During my 2012 bike ride through Japan I met a few volunteers from last year. It was nice to catch up with some of them. See http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1&page_id=260684&v=H8 for photos from last year.
In 2012 the number of volunteers are less but there is still a steady stream of them coming, weekends are still the busiest. Even so there were around 30 on my last day. Perhaps 50% are local Miyagi people, the rest from other areas of Japan. This year I am the only foreigner at Okada.
What Keeko-san, the best dressed volunteer wears! Gumboots to protect from mud and dust, knee pads to protect knees from getting sore, gloves to protect hands from sun and getting sore, mask to protect from breathing contaminated dust (and to hide one’s identity!), traditional hat to protect from getting sunburn. Light coloured clothes to reduce heat from sun. I’m not sure what is tucked into her boots!
Hongan-ji (本願寺 Temple of the Primal Vow?), also archaically romanized as Hongwanji, is the collective name of the largest school of Jōdo Shinshū Buddhism (which further sub-divides into the Nishi/west and Higashi/east branches). ‘Hongan-ji’ may also refer to any one of several actual temple buildings associated with the sect. The Hongan-ji was established as a temple in 1321, see…. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hongan-ji
Later we visit Hisae’s home (who cut my hair). It had just been made habitable by a team of Samaritan’s Purse, a group of mostly US and Japanese Christian volunteer builders who are restoring houses in the area to livable conditions.
To celebrate the completion of Hisae’s house they have a kind of non-alcoholic “house warming” party. Lots of speeches and singing and stuff. The religious part was a little too much for me. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritan’s_Purse
Hisae’s house on its way to becoming livable again. Her hairdresser’s salon on the right. I recommend everyone go and see Hisae when you have your haircut!