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Support NOTO Progress Report

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who supported [Support NOTO - Noto Peninsula Earthquake Charity 2024], the artists, those who offered words of encouragement, and the many people who showed an interest.


On June 17th (169 days after the earthquake), we went to Noto with the donations we received from everyone. We handed the donations over to people we trusted, such as "Ikanatete," which is currently based in Noroshi, Suzu City and travels around the country, and local governments working in the affected areas, and left them to them. We also took a day trip to actually see the area. Our first visit was to the Kuroshima district of Wajima City, where my wife has been volunteering since January. The coast was uplifted, buildings collapsed... Even though 169 days have passed, the damage from the earthquake remains as if it were yesterday. Although I had seen the photos on social media and on the TV news, the situation where you can see traces of the earthquake no matter where you look in 360 degrees made me feel the horror of knowing that this was truly the "site."

Along the way, the road was patched up, cracked, and in bad shape, with landslides, so we had to be careful of the shaking as we went along. Then, when we entered Suzu city, the situation was pretty serious. There were collapsed houses and damage from the tsunami, but nearby, we could see people still going about their daily lives.


Now, let's get to the main topic. The reason I'm writing this is, first of all, to report to those who donated. And secondly, because I wanted to share what we actually felt. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, the damage on the ground was quite severe. The removal of rubble has not yet progressed, and it will soon be six months since the earthquake, but the situation is still the same as it was at the time. However, there were many people there who are now living their lives with their heads held high. Even before we went to Noto, we had been told many times, "Please come to Noto." We often thought that if we went to the disaster area now, we would be a nuisance. However, the evacuated people we met in person said, "Please come" and "Soon." And so, we actually met them, listened to their stories, and experienced it for ourselves.

At that time, one person said, "To those who are here for the first time, it may seem very serious... but for us, a better future is here than yesterday." This was very impressive. I saw that the glass and tiles that had not been cleared away until yesterday had decreased slightly, and the road that took 10 hours to clear just after the earthquake now takes 3 hours. I saw that they were steadily moving forward one step at a time. "We're having an event in Noto next time, so please come and visit us!" said the cheerful person. The area used to have 200 households, but now it has only 50 households, a quarter of the number due to evacuation, and one person in the area said, "We decided yesterday that we will hold the festival that has been held every year on a certain date in the summer for hundreds of years. The shrine has collapsed, but we want to do what we can with everyone who is here now. Because we come here every year on a certain date, there may be people who come back for that day..." and "The night view of the festival is fantastic, so please come and stay." They also looked ahead and talked to us, saying things like, "We might not have much time today, so next time we come, I'll show you around at our leisure. There's a house called Mr./Ms. XX, and it's there..." I once heard a customer who went to volunteer say, "I went to volunteer, but I was treated so well and ended up eating a lot of food... I was energized by going..." Just like that, we also received a lot of energy from our time in Noto.


The smell of the tide hits your nose as soon as you step out of the car. The scenery is rich in nature (too rich!) with not only the sea but also the mountains. The townscape is beautiful with its black roof tiles. The sun setting over the sea. The friendly smiles of the people. All of this is still there, as it always has been. What's more, Noto is overflowing with an energetic charm that can only be experienced now.


Our visit this time gave us another experience. We would like to use this experience to continue supporting NOTO in the future. We are happy to say that there are only a few works left. Thank you very much. This is all we have to report for now.

June 18, 2024 CYRO Kojima



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