Cairns Refresh Camp Day11 ~Fukushima kid's speech

After departing from Cairns, they safely arrived at Narita airport that evening.
They all stayed one night at the hotel close to the Narita airport and returned to Fukushima the following day.
In Fukushima, there was a session to welcome back the kids and to hear stories from them on what they saw, heard and learnt.
Check out the video clip of that session (English speech first then Japanese only):
The session went on for longer than 2 hours. So much to share!
It was so great to see last year's participants, Mito and Miku!
They had fun asking the 'must-ask' questions to this year's participants that they also got asked last year!

So thankful to the ongoing relationships.

We would like to share with you some summaries of what each of them had to say about their stay in Cairns:

Sumire Noda

With my host family in Australia, at first, I didn't understand English well and I often didn't say much at all.

But even though my grammar was not perfect, I started speaking by lining up some words, and it turned out that they understood what I wanted to say. From that, I learnt that if you try, there are quite a lot of things that you'll end up being able to do.

What was really striking for me that I heard during my time here is about issues on uranium.
I heard for the first time that Australian uranium fuelled the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Seven years have passed since the disaster, and the memories have faded from many people's minds.
Considering this, it really left an impression on me that there are aboriginal people here that have remembered us,
and have been grieving for us. It's amazing that they were able to do that.

Also, in Fukushima, I saw the ways in which deforestation had to happen in order to develop solar energy.

It's important to take up more natural forms of energy, but I thought that it was not quite right
to have to damage the environment as a result of that.
I thought that it's important to think of ways to adopt renewable energy while protecting the environment.

I would like to share what I learnt in Australia to people of Fukushima and Japan.

Nana Maruyama

Although I could not speak English very well, I learnt that if there is a will, it's possible to convey your message.

Also, I learnt that less than half of the people that came to the event wanted to live in Fukushima.
It made me want to share more about Fukushima.
One of the things I really enjoyed in Cairns is,
when I visited the local school, the children there had their own point of view, and took initiatives to interact with us.

I'm really grateful that so many people have supported us, in ways that are seen and unseen.

At first, I felt hesitant to speak about Fukushima.
But as I did speeches every day, it became more fun.
The fact that I started to want to talk about Fukushima more is a sign that I grew up.

Thank you.
Sumire Kuge

At the session about history, I learnt about how to approach Japan-Australia Pacific War history.

When we think about the Pacific War, it occurred to me that I learnt about it as a war between Japan and the US.
However, if we look at it from Australia's perspective, it was a war fought against Japan,

I learnt that Japan had air striked Australia 64 times.

In Japan, we only hear news of Japan being victims.
However, in Australia, it's seen as a necessary war to protect the country against Japan.

These things are not known widely in Japan.
I thought it was unfortunate that we do not know about what we did to another country.

I thought that it's important to learn history, and to pass the lessons on to the next generation.
Moreover, we need to look at one fact from front and back, and from multiple viewpoints.
I would like to apply this lesson to my life.

There is not just one answer. It's important to look at the world through wide horizon and see various possibilities.

I tend to be quite reserved and I have not been the type to speak in front of people.
After coming to Cairns, I was inspired by many people and I started to be able to express my opinions more clearly, 

There were many opportunities to do our speeches. It was great that it was well received,
and I think that I was able to communicate about Fukushima, sometimes even by drawing pictures.

I thought that it's important to tell how we're thinking and feeling, even if it's not perfect.
I never want to forget this feeling of gratitude I have for the people that have supported us, and I want the lessons to be reflected in my life.

Thank you.

Kohki Hisada

Until I came to Cairns, I used to think that
the problem of the Fukushima's nuclear power plant accident belongs to Fukushima,
and therefore, it is the people of Fukushima that has to work hard to address it.

After coming to Cairns,
I met many people and everyone listened very intently and sincerely to us,
and to know that there are people from far distance who are caring for us
have given me much courage.

I felt that the problem is not limited to just Fukushima,
but is something that is to be worked on together with many people.

Until now, I used to treat the Okinawa's US base problem as other people's problem.
But after coming to Cairns, I learnt that these problems shouldn't be treated like that.

I received courage.

Thank you so much.

Mizuki Nomura

This was my first time go overseas.
I understood that Japan is very small from the perspective of a whole world.

It's apparent that when you are overseas, Japanese language is not the common language,
and people speak in English.

The Japanese language that I use everyday that I take for granted
became quite useless once I stepped out of Japan.

At the very beginning, I didn't understand English at all.
My host family would often use Google translator to look up words and help our conversations.
I was really happy that after three to four days, I was able to talk with her without relying too much on Google translator.

