Narrow Road to Tohoku
From 23 to 25 November, SOEI employees converged on the Tohoku region for the annual company trip. In fact, the company trip had been repeatedly called off in recent years. Most recently, the earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear disaster of 2011 made merrymaking the last thing on our minds, and the company trip, which had been scheduled for Singapore, was cancelled.
This year, the trip was on the cards again. Given the events of the previous year, Tohoku was a natural choice. The most obvious reason for going there was to contribute in some way to the region’s recovery by having some 160 members of our staff tour across this beautiful part of Japan’s countryside.
Another more personal reason was that Mr. S. and Ms. K., two members of the Kametsuru workshop (http://www.kikaku-kyoto.com/, Japanese only) staff based out of the Kyoto Office, had been working on a project in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture (part of the Tohoku region), when the disaster struck. “We were lucky to have been on high-ground…we watched it all happen before our eyes,” Mr. S. told me at our hotel in Iwate.
Naturally, the project they had been working on in Rikuzentakata City suffered a major setback as a result of the devastation visited on this port city. Since then, Mr. S. and Ms. K. have continued to travel the 600 miles between Kyoto and Rikuzentakata City on a regular basis. Mr. S. smiled as he explained in his gentle Kyoto accent that, after months of diligent work, the project is now ready to move onto the next stage.
We hope that the project will be a success and provide well needed jobs to the area.