Message and Feedback from Fukushima

These are feed back from Fukushima kid's parents and student after Cairns Refresh Camp.

They feel everyone's support from Cairns and Thank you very much for all your support.

We really appreciated.


Message from Sumire Kuge’s mother, Yuko Kuge

I’ve never thought very shy Sumire ended up doing her presentation overseas. 
Her high school entrance exam was such a pressure on her but she got over it because of this program which made her proud and confident. 

Her host mother, Vanessa and the daughter India gave Sumire so much love over the few days beyond cultural differences. The primary email corespondents with them helped us to feel comfortable to let Sumire go. 
I was surprised that she enjoyed dancing, singing and cooking together “in English”...? but realised that her English level was not the main issue, was it?
It was overwhelming to see her enjoying the nature in cairns. 

She opened her heart to other 7 and became much closer with the all support by Maki, Mr Kodama and other supporters. I hope this connection lasts forever. 
It reminded me 7 years ago when we were all nervous and scared of radio actives and didn’t know what to believe. But now our children started thinking about power plant explosion, radio active and new energy resources. We adults definitely have something to learn from them. 
They were so happy that they learned Australian history and talked about Fukushima back then and now to people in cairns. I think they realized that they are the ones who are responsible for Japan’s future. 
What we have to do is sharing these things and not to repeat the same mistakes. 

It’s not that easy but they won’t look away from what they have to do, especially with your enthusiastic support and knowing you can change the future and environment with your strong will. 
Sorry for long message. 

I can’t thank enough! Please take care! Thank you.
(Translated by Emi)


From Mio's mother

Thank you for taking care of Mio.

She started new term from 6th and my son entered new school also.
On the 3rd, 8 children came back with smile and sense of fulfilment and accomplishment which was so different from the nervousness at the time they left.

They became closer, so at the report meeting, they complimented each other and took photos in a photo booth on the amusement area afterwards. 
This is the proof of their growth in this project and I am so thankful.

Mio said she wants to understand English and be able to speak more. Also she realised that she needs to work harder to make her dreams come true.
I hope she utilises this experience and keeps studying English.
Playing rock hard on the beach, talking to people like Maki a lot, being nurtured, showing her dance with much courage, getting beautiful pastel art and certificate...etc., all her precious memories of her life! Thank you so much.♡

I'd like to thank this project which is supported by Maki, Yasuyo&Ema (host family), everyone in Cairns.
I've heard that Maki has 8 year old son. It must have been so tough to organise this project while taking care of him. Thank you so much for your great effort.

We will keep moving forward bit by bit, sharing this experience and delivering anything we can do.

We will report some more later! (Translated by Sanae)



It was a very good opportunity to revise about nuclear power plant with kids by participating in Cairns project.

Koki was a Year2 student at the time of 2011, but had feeling a serious situation
I strongly remember that we talked about "Why was he born in Fukushima?"

So As parents, we didn't want to kids worry too much about,
For that reason, I have lived with consideration and caring.

Furthermore, myself was full with the sense of loss and sadness that "beautiful mountains and rivers in Fukushima are not safe forever"
It was difficult to talk with the child about the disaster.

I am thankful for this opportunity to seriously consider the disaster.

Also, We really appreciated many people support this projects and Thank you so much.


From Koki's mum

Thank you very much.

Koki came home very refreshed and energised. I really appreciated your help, Koki had a fulfilled experience and much more fantastic activities than I expected.

Thank you as well for the up-to-date information through the photos, videos, essays and translations during their stay. I thought you were cutting down your sleeping time doing those uploads… thank you so much. I appreciate all the supports from everyone.

Not only for Koki, but also for us, Cairns is the special place now.
I heard of your continuous effort from Koki…thank you so much.

Dear all supporters of Cairns Refresh Camp,

I am Koki Hisada’s mum. 
I was impressed that Koki and all other children came back home filled with sparkling energy from Cairns.

**Feedback for the project**

* What they do 

It was good for us that we could watch what they did every single moment through the posts with photos of Smile with Kids and Kodama-san. They must have been very busy posting everyday. Thank you very much Kodama-san, Maki-san and all other supporters. I thought they sacrificed their sleeping time. I was wishing them not to push themselves too much.
 About the program
Every experience they had made them think well or made them enjoy Cairns very much. I appreciated all those things.

Fukushima is rich in nature, however, it has been normal that we avoid the outside activities such as camps, swimming in the ocean or lakes and climbing mountains since the disaster in 2011. We had to think it was a normal life even though it was totally limited because we didn’t want to make the children too nervous. Through this program, Koki experienced the things he could not have done ever…such as enjoying ocean with no hesitation being invited to the Frankland Island and camping at the farm…
Watching the activities, we parents realised that we forced him live a limited life. The issue of the nuclear power plant won’t be solved, therefore the experiences he had this time was really precious.
The experience of listening and discussing directly the Windmill farm, Paronella Park, Eco Banana Farm and Japanese & Australian history session should become the base of thinking in the future for the kids.
I also appreciate all the invitations from the people during the stay including fantastic activities and special cares.

Koki told us the people in Cairns listened well to his story about Fukushima’s current situation, this is also motivated me to regret that I avoided to discuss about the nuclear accident after the earthquake being too sad.

* About the homestay
Surrounded by the great hostfamily members, Koki not only stayed without any concerns, but also enjoyed very much. We were also relieved like he was. I really appreciate that they tried many times if they could go through the road on the flooded day, that they gave some cold relief when he had a runny nose and all other helps have been done thinking for him.

It was also a good opportunity for Koki to experience an Australian family life and it was wonderful. Thank you Miki-san, Jeremy-san and Tatsumi-kun! I am looking forward to keeping in touch between two families from now.

I think this program was not only enjoyable and fulfilled experience but also a great chance for the kids to think about nature, history, international communications, disaster assists, food and life. On the day he came back to Japan, he said “I am thinking what I can do from now.” We, parents are willing to think as well…what we can do now. I sincerely appreciate all the experiences he had. Also I appreciate all the support of everyone from the bottom of my heart. I cannot express with the words though, thank you for all anyway.

Koki’s mum
Kazuko Hisada

I felt lots of passion from Koki after back from Cairns. He bring passion home from Cairns.I think this is not Koki, All other kids went to Cairns together also.
I really appreciated wonderful experience.
Thank you very much for everything.Also Thank you very much for all team.


From Sachiko Nomura (Mizuki’s mum): 

Thank you for your supporting and caring for Mizuki. Participating in the camp has caused her to think that learning English is integral to her future. Moreover, she had an opportunity to learn about other aspects 
of war that she has not been taught at school. Furthermore, learning that she was able to participate thanks to so many people’s support has caused her to have attitude of gratitude. It has really been an opportunity for Mizuki to grow as a person. This is all thanks to Maki san, Kodama san and everyone. 

Thank you so much. After returning to Japan, Mizuki started listening to English radio, which I hope she continues. 
Wishing for your good health and ongoing work in this project. 
Mizuki’s mother, Sachiko

Translated by Akina Koh


Message from Wakana Takeda's mother Yuri Takeda

Thank you so much for all the support which enabled the children from Fukushima to visit Australia.
Thank you for the care that was taken to look after them during their stay. Wakana told me of the incident where the first thing she said to Maki-san wh
en they met was “I left my camera on the plane!” Just one of the many things that happened that I am sure caused inconvenience and concern. My apologies for the trouble caused. Thank you so much.

Since she has returned to Australia, she has told us that the thing that left the biggest impression on her is not only the amazing experiences she had, but how amazing all the people were that she met in Cairns.
For her, meeting such amazing adults through this Project has been an experience which has given her the motivation to become a better person. 

It is now 7 years since the disaster in Fukushima; there are many changes. In the video presented at the Japan Day of Hope event, there were many images of Fukushima as it is today, with Geiger counters and bags of contaminated soil. In Fukushima, the sight of these things have become so familiar, we don’t even notice them anymore, despite how unnatural they actually are. How on earth has it come to this? How do I feel about it? 

These are questions that Wakana asked herself as she considered her memories of the events 7 years ago, and as she grew to understand more of the issues surrounding the problem. Moreover, being away from home and surrounded by such amazing natural beauty, she considered how the things she had thought “normal” were not at all present, and realised that they were actually very “abnormal”.

When she returned to Japan, we were deeply impressed by the new maturity she displayed in her expression of gratitude for the experience. She talks about going from being someone who has received support, to wanting to be someone who gives the support.

She understands that she has received much support to bring her to where she is now. She is thinking about what shape the support that she gives should take. I would like Waka to think about all the different ways people have helped her, and to grow to be someone who works to support others in the future. Indeed, just like Maki-san, who she met in Cairns, please continue to shine as the brightest star for the children of Fukushima to aim for. Thank you so much. With so much gratitude.

Yuri Takeda

(Translated by Inge)


From the mother of Nana Maruyama

Thank you for looking after my daughter! 
Here in Fukushima, we’ve been having warm sunny days and the cherry blossom came to its full bloom quickly. It was a warm summer-like day today with 27℃! The children came home,
 with a bit of tanned skin, with no sign of tiredness at all.

I was most grateful with the photos during the refreshment camp. They were posted on real-time so I felt like I was also in Cairns with the children. My parents also kept asking me like what is Nana doing now? Has she sent you any photos? They must have been worried about her too. I sincerely felt thankful for your effort on top of all the busy schedule and some unexpected troubles.
At the post-camp presentation, the 8 children looked as if they were different kids from the first day in which they were anxious and shy. They were actively setting up the venue, confidently waiting at the seats, answering to the questions by willingly raising their hands… I was just so amazed.

Their English speeches were confident and had been much improved, we could easily imagine the time they had in Cairns from how they answered the questions, and they were not just telling what they’ve learned but also adding their own opinions to their answers. I was really impressed. 

Also it was good that the last year’s participants came to this presentation as their questions meant a lot for them. Through them I was able to imagine my daughter being further grown up after one year and being able to care about the next year’s participants like them. I truly feel grateful about many people’s support for this project. Thank you so much!!

Tomoe Maruyama

(Translated by Yuka Nakamura)


From Sumire Noda’s mother:

Thank you so much for the incredible care you have taken of my child.
Yesterday, I heard many stories from Sumire about her time in Cairns. My daughter is not usually chatty, but while she showed me the photos of the trip, sh
e seemed to be so happy as she spoke. She kept going until well past midnight. (Won’t she ever tire?!)

It think that certainly, for Sumire, the time she spent in Cairns was truly the most wonderful.
Thank you for all the effort that went in to uploading every day’s photos and activities to Facebook. Due to this, our family could feel like we were close to Cairns, and we were not missing Sumire as we might have expected.
Moreover, I was able to witness my daughter mature, and it made me feel deeply emotional and very happy.
With the efforts of the people of Cairns, Sumire was able to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I am overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude which I cannot express in words.
I am sure there are many things that Sumire realised while in Cairns. I look forward to seeing how these grow over time. I hope that she is always honest and respectful, and challenges herself. 
Another thing, I think that she learnt in Cairns that she has lots of amazing friends to be with, that the world is a welcoming and friendly place, and that the future is something they can build together, themselves. 
Thank you for this most wonderful, amazing present.
It is Sumire’s greatest treasure.

Lastly, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Denise-san and her relatives who took care of Sumire (I heard that many came to visit Sumire during her stay). Thank you for taking her to the beach to play in the sand and collect sea shells together. Thank you for preparing delicious meals. Thank you so much for receiving Sumire with such warmth and kindness.

Please give my regards to Denise-san.
And finally, finally, thanks to Maki-san, the most wonderful travel memories have been made. Sumire really enjoyed her time playing with Tim. She told me he is really cute. Please give my regards to Tim too.

My message has become long, but I am so deeply grateful that Sumire has met you.
I look forward to the day to see you, myself.
Thank you.

Satomi Noda 

(Translated by Inge Arnold )


This is a message from Mahiro Fukuda:

Hi this is Mahiro! I’ve just had the Entrance Ceremony and the Start-of-the-Year Ceremony. Our school band performed a mini concert. I was proud to play the drum with them! I am enjoying everyday! Many people ask me “How was Australia?” and I always answer “It was sooooo awesome!!” 
It was truly an awesome time so I miss Australia even now when I recall the days I spent there. I am aware that I am responsible to tell as many people as possible about what I’ve learned in Australia so I will keep working towards it! Recently I feel that I have more opportunities to share my own opinion at school and think through various things. This is purely thanks to Maki-san and all the people I met in Australia. I am willing to keep brushing myself up!
And I have a question.
My Science teacher said that the tsukushi (young stalk of a plant called field horsetail) in the wild are edible. It should be edible for sure, but I wondered if it was safe to eat them since the nuclear disaster contaminated the land. I don’t particularly care too much about the food safety in Fukushima, but I thought it’s a bit extreme to eat the tsukushi in the wild. What do you think, Maki-san?
Please send my warm regards to everyone. 

(Translated by Yuka Nakamura)

Message from 
Mahiro's mother Sumiko Fukuda

She never become home sick during stay and she said that she wanted to stay in Australia longer.
I thought she could have a wonderful experience in Cairns and I am so glad about it.
This is because of lots of love and support from hostfamily and all staff.
We really appreciated.Thank you very much.
I wish her bright future with this great experience.
Thank you very much.


Thank you very much for all your support.

This is movie at Frankland Islands.

Some kids have never swum in the ocean before and they really enjoy the day out at Frankland Islands.


Also Please listen their speech by English as well.

Thank you!