Also, one of my most memorable moments in Cairns is visiting the Great Barrier Reef.
For me, it was my first time to go to the sea.
Frankland Island was so beautiful and it is even recognised as world heritage. 
I was so fun to venture into the world of "Finding Nemo"!
Thank you so much.

I cannot thank enough those who have invited us, those who have donated generously to support us.

Thank you so much.

Mahiro Fukuda


After coming to Cairns, I learnt that there isn't only one side to a fact.

What was most memorable was encountering Masa at Tarzan Cafe.

It was really convincing to hear about not giving up on your dream from someone who had to go through a lot of obstacles.

After coming to Cairns, I know that something in me has changed significantly.
Precisely what that change is, is hard to put it into words now.
But as I take time, I think that I will eventually understand what changed in me.
Please keep watching over me.

I was able to come to Cairns thanks to so many people's support.

I am thankful for that, and I feel responsible to share what I learnt in Cairns to people in Japan.

 Wakana Takeda

When we first had the opportunity to do our speeches in front of foreigners in Japan,
I got stuck with words and it didn't go too well.
After that, conversations don't last.
This continued.
I thought a lot about how I must say something even in Japanese or English,
but I thought too much and could not put my hands up.

I think that now, I've become more able to say my opinions even if they were brief.

When speaking in English, even if it was not proper grammar, and even if it meant using gestures,
I was really happy that people still listened.

In Cairns, we say many people and heard many things,
and I was also able to share many things.

As I shared stories with people, what I learnt is that when we are presented with one thing,
it's important to look at it not just from your viewpoint, but also from various perspectives,
and to seek others' opinions.
This is a new kind of thinking for me, and it helped broaden my horizon.

Thank you.

Mio Sagawa

After coming to Cairns, my sense of values and ways of seeing the world has changed.

At Taka's farm, when I heard him talk, I learnt that papers are made from trees and
in order to make the papers that we use, trees have to be chopped off.

It made me think that I shouldn't waste paper.

At Paronella Park, I was really inspired by the story of late Jose Paronella who did not give up on his dream.
It made me want to make effort to make my dream of becoming a dancer come true.

At Paronella Park, it stood out for me that there was hydropower right where there was a fountain,
and the fact that he was constructing his castle by his own hands.

Thank you!


Below are the final reports from the children from this year's refreshment camp.
They've each done so well in writing up the diaries every day. Well done and thank you!
Sumire Kuge

It was the last day. After saying good bye to my host family, we went back to Tokyo and stayed at the hotel there. It was good to be back but also sad to leave my host family and other people there.

Yesterday when I gave my letter to my host family, we 3 all cried and it was so hard to leave them. On the other hand, I was a little pumped to get back to Japan. Although, I was sad in the plane after all so I was emailing them. There were many things happened but it was the best 10 days. Tonight, we met the students who went to Germany in the same program. They told us "the one who has a dream first wins." I determined that I will cherish my dream. I will restart my life without forgetting about the all the support that helped my improvement. Thank you very much.

Kohki Hisada


It was so much fun in Cairns so I was worried that I really felt "was I dreaming?”.

I strongly thought "I don't want to go home" when I was leaving Cairns. I felt all the extreme support made such a enjoyable time there. At the beginning, I was passive but as the day goes by I started joining them voluntarily. This is one of my change in this trip. I thank my host family who gave nothing uncomfortable. Next time when you come to Japan, Please visit us. Thank you so much.

Mio Sagawa


I couldn't believe that it was so sad when I left people in Carins. My host family gave me a card and pen case. I can't thank them enough and I thought I should be the one who has to give them some gift.

I was a bit flat at the breakfast but I was encouraged by their home made delicious breakfast. We decided to smile when we say good bye, but I cried. At the moment my host family said "we love you", my tears started flowing. Everyone was so nice and I'll never forget them. I believe we are connected even we cannot see each other. When I talked to Megu at night, she said "dreams come true if you don't give up" and it was encouraging. It was great to see you all in Cairns. I couldn't give anything but I was glad that I could say thank you to every single supporters.
Mahiro Fukuda


What stood out for me:

It’s hard. It’s very sad to depart from Cairns airport. But I was able to say goodbye with a smile on my face. The day before yesterday, I cried as much as I could. 
The flight from Cairns to Tokyo passed by very quickly. Seven hours felt very short. Coming back to Japan, it feels familiar and comfortable but it feels kind of sad.

Some reflections:

24 hours equal to 1,440 minutes. We were in Cairns for 9 days, so we spent 12,960 minutes there. And that’s 777,600 seconds. 
I don’t know whether that is long time or not. But for me, it went by very quickly. Therefore, coming back to Japan, I want to cherish every single day. One day is universally 24 hours. Just as I made most of 24 hours in Australia, I want to also spend preciously the same 24 hours. By going to Australia, I know that something has changed inside of me. I can’t quite put into words, but there is something that has changed. It changed inside and outside. That sensation is inside me. I hope that someone notices that change in me. But maybe it’s something that people around me cannot see. It might be something that only I could know, yet I can’t quite put a finger on what it is. I’m sure that one day, I will know what it was that changed in me. And I wonder when that would be…
Whenever it will be, I think it’ll all be good if I could feel happiness when I die, more than when I was born. 
I know that the memories of what I experienced in Cairns will never fade away even when I become a grandmother. I know how fortunate I am to have gained such experience. 

To everyone in Cairns, thank you so much!!

Wakana Takeda

What stood out for me:

  • What I saw for the first time, what caught my attention: morning walk by the beach (sunrise, full tide)
  • What moved me; what made me feel grateful: the many people that came to the airport to farewell us

Some reflections:

Today, I woke up early to take a walk by the beach. It was amazing to grab a freshly baked bread from a bakery and fresh coffee (cappuccino), and to enjoy that while watching a breathtakingly stunning view. 
The rain had stopped and I walk on the beach barefoot. The ocean was shining with sun rise and it was beautiful.

At the airport, the many people that were helping us were there to farewell us, and that made me feel very thankful. It was sad to bring to an end the last ten days, which felt both long and short. But it was really lovely that people stayed there until the very end to shake our hands and hug us. 

Tomorrow, we go back to Fukushima. At the talk session upon return, I would like to be able to share with everyone the many things I learnt through meeting many people. I would like to make the most of what I learnt and do my speech.
Sumire Noda

What stood out for me:

  • I made miso soup to my host family!
    -> They were very happy about it and seemed to enjoy it. 
  • My host family gave me a photo album of Cairns
    -> That made me very happy!

Some reflections:

Today was our final day in Cairns. Today was mostly taken up by travelling. In the morning, it was really fun to make miso soup with my host family. They said the taste of miso is delicious, which was great.

This time, I learnt many things in Cairns. I feel that the image I have of overseas changed quite a lot. Until now, it was a place that was far and irrelevant. However, after going overseas, even though I could not speak English perfectly, I realised that as long as you have the will to say something, people will understand, and if you hop on a plane, it’s actually quite easy to go there.

The time in Cairns was so fun, that I honestly don’t feel like going back to Japan. For now, in Japan, I will study hard, and I’d love to go back to Cairns again!!

Finally, a great big thank you to al those who supported us to make this trip come true, and to everyone who helped us during our time there!!

Nana Maruyama
What stood out for me:

I said thank you and goodbye to my host family and people who have been supporting us. It was really good to see Ryoko, Henry and Rufus at the very end.

Some reflections:
I was able to give a letter to Ryoko and Henry, which was good.
We took a photo together and I got their address, so it’ll be really great to keep in touch.
On the last day, during our morning walk with Rufus, Henry brought out an umbrella so that we could still take a walk. Because of that, I was able to play with the dog. I’m so full of gratitude towards Ryoko and Henry who were always so kind to me.

Mizuki Nomura


What stood out for me:
  • There were not many Japanese people on the return flight to Japan.
  • There were more non-Japanese speaking flight attendants on both flights to and from Cairns.

Some reflections:
  • I left one of my belongings <- sorry about that!
  • The time on the plane felt quite long, but it was fun. Thank you so much.
  • I couldn’t help but think about school homework
  • At hotel, Sumire K was shouting.
  • I saw JUMP (comic book) for the first time in a long while and that made me happy.

It has been such a treasured time. Each of these children has had meaningful encounters and valuable experiences.
Through that, in their own way, they grasped something important.

This was all made possible thanks to each and everyone's generous and kind support.

Thank you so much!

May there be more children's smiles, and may possibilities open up.
Young and old, hand in hand,
May we think about our common future together,
being honest to one another, and to oneself,
and in that, shape a better future for all together.

With thanks.


Cairns Refreshment Camp 2018 Day 10: Goodbye to host families, goodbye to Cairns!

The refreshment camp came to an end, and it's now time for goodbye.
We've had heavy rain and road closures, but also days of sunshine and blue sky.
Everyday was full of new experiences.
And now it's time to depart from Cairns...

The host families have kindly dropped them off at the airport.



At the airport, we saw a familiar face come to say goodbye and give the children big hugs.
It turns out it was one of the staff of the Frankland Island Cruise!

This 24 years-old man had not known much about the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake,
and he heard about what the disaster was like for the first time through listening to children's speeches.
After hearing their stories, he said he had a lot to reflect on.
What a testimony of the power of the speeches that these children gave!

It so happens that he was coming to pick up his friend who was arriving in Cairns.
What a timing! The children were so happy to bump into him!

Smiles, smiles, smiles!


Holding on to precious memories... Hugs and goodbyes to host families until they will see each other again!






It was hard to leave, and they ended up hanging around the check-in area right until their boarding time.



So many people have played a part in making this refreshment camp happen.
So many people have thought there must be something we can do from Cairns to the children of Fukushima.
There are people who have contributed to this camp
even though they were not able to meet the children in person during the camp.
We know that the children have somehow felt the support they received from so many different people,
and they have expressed their thanks to everyone in Cairns!

Mahiro Fukuda



Thank you for the last 11 (sic.) days! Every day was so full of fun.
Having come to Cairns, I learnt that there are many perspectives on each fact. Everywhere I went, I seemed to have learnt about that, and I really relate to that point.

The most memorable [art of the trip was Tarzan Cafe. 
I love Masa…lol. He is so funny and so unique and I was able to have such wonderful time there.
Not just Masa, but I love everyone in Cairns! 
Everyone was so kind and warm and funny…

It was really, really hard to leave. But knowing that eight of us have been selected to come here, I feel compelled to share what we’ve learnt to people back in Japan. 
I’m thankful to have received support from twenty to thirty people and to have gained such amazing experiences. 
I will never forget about Cairns until I die!!
Please look forward to me growing up more and more lol.
I will go back to visit you all!
Thank you for the happy time the last 11 (sic.) days!

Wakana Takeda


Dear supporters in Cairns

Since we arrived in Cairns, we met our supporters every day. As I talked to them face to face, I noticed that they were really nice people. I also realised that so many people supported us in many different ways. It was heart warming to be told “visit us again” and nice to see many supporters.

I’d like to thank every single supporters in Cairns. And one day, I’ll try my best to return your favor!! 

Kohki Hisada

Sumire Noda
To all supporters in Cairns

Thank you for welcoming us from Japan.
It was very good to experience something I’ll never be able to do in Japan.
We couldn’t have these 9 quality days without all support by many people. Thank you so much!
For me, uranium talk was the most memorable part. In Japan, it has been 7years since the disaster, people’s memories back then are fading out. Although, I was surprised that Australian people were still breaking their heart as they know that the uranium they produced took part of the problems for Fukushima people. I wonder why Japanese people don’t want to know deeply? I think we should never forget about this disaster so I’ll keep sharing what I learned in Australia both in Fukushima and Japan. And I wish we can connect to next generation and further.
Thank you so much for all 9days!!

Sumire Kuge

To our supporters in Cairns

Thank you for these 9days.
At first, I was so nervous as it was first time for me to travel overseas. Although, everyone was really nice and I now I feel so lucky that I came to Cairns.
In this project, there were many opportunities to think about my dreams. At some point, I was really worried about my dream but I’m confident now as I listened to others. Thank you very much.


Mizuki Nomura

To all supporters in Cairns

I’d like to thank people who paid our flights, made donations, helped in many different ways. Also we were invited to various places and farm to stay, offered sushi meal. Also my host family welcomed me as a family. Thank you all. Also thank you so much, other volunteers and people who thought about Fukushima.


Mio Sagawa

To everyone in Cairns

I was a little nervous since it was my first trip abroad but the nervousness disappeared as everyone welcomed me warmly and I enjoyed everyday.
In Fukushima, I couldn’t play outside and couldn’t swim on the beach for a long time but I was so happy that I did them all in Australia!
I made it here with a lot of help. Thank you so much.
People in Australia are so nice and they are like my family. I will be able to get over anything by thinking about them when I’m sad or having hardship.
I shared about Fukushima with many people in Cairns. And now I’d like to share about Cairns in Fukushima.
It may be a bit by bit but I’ll change Fukushima to the place where we can cherish people’s life. Also I’d like to remind about the disaster for the kids in the next generation not to forget.
Thank you for the precious experience!!!

Nana Maruyama

To everyone in Cairns

Every day was relaxing and fun for me as many people welcomed me even I don’t speak English much.
Thank you for inviting us to various places and organizing delicious food so much.
I’ll never forget this and want to share that so many supporters made this happened and we encountered many people.
Thank you so much.