Clothes swap for Tohoku
Former Japan resident Caroline Pover is organizing a clothes swap on Feb 9, and will take/send any leftover items to Tohoku the following day, when she heads up there for two months. She’ll also have lots of photos of the area running on a slideshow on her computer and will be happy to answer any questions about the area she stays in (this will be her fourth stay). And it will hopefully be a nice get-together and a chance to catch up with old friends, and make some new ones.
When: Sat, Feb 9, 3-5 p.m.
Venue: Kimono Wine Bar & Grill near Nogizaka and Roppongi stations. Minami Aoyama 1-15-28, Platinum Ct 1F. Tel. 03-6438-1685.
Cost: 1,000 yen door charge plus a donation of any amount, which will go towards any costs associated with getting the items to and around Tohoku. Once everything has been distributed, any money leftover will go towards funding a small project that will help the area — the last time she distributed clothing there she gave the remaining fuel donations towards a fund for rebuilding one of the shrines.
Door entry includes: 1 drink choice from sparkling, white, or red wines, draft beer, soft drinks, coffee or tea. Also includes snacks such as homemade tortilla chips with Asian salsa, and a mixed tray of mini desserts, cupcakes, mini brownies, and mini cheesecake. There will also be a cash bar for 500 yen per drink.
What to bring: You can bring any clothes for men, women, or children, but NO SHOES please except wellies/rainboots/snowboots. All items must be clean and in good condition.
What happens to the leftover clothes? Caroline will fill her car with as much as she can and send up the remainder. She is setting up a “free clothes shop” in a container next to the convenience store along the main road that goes through Oshika. For anyone unable to come to the store, she will be available to drive them to and fro so they can still go shopping, and also be able to set up mini-shops in temporary housing communities, similar to what she did last winter. Anything leftover after her two months on Oshika will either be distributed to other areas where she knows the items will be used, or be sent to the Salvation Army in Tokyo. Any other requests for distribution locations are very welcome.
Important notes: Please don’t send anything to Kimono beforehand or on the day. Please bring the items yourself as you will need to unpack and organize them on the tables. This is also a social opportunity, a chance to find out more about the areas Caroline has been helping, AND a chance for you to get some new clothes. (She will also need help at the end to organize leftover items, so no dumping and running please.)
RSVP: You can just turn up but it is helpful to have a rough idea of numbers so that Kimono can plan accordingly. Drop a line at email@example.com
Caroline says: “I am fully aware of the fact that the people I know on Oshika do have some basic clothes and can get into the town on the mainland to purchase needed items but obviously this costs money, and there is a great deal of uncertainty about the future here so people are worried about parting with what little money they have. For a variety of reasons, I still think it is important to be able to provide people there with free clothing — my heart broke when a man in his seventies told me he had been wearing the same sweater for months. With the recent news that people in temporary housing communities will likely be there for five years as opposed to two years (which was originally the plan), I think people here could do with reminders that they are not forgotten — this is one way of doing that.”