approached by MISO President Julian Crocker to collaborate on the Small hands, Big Power Project, he graciously accepted without hesitation.
The idea behind the project was for the CEP children to join their small hands together with MISO representative Crocker and Captain Kamo, in order to make a present which would remind the people in worse-off areas of Miyagi that they are not alone and not to give up. On June 6th, using their tiny handprints, several Small Hands, Big Power posters were made and packaged together with a specially made CD by Sora Tobu Crayon called Chiisana Te (Small Hands). So far MISO has been able to hand deliver these presents, along with the intended feelings of strength and love, to the following places:
Yawata Hanazono Kindergarten
Okuma Elementary School
Arahama Elementary School
Watari Elementary School
Nagatoro Elementary School
Okuma-so Elderly Daycare Center
Visits for Hope
Visit 1 Tagajo Refuge shelters
On May 22nd MISO joined forces with the Tagajo International Relations Association to visit three refuge shelters in Tagajo city, the Sanno Community Center, the Tagajo Cultural Center and the Tagajo City Gymnasium. No less than 10 MISO members performed a variety of songs, dances and comedy whilst drinking Ceylon tea donated by Inoka from Sri Lanka. Inoka, Irina from Mongolia and Carl from Cornwall all dressed up in national costume. The highlights of the afternoon were Irina’s Mongolian folk singing, Inoka’s Indian dance, Helen and Slavic (Ukraine) performing the Japanese koto and Mark (Germany) and Leo (America/Japan) hosting a manzai-style quiz about Germany
Many thanks for the co-operation of the wonderful Tagajo International Exchange Association and to all those who helped bring light relief and a little hope to the more than 200 evacuees present that day.
Visit 2 Yawata Hanazono Kindergarten
On 11th July, 4 MISO members had the privilege of visiting Yawata Hanazono Kindergarten in Tagajo city. The tsunami flooded the first floor of the main building and many kids still remain in evacuation shelters exactly four months on from that horrific day. MISO members were welcomed by beaming faces and enjoyed performing some English children’s songs, an English kami shibai (Japanese story-telling) and an Indian dance. At the end, the MISO members went around to each class and gave each student a present donated by the children of the Fukuoka International School which had each been diligently wrapped in English newspaper by MISO member Yukino Crocker.
Watari Elementary English Programme - Revival Project
Watari town, located on the Southern Miyagi coastline approximately 40 km from Sendai, was severely affected by the March 11th earthquake and ensuing tsunami. Damage was particularly severe in two of the town’s six elementary schools, so much so that they have been rendered unusable for the foreseeable future. The children in these schools are having to travel to other schools in the area for their lessons. Amidst these unstable conditions, it was deemed necessary to postpone the English Programme until September 2011.
On hearing this, and knowing how important English is to the schools, especially as English has just become a compulsory subject at elementary school 5th and 6th grade level in 2011, MISO organized the Watari Elementary English Programme - Revival Project. Between June 13th and July 15th, two MISO teachers made a total of 18 visits to four of the elementary schools in Watari, much to the delight of students and teachers alike. The students revelled in once again having the opportunity to communicate with foreign teachers and to express themselves in English.
Many of the children are still in shelters or have moved into temporary homes and are still facing various everyday problems. Hopefully, MISO has been able to contribute to the recovery process by providing continuity to the compulsory Elementary School English Programme, whilst also bringing a smile back to the precious kids’ faces.
Carl Eikaiwa Kodomoen Nursery School – Repairs
Despite the structure of Carl Eikaiwa Kodomoen (CEK) nursery school, located in Wakabayashi ward in Sendai, mercifully surviving in tact, extensive damage was incurred during the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th. On hearing this, MISO trustee Ed Gdula immediately set about establishing the Hockerill Anglo-European College Japan Disaster Appeal with the aim of raising funds to ensure that the CEK children could return to their normal routine as soon as possible. Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the Anglo-European College PTA and fellow participants of the Appeal, enough funds were raised to enable the replacement of 14 large windows, as well as the repair of numerous walls and ceilings and the upstairs toilet. Thankfully, on March 26th 2011 the 6 year olds were all able to successfully graduate from CEK as planned.
Excess funds have continued to flow in to the Japan Disaster Appeal and these have contributed towards the establishment of MISO, thus ensuring continual support for school and education in the Miyagi area for the foreseeable future..