Eight youth from Hawaii ages 13-18 visited northern Japan recently to reconnect with Japanese kids who visited Hawaii under the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) sponsored Rainbow for Japan Kids (RFJK) project. JASH has been bringing Japanese children directly affected by the 3/11 disaster to Hawaii for rest, recuperation, and physical/psychological relief.
A major goal of this project is to create lasting friendships with Hawaii’s kids through camp stays and outdoor activities surrounded by Hawaii’s natural beauty. Under a grant from TOMODACHI, JASH sent eight kids from Hawaii to Japan to reconnect with the Japanese kids. Over five days, Hawaii’s kids attended a reunion with the Japanese kids at a sports camp near Sendai, visited a school in Onagawa City which sent kids to Hawaii, and engaged in a volunteer activity helping to clear an ocean-side park of weeds and trash to make it useable again. Brock Honda, one of the participants, spoke about his experience, saying “I just can’t get over how positive the kids I saw were despite all they’ve been through. It makes me want to be more positive in everything I do.” Brock’s comments were reflective of those from other participants. They also expressed a desire to be more caring for others and that their experiences made them more self-confident.