Hilton Tokyo and IsraAID – a relief and development international aid agency from Israel - will jointly hold a two-day event, “Voices of Tohoku,” on March 7 and 8, for the purpose of sharing the various aid targeted activities held since 2011 as well as to inspire people to support a community center in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture to honor the memory of Taylor Anderson, who lost her life by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011.
Hilton Tokyo has been partnering with IsraAID on a number of projects designed to support continued post disaster recovery activities in the Tohoku region, offering accommodation for counselors and therapists of IsraAID coming to Japan, sending the hotel’s team members regularly as volunteers to the affected regions, visiting temporary housing complexes to assist IsraAID with various activities including Hilton Cookie Therapy – a fun and delicious Hilton original therapy.
The hotel also organized “Hilton Hospitality BBQ” for 1,000 temporary housing residents in Watari and Shinchi town in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in June 2012 and held two “Hilton Hospitality Internship” in summer, 2012 and winter, 2013. These internships are designed to empower the youth from Tohoku to take responsibility for their futures as individuals and as a community and through job and skills training at the Hilton Tokyo. The hotel is planning to hold the second BBQ party this June and will continue to offer Hilton Hospitality Internship Program this summer.
During the first day of the two-day event, a documentary film titled “Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story” will be screened. It was created by Regge Life of the Global Film Foundation and 247 backers funded the making of the film using the web funding platform Kickstarter. Anderson was part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program and spent two and a half years teaching English in the coastal city of Ishinomaki and lost her life in the Tsunami.
The Taylor Anderson Memorial Gift Fund was established in March 2011 by Taylor’s family and by Taylor’s high school alma mater, St Catherine’s. The purpose of the fund is to help students, school and families in the Ishinomaki area recover from the earthquake and tsunami. IsraAID is now collaborating with the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund to achieve the goal of setting up a community center in Ishinomaki to support the recovery process by providing mental health and leadership training to teachers, children and NPO’s working in Ishinomaki. Other NPOs currently involved are Project Yui, the YMCA and Team Ohkan. The chief guest will be U.S Ambassador to Japan John V Roos.
On the second day of the session, IsraAID will showcase “Voices of Tohoku”, a unique program in which IsraAID produced an oral and visual history of those who survived the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami. The team is composed of experts in oral history interviewing and documentation who will commemorate and honor the memory of the Tohoku communities who went through an unprecedented natural disaster by recording their experience, memories and hopes for the future. Through this, IsraAID aim to empower the members of the community who share not only the tragedy but also the story of survival and endurance in harsh condition. Also by sharing their experience the participants will experience a positive sense of relief and a new sense of meaning and values that arise from their story of survival that they could pass on to their children and grandchildren. These testimonies could facilitate academic research for disaster prevention.
Hilton Tokyo and IsraAID will invite 30 people from Tohoku, including the mayors of Ishinomaki, Watari and Yamamoto and share with as many guests as possible to learn about our activities and spread the news.
■ March 7 Movie “Live Your Dream”
Katsura Kasuga Room (3F) / 7 p.m. - 10 p.m.
The event includes: Keynote speech by U.S. Ambassador John V Roos, screening of the movie “Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story,” drinks & snacks.
■ March 8 Voices of Tohoku Session 1
Yamato Room (3F) / 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
The event includes an academic discussion about Tohoku’s resilience, led by Prof Amia Leiblich, a world-renowned expert in oral history and leading Japanese researchers.
Voices of Tohoku Session 2
Yamato Room (3F) / 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
The event includes a keynote speech by former Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki, a speech by the mayor of Watari-cho and a display of videos and books representing the different “voices” from Tohoku and the long way to recovery, hand-made products from Tohoku and a special Tohoku dinner.