8. "We Are One" Plans Finalize
On April 26, 2012, we had a meeting with Sasaki-san (the architect) and Sato-san (the client). First, Mr. Sasaki presented the latest drawings to confrim the design with Ms. Sato. When we looked at the plan, it became apparent that her priority is to be able to look after children while she and the other mothers are running the market. We decided to modify the floor plan one more time to make the market closer to the children's space.
The team will meet one more time on April 30 before we move on to the Construction Document phase. At that point the architect will start drawing detalis for the building to explain to builders in their language.
Ms. Sato also reported that the temporary market is doing well. There are many locals and contractors who are working on reconstruction projects that stop by every day, she says. They are looking forward to having their permanent market with the children's space.
3rd schematic design meeting @ Sasaki Sekkei office in Sendai
Approved elevation/partial section
Schematic drawings BEFORE final modifications
9. A Break in the Clouds for Ohya Green Sports Park Opening
It has been almost three months since Architecture for Humanity finished the construction of Ohya Green Sports Park. The team patiently waited for the turf to grow, but this winter was much colder than usual.
The Park opened on April 28. Architecture for Humanity held a community event in collaboration with Nike who is supporting the reconstruction of sports facilities in the affected area.
For a couple of days prior to the event, I was very nervous because we had rain most of the week. I thought the field would be full of puddles, and the event would get rained out as the worst case scenario. When I woke up Saturday morning, I was the happiest person on the planet. The sun was shining for the first time in 3 days!
Finished signage for the April 28 Opening Day
When I got to the site, Higashi-kun was giving the brand-new signage the final touch. He also worked on the bench a couple of months prior to this day. His specialty is to work with salvaged materials. He chooses the right materials for right components.
A day before the event, Higashi-kun led a small workshop with local children. He asked them to paint slabs of Ogatsu-ishi (Ogatsu slate) to be used on the new signage at the Park. Same as the bench, this signage is made of locally salvaged and donated building materials from old houses. The large lumber used for beams and columns from very old houses were reborn as this beautiful signboard, and became a part of the community. With children helping to create this signage, they also became a part of the history of the community.
Soccer workshop led by the former professional soccer player Fisuke Nakanishi
The coach Mr. Onodera was sure to tell students to show up for the opening ceremony - for the inaugural soccer practice. Now it is finally the kick-off time! Thirty-three students in brand-new uniforms stood in front of the former J-Leaguer and team member of the World Cup in France, Mr. Eisuke Nakanishi. Mr. Nakanishi led the workshop and a couple of games with the students afterwards.
It was such a beautiful day to play soccer and enjoy the Spring weather. It turned out to be a great kick-off for a week-long national holiday called “Golden Week”.
We have three national holidays from the last week of April to the first week of May, so many people take a week off to enjoy the Spring. One of the holidays is called Kodomo-no-hi (Children’s Day). How wonderful to have the opening of the Park around Kodomo-no-hi!
FC Ohya and Mr. Nakanishi with a flag signed by current professional soccer players in Japan
10. New Season, New School Year, New Building
Spring is very significant time of a year, especially for Japanese people. It is the beginning of a school year. We also appreciate the sense of renewal by enjoying many flowering trees and plants such as Sakura (cherry).
As I mentioned above, many people take a week off during the Golden Week, and enjoy the Spring. It usually starts on April 29. The day is called Showa-no-hi (Showa Day). It used to be for celebrating the birthday of the Emperor Showa. After he passed away in 1980s, the government changed the name of the holiday to the Showa Day.
On May 3, we commemorate the Japanese Constitution, which was established in 1947. The Green Day (Midori-no-hi) is on May 4, when we appreciate nature. Then May 5, we celebrate Kodomo-no-hi (Children’s Day). It was established to respect children’s rights, to pray for their bright future, and to appreciate their mothers. Traditionally Japanese people have been celebrating boys’ health on Tango-no-sekku around the season of Shobu (iris) in the old calendar, and it became the national holiday. A leaf of Shobu looks like a Japanese sword, which is for boys. We celebrate girls’ health on Momo-no-sekku (March 3), which is around the season of Momo (peach).
Many Japanese people appreciate these distinct seasons with all their senses – scents in the air, sights of changes in nature, sounds of birds and insects, touch of seasonal garments and taste of seasonal seafood and vegetables. The air is still crisp, but the fresh scent with hint of various flowers remind me of the beginning of the school years in Japan.
The brightness of the green leaves on trees remind me of new life. It seems the long Tohoku winter has finally ended. The time is continuous. But I would like to take this sense of new beginning and renewal to remember too my vow to support people in Tohoku.
Koinobori, image by Flickr user yubokumin