LINKING COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE PACIFIC with close to $500,000 donations through different projects
INCLUDING OVER $250,000 DIRECT DONATIONS FOR TSUNAMI HIT TOHOKU FISHING INDUSTRY
OVER $250,000.00 US direct donation to date that has involved Linda linking donors directly to the Tohoku fishing people in need of help to recover along the devastated coastline of north eastern Japan.
COMMENT FROM ALASKA GROUP AFIRM BOARD MEMBER:
"I think Linda Ohama is a very important aspect of the story – it would have been very difficult and costly for us to reach the communities without her help and her work allows us to keep to our tradition of zero overhead – all donations go to the aid. Please feel free to contact me, or Chairman Larry Cotter for any additional information."- Mark Vinsel, Secty-Treasurer, AFIRM August 29, 2012 (907) 586-2820
Linda was connected with the following donations while doing other volunteer work in Tohoku:
2011 $80,000 donated by members of the BC (Canada) fishing industry community. Contact person Mr. Dan Nomura, President, BC Fishing Company.
2012 $200,000 plus donated by the Alaska group AFIRM (Alaska Fishing Industry Relief Mission).
Media release (part of) from Alasak AFIRM
For immediate release August 29, 2012 (part of the media release above)
Alaska Fishing Industry Sends Help to Japan Fishing Fleets
Group funds six more projects to help fleets return to fishing after 2011 Tsunami
The Alaska Fishing Industry Relief Mission (AFIRM) is delivering aid to help fishing fleets of Northern Japan affected by last year’s tsunamis. The Alaska seafood industry, led by major contributors UniSea and American Seafoods initiated the relief fund shortly after the March 2011 tsunami devastated the fishing communities of Northern Japan. Seattle-based Unisea, American Seafoods, and Glacier Fish Company inspired donations from their vessel, plant and office employees and then matched them, effectively doubling the industry’s grassroots fundraising efforts. All in all, over 180 fishing and processing industry participants donated over $375,000 with the purpose of helping the affected fishing industry of northeastern Japan rebuild their fishing and processing infrastructure.....
...The group has identified six more projects this month and will be sending over $190,000 to six local fishing organizations across the region. The projects were identified by Vancouver-based filmmaker Linda Ohama who has been visiting the region and meeting with local fisheries cooperatives this summer. The current projects include:.....
“We were told from the outset that there would be at least a year before affected communities could respond to the basics of life and complete planning to be ready to identify meaningful projects,” said AFIRM Chairman Larry Cotter. “Now over a year later, it has been a challenge to overcome communications obstacles to identify projects to directly help them return to fishing. We are extremely grateful for the help from Linda Ohama who traveled to the affected region and kept in close touch with AFIRM to identify opportunities to help, and translate their requests, on a purely volunteer basis from her sincere desire to help,” said Cotter.
AFIRM announced earlier this summer that they had funded an urgent request from a small boat fleet near Sendai that was ready to get back fishing, but only lacked lifejackets. AFIRM sent the group $5,500 to get them back on the water.....
“Fusion of the Hearts: Ishizue”, a 20 minute documentary filmed in Japan, is about what happens when two different cultures with shared roots meet and interact.
One is from a multicultural North American society, and the other from a very traditional and homogeneous background. And they meet through their music with many challenges to face.
Thirteen young Canadian taiko drum players travel from Vancouver, Canada to Onomichi, Japan to play music with a traditional Japanese taiko group.
The young Nikkei Canadians (part of a group called Chibi Taiko) were aged 6-23 years old. All are of mixed race with some ancestral ties to Japan. This was the first trip to Japan for many of these third, fourth and fifth generation Canadians.
The Onomichi group (Betchar Daiko) is from a very small traditional town near Hiroshima. They are a popular community based group that includes players ranging from youth to seniors. The Canadians and Japanese discover that their cultural and musical roots are very different, yet closely tied. They work through language barriers and and extreme humidity and heat together. After 10 days of playing taiko, they give a public performance in Onomichi. It is a powerful moment when we witness the fusion of two very different groups as they suddenly become one. “…Having deep roots doesn’t mean one is cut off from the many possibilities of life. On the contrary, they can provide nourishment and sustenance throughout one’s life. And really, strong and healthy roots below ground ultimately lead to strong and healthy branches reaching towards the sky.” (John Endo Greenaway, Editor of JCCA Bulletin) What did they learn? As one of the taiko players says: “Reconnecting with your roots is important because it gives you a chance to see what makes me ME?” Available in dvd format, all regions, in English & Japanese Cost: 2,000 yen /$20 Cdn plus shipping For purchase or inquiries contact: Osamu Otani email@example.com Linda Ohama firstname.lastname@example.org
TEMPORARILY ON HOLD...PLEASE WAIT
The movie"SUMMERHOUSE DREAMS"
A NEW FILM WORK TAKING SHAPE IN ONOMICHI
Due to the March 11, 2011 disaster in north eastern Japan's Tohoku area, this film took a 12 month hiatus to join the recovery efforts in the Tohoku area.
Director Ohama and producer Mr. Otani have put this feature film production on hold during 2012, in order to allow Linda to make the documentary, "Tohoku no Shingetsu".
The first draft script of "Summerhouse Dreams"stage and research are now completed for this film.
MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT:
Linda's maternal grandmother, Asayo (Imamoto) Murakami, was born in Onomichi in 1898, living there until she left Japan as a picture bride in 1925. She was Canada's last living picture bride (see Macleans Magazine).
Since discovering Onomichi while doing research and location shooting for her feature film, "Obaachan's Garden"(2001), Linda and filmmakers in Onomichi made the short film, "A Sense of Onomichi"(2007) together, and have reunited once again for a third project, a feature called "Summerhouse Dreams".
For the past several years, Linda has been doing the groundwork, observing the different seasons and local festivals---many dating back several centuries---to get a sense of some of the mystique and ancient customs that have shaped the lives and character of the Japanese for generations, like her grandmother, and indirectly, Ohama herself.
"Before my grandmother passed away at almost 105 years old, she revealed an old secret that she had been hiding most of her life thateventually led me to the town of Onomichi almost 10 years ago.
It is here, that I feel 'something' very naturally filling in, or 'bridging' certain gaps in my being, or spirit. Sometimes it is a warm, sensual, subtle feeling. Other times, it is a shocking surprise. Almost always, it is something that feels both very familiar, and unfamiliar at the same time.
Whatever this is, it is closely tied to our basic human instincts and feelings---often entering into that place of mystery and magic.
It is found in the special people I meet, the traditions that I participate in, the delicious foods that I eat, the distinctive sounds that I hear, the 'Nihongo' that I learn to speak and even in the way the full moon sits in the sky---something very much 'Onomichi'.
And it feels like home.
Perhaps this is what happens naturally over several generations, when people immigrate. Or maybe some of us, like birds or salmon, are instinctively programmed to migrate back to their 'place of birth' at some selected point in time, and not necessarily in the same body.
Whatever it is, it continues to be a strange, yet wonderful sensation for a farm girl from the Canadian prairies. And it has inspired me to create 'Summerhouse Dreams' together with producer, Osamu Otani, and the Onomichi film community.".
return to Onomichi
GOOD NEWS IS that since the original April 19th, 2011 “GANBARE JAPAN!” benefit concert held in Vancouver, Canada...the Nikkei Canadian and Vancouver communities continue to hold benefit concerts to aid Tohoku.
For up to date benefit concerts and events in Vancouver, please check jccabulletin-geppo.ca
THANK YOU-DOUMO ARIGATOU TO ALL THE GREAT VOLUNTEERS
It is now 17 months after the earthquake/tsunami hit the Tohoku region of Japan.
The Ganbare Japan! benefit concert, held Tuesday April 19th, 2011 at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre, was a deeply moving and financially successful event supported by many hundreds of volunteers including all the performers, stage/production managers, organizers and committee members, plus the many people throughout the Lower Mainland who folded over 16,000 origami cranes for the concert’s finale. The venue fee for the Queen Elizabeth Theatre was donated by the City of Vancouver, the first time this has happened in its 51-year history.
With everyone’s help, we were able to generate $259,434.00 in ticket sales, merchandise sales, sponsorship, and cash and in-kind donations.
As a result of this overwhelming generosity, 100% of the money from the sale of concert tickets was donated to the Japan Red Cross with a cheque presentation of $85,534.00 to the Consul General of Japan on Friday, May 6th The remainder requiring tax receipts, after expenses and in-kind donations, goes to the Canadian Red Cross for Japan earthquake relief. This amount is $122,027.72, making the total Ganbare Japan! donation $207,561.71, surpassing our original goal of $150,000.00.
On behalf of Ganbare Japan! concert organizers and the BC Japan Earthquake Relief Fund (BC-JERF), we wish to express a BIG thank you to all the volunteers, all the sponsors, the Nikkei community, and the people of Greater Vancouver who generously raised funds and care for the people of northern Japan through Ganbare Japan!
Since the time of the original "Ganbare Japan!" benefit concert, Vancouver and the Nikkei community have continued to do fundraising events in support of Tohoku with the help of many volunteers, artists, and performers.
Linda Ohama, coordinator Ganbare Japan! benefit concert
member of BC JERF
MORE FACTS AND FIGURES: Ganbare Japan! included more than 167 performers who all volunteered their talents and time. These included Erin Wall, David Pomeroy and Kinza Tyrrell from Vancouver Opera, dancers and singers from the Squamish Nation, Takeo Yamashiro on shakuhachi, butoh dancer Jay Hirabayashi, most of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Jon Kimura Parker, bands like 54-40, Doug and the Slugs and the Sojourners, and musicians Mae Moore, Jim Byrnes, Simon Kendall, Paul Pigat, Bill and Saffron Henderson. The finale featured the amazing Taiko for Tohoku, an unprecedented collaboration by almost sixty members of the Vancouver taiko community. Emcees for the evening were local celebrities Margaret Gallagher and Tetsuro Shigematsu.
Ganbare Japan! had an incredible volunteer team of four professional stage and production managers. Their month of planning meetings and preparations ensured that the rehearsals and concert ran seamlessly. Ganbare Japan! also brought together a dozen writers from across Canada, each expressing their sorrow and hope with original writing—their words forming a very special part of the 40-page program book.
In advance of the concert, Ganbare Japan! put out a call out for origami cranes. For over a month, hundreds of people throughout the Lower Mainland responded and folded over 16,000 origami paper cranes. These colourful birds floated down on the audience and stage as part of our grand finale, a message of hope to the people of Tohoku.
Ganbare Japan! came together with help of over 70 people on the various committees—from the BC-JERF Nikkei community executive to media and sponsorship, production to hospitality, and to the special think-tanks made up of Vancouver entertainment professionals offering their advice. Ganbare Japan! was supported by over 50 businesses and sponsors who generously donated funds or in-kind services to produce this benefit concert, plus another 27 businesses who took out ads in the program. With everyone’s help, Ganbare Japan! raised over $200,000 to help support the people of Tohoku.
Arigatou gozaimashita to all the volunteers and sponsor!!
More about Taiko for Tohoku:
This is a feature length film that will be shot on location in Onomichi, Japan based on complex interweaving of lives caught in tradition, memories, dreams, and reality.
Every August in the unbearable heat of summer and the consant rattling of the cicadas, spirits from the 'other world' return to their earthly families for 3 days and 3 nights, during a period the Japanese call 'obon'. It is a time of happy celebration, song, special foods and dance as people meet for this annual gathering.
There is a house that sits high on the mountainside that overlooks the town of Onomichi, the sea, and temple gravesites. You get to it by climbing a narrow winding mountain path, past a small shrine, then up the steep private stone steps leading to the black iron gate. The ground level is designed like a Western home and the upper level is more taditional with its huge tatami room and shoji screen windows.
The house remains closed for most of the year and is known as 'the summerhouse'. A foreigner who does not understand obon, comes to stay at the summerhouse and she witnesses a mysterious labyrith of past and present, triggered by obon on the two levels of this house.