We will have an annual general meeting at 10:30am on Tuesday 22nd October at Edge Hill Area. If you can join our meeting, please contact us by Messenger, email: email@example.com or 0403-112-116. Thank you very much! Smile with Kids
Message from Fukushima kid's parents. (Translated by Emi, Akina, Yuka and Sanae. ) Thank you very much for all your support for this project. We really appreciate it.
The children looked so content and I really think they grew up a lot during the camp. I would like to send a sincere gratitude toward all the people who cared about our children. Thank you so much. The earthquake and the nuclear disaster were very shocking and sad incidents, however, we feel that our children are very lucky to be able to gain such warm experience after all. We adults will have to work towards it too; towards Fukushima's recovery, in a real sense.
A big thank you to many of you. From Karin's parent (Mrs Akemi Hirakuri) ___________________________ Thank you Maki for looking after my son during the Refresh Camp! After yesterday's report session, I could feel how fulfilled everyday was for the children and I was full of pleasure, pride and gratitude. It was Yuushi's first overseas trip and I guess he was more anxious until the depature day. I suppose, coming to an unknown land where people speak in a different language, having to spend time with new people and even staying at a stranger's house by himself would have been a lot of pressure for Yuushi and other children. However, seeing their pictures, movies and diaries that's posted everyday, I could not help adoring all the children! After they arrived in Cairns, my husband and I felt relieved seeing the pictures that you and Mr.Kodama posted. We really appreciated that. Yuushi was saying he was looking forward to going to the Great Barrier Reef before the departure. But after coming back from Cairns, what impressed him the most was Nick's (self-sustainable) life style. When I heard that from Yuushi, it reminded me of the story of "Hummingbird's droplet". It reminded me to simply continue doing what I can do like the humming bird in that story or like Nick. I am looking forward to how Yuushi is going to grow after meeting such an inspiring person. Thank you for a wonderful encounter. Although the camp is over, I wish Yuushi will remember what he felt and learned in Cairns and keep them alongside his life all the time. I don't want that to become just a memory of the past. While Yuushi was in Cairns I took my Year1 son to a different refreshment camp in Kanagawa. I went there for the first time, but I heard from the staff that they ran out of the subsidy and funding with this time, and they cannot schedule the next camp for a while. This is the reality even within the country. But in such a situation I realised that without the support and helps from so many people we were not able to send Yuushi to Cairns. I strongly wish that this project will continue for a long time. Thank you so much Maki and all the staff from Smile With Kids!! Yushi's mum Miki Ito ＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿ Thank you so much everyone of SWK and people in Cairns who took care of kids. By being exposed to Australian nature, healed by beautiful ocean in Cairns, also touched by generous people, They had a great experience and grew up with wider point of view, not just being refreshed. I am so grateful. Thank you for fulfilled days in Cairns with walking barefoot, lying down on the lawn, things they cannot do in Fukushima with precious smile in nature. They still miss Cairns so much. All kids said they want to learn good Australian culture and talk to people friendlily. Someday we'd like to visit you and return the favour. It was very nice to know you. Thank you. Ayaka's mother Naomi Fujii ＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿ Thank you for the time at the Cairns refreshment camp.
On the day of departure, the children seemed out of their comfort zone and looked quite serious.
My son is naturally quite chatty. He could get along well easily with boys his age. However, he later told me he thought about how best to approach older boy and girls, and did his best to interact with them.
I was able to discover that my son has been able to care for others and think about how he could create opportunities for strangers to become friends.
My son departed saying he wants to tell people about Fukushima and its current state. However, I sent him off wondering just how much he really knows about Fukushima, and how he might communicate that to others.
It seems like each day he was able to find his own voice and made inroad in that.
English isn’t his forte, and in terms of pronunciation, he may have struggled the most out of all the participants. Despite this, he tried to convey messages from his heart, and he gave his very best.
His experiences and challenges of being affected by the nuclear power plant accident, his feelings now that he has grown... I hope that even a little bit of what he wanted to say has been conveyed to the people in Cairns.
My son enjoyed every day in Cairns surrounded by wonderful nature and warm people.
He got to experience so many things he wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
I am so thankful to those who organised this camp, those who supported this initiative, those in various locations who warmly welcomed our children, and those who listened to their speeches.
I believe that meeting you all was my son’s greatest treasure.
Each moment he was shown kindness, sincerity and care.... that each precious moment is contributing to my son’s growth as a person. The warmth of people is something we can’t see with our eyes, but this is what is truly important.
Two weeks have passed since he returned to Fukushima. In our daily conversations, he uses English expressions here and there, like “YES!” and “Oh”. Haha
From that, I imagine how much h familiarised himself with English and enjoyed his time in Cairns.
Learning about war was also significant. He took interest in war memorial ceremony on television. He shared with his friends about stories he heard of the devastation and cruelty of war, and expresses that he wants peaceful future.
Finally, I really want to say thank you to the host family who welcomed my son warmly as their own: Omar, Melinda, Zahir and Asha (apologies from the translator if the spelling is incorrect). He said he really enjoyed the time with the host family, and it was a place of rest and relief. For all the places they have taken my son, the delicious food, for all the laundry... I don’t have enough words of thanks.
Thank you so much!
Thank you also to everyone at Smile with Kids. Yua's mather Maki Kanno ＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿ Thank you for supporting the preparations leading up to, and during the time in Cairns.
I want to express my thanks to Maki, host families and everyone involved in the project.
Before the departure, it was reassuring to be able to hear testimonies from previous participants and meet Maki in person. I could send off my son without any worry because I could ask questions over emails and Messenger. It was helpful being able to get in touch with the host family in advance. It was reassuring for parents, and it built excitement for my son that it’s really happening.
At the ‘departure ceremony’, my son seemed to make speech only when others have put their hands up to do it. However, at the ‘reporting meeting’ after the trip, he was very willing to say his thoughts, and I could see a big change. There were many opportunities to talk to people in Cairns and make speeches, and I felt that those experiences have shaped the change.
I’m also grateful to his host family. It seems like he enjoyed the meals, the conversations and daily walks with the dog. On the ‘free day’, he talked about going to a market, taking a look at bunjee jumping site, and was given a go at selling sausages at their daughter’s school fundraiser sausage sizzle. My son said he would have liked another day of free day with his host family. At the same time, I appreciate the challenges around fitting in time amidst busy schedules.
He was surprised by how big and glamorous Peaceboat passenger boat was.
The farm stay and hearing from various people at places they visited have created valuable opportunities to learn about something he never knew and to think more.
As for the timing of the respite camp...
My son tells me it was neither too hot nor too cold, and was not too cold to go into the sea. We apologise for the inconveniences when Taisei was feeling torn about going to Cairns as his school team proceeded to compete at the prefectural tournament.
Many junior high school students in Japan are involved in extracurricular activities, like sports, and if their teams do well and get to play in prefectural tournament, the dates will likely overlap with the trip. For prospective participants who play sports, they may struggle to decide which one to prioritise, and subsequently choose not to apply to the Cairns program. However, in Taisei’s case, he had wonderful time in Cairns, so there is no regret in withdrawing from sports competition.
Thank you for everything. We treasure this encounter and look forward to keeping in touch. Taisei's mother Mieko Kanno ＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿
Thank you for all your care during the camp. When my daughter came back, she was saying "I want to go back to Cairns", and I knew she had a good time and was very well looked after. She started thinking about her future too, and at the parent-teacher interview she was mentioning that she wanted to go to a high school in Cairns and she wanted to help out Maki's team. Although it was a short time, she came back with a wider perspective, and she can now think about Fukushima and Japan from a different point of view. I appreciate that. Please look after Miko again when she happens to work in Cairns in the future. From Miko's parent (Mrs.Chiharu Kanbayashi)
_____________________________ Today, our kids came back home safely. Thank you very much. I saw the 8 students who reported in the meeting today, everyone looked very nice. I realised that they grew up through their experiences. They told us that everyone in Cairns were very nice and they all had their individual say. It was also good for them to learn about the uranium mining and the wars, which they could never learn in school in Japan. I appreciated that they had fantastic experiences, as well as the fact that my son could leave Fukushima for a while. My family was exposed to radiation more than other students and a lump of an A2 level was detected in his thyroid (could be an issue in the thyroid), that is why we feel more anxious than the others. The radioactive cecium was not found through the whole body counter, but found from our urine. We try to be careful when we eat, but we actually had some opportunities to dine out. The amount of radioactive cecium was less in the bodies of kids who went out of Fukushima for refresh camps than the kids who were too busy to go out doing the school activities in Fukushima. It makes me feel how important the refresh camps are. The word “RECOVERY” waives our “ANXIETY” in Japan. In this situation, we are really grateful that you reached your hands out to us for support. Maki and everyone else who supported us, thank you very much. In Fukushima, people are severe to us, who talk our own idea about the things we feel dangerous for.(Actually my son had an experience to be told by his classmate not to talk in the class when they were learning about the radiation.) However during the refresh camps, he could mention whatever he felt and everyone received it as it was. The nature in Australia was great and he was moved by it. We appreciated that he could meet the beautiful people and nature. Thank you so much. Especially I am really grateful for Maki san. Thank you. I am also grateful for the people who supported us. When the disaster occurred, I believed the health and safety myths in Japan. Soon after, I felt something weird and asked the city council to distribute the iodine tablets (Iodine is used for radiation emergencies to protect the thyroid gland against radioactive iodides), but they gave me a cold shoulder over the phone. Meanwhile, I found that the staff and their families of a big hospital in Fukushima took those tablets. The people who helped us were not the government but the citizens. In Australia, he touched the warm hearts of everyone and had great memories. Thank you very much! ______________________________________ From Yuuhi's parent (Mr or Mrs Watanabe) I am glad that my daughter was able to take part in this Cairns Refreshment Camp. The first thing I felt was that she has learned how to interact with people. When she could not make herself understood in another language, I think she was trying to act more from her own will. As for the earthquake disaster, we weren't sure how we were supposed to be even if we were the victims, but after the camp, I think we got the strong message that nothing will change unless WE change. From the experience during the camp, she understood the importance of thinking from her own will, and that will be her treasure for the future. I am also pleased about the new friendship formed among the 8 children of different age and gender. Last but not least, I would like to say thank you to the host family who had a pet but yet cared about my daughter's animal allergy. Thank you so much for looking after my daughter.
Fukushima kids went to back to Fukushima and they did final speech in Fukushima.
All students did very well.
During their staying in Cairns, Fukushima kids really felt people's warm support.
These are message from children.
Thank you very much for your great support.
To everyone in Cairns
Through this project, I was given courage. Everyone in Cairns welcomed us warmly and encouraged us. It made me so happy. I really enjoyed my time in Cairns. At first, I was worried, but people in Cairns welcomed us in very kindly. Thank you so much. 8 years ago, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred. Tsunamis and the nuclear power plant accident had a big impact on the hearts of many people. Due to this disaster, food in Fukushima became not safe to eat. Now, we've made some recovery, but there are still many foods with restrictions on shipment. Moreover, children in Fukushima need to take thyroid check up every year. Through this project, we were able to experience many things that we could not have done in Fukushima. They were all very enjoyable. Thank you so much for your support to this project. I'll keep on taking steps towards my dreams. THANK YOU!!
To everyone in Cairns
Thank you so much to Maki san and so many people who helped us greatly.
Thank you so much.
I was able to come here and spend time freely.
There was nothing to worry about and no restrictions holding us back. It was very enjoyable.
We will go back to Japan. Now that we have learnt so many things, I feel that we have a duty to share our experiences with people in Japan.
I will not forget the time in Cairns.
I will come back ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ
Please give me a place to stay when that happens lol
Finally, thank you so much.
Please come to Japan ♡
To everyone in Cairns
Thank you for your support for people of Fukushima. Thanks to your help, I made many great memories. On the first day, we took part in the event. It was then that I experienced for the first time hosting a stall. It was a hot day and it was tiring. It was only a few hours but I became very tired, and that was something I never experienced before. However, I'm aware that you've spent many more countless hours doing things like hosting stalls for us. I thought it was really tough. If it were me, I couldn't have done it. For others. Not yourselves, but for others. I was so exhausted just for that few hours. I can't even begin to imagine what it would've been like for you. I thought that I'd like to work for others in the future. The people that I encountered in Cairns were all very kind and smiley. The fact that I was able to spend an ordinary life is a precious treasure. After the Great East Japan Earthquake, there are many children who evacuated from Fukushima. Some of them have been treated badly at their new schools, being called germs. I saw such news often. After seeing that, I became afraid of going outside the prefecture, even when travelling to Tokyo with my family. Thoughts such as "what would