TOMODACHI – Aloha Leadership Program Delegates Travel to Tohoku

TALP Delegates at Honolulu International Airport: (back row, l – r: JASH Educational Assistant David Nakanishi, JASH Educational Director Liz Barrera, Sarah Tamashiro, chaperone Daniel Hwang, Malakai Shiraki, Logan Takeda, JASH President Lenny Yajima; front row, l – r: Seri Nakamura, Moana Ueda and Shayna Kim)

After one month of training workshops and other events, JASH sent six delegates (ages 12 – 22) and one volunteer chaperone, Daniel Hwang, to the Tohoku region as part of the TOMODACHI – Aloha Leadership Program (TALP) on July 7, 2015. The purpose of this trip is for the Hawaii delegates to reconnect with Japanese students who had participated (or will participate) in the Rainbow for Japan Kids (RFJK) program in Hawaii.

The RFJK program offers Japanese children—some of who were left homeless and even parent-less by the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011—a chance to relax and recuperate, in the hopes that they will bring fonder memories back to their homes. These memories are forged by one of the program’s primary goals, which is to create lasting friendships with Hawaii delegates through a two-day camp and outdoor activities that immerse Japanese kids in Hawaii’s natural beauty.

The Hawaii delegates will have the rare opportunity to visit RFJK alumni in their hometowns and strengthen the bonds of friendship formed in Hawaii. The planned itinerary includes visits to the following cities and villages in Tohoku: Sendai City, Onagawa, Minamisanriku, Iwaki City and Shinchi town. Hawaii delegates will also visit schools and towns that were destroyed by the tsunami and are in the process of rebuilding and will participate in some of the recovery efforts.

This program is partly funded by the U.S. Japan Council’s TOMODACHI Initiative. The TOMODACHI Initiative is a public-private partnership between the U.S.-Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Born out of support for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, TOMODACHI invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as entrepreneurship and leadership programs.

TALP Delegates depart on Hawaiian Airlines to Sendai, Japan: (back row, l – r: Logan Takeda, Malakai Shiraki, Sarah Tamashiro and chaperone Daniel Hwang; front row, l-r: Shayna Kim, Seri Nakamura and Moana Ueda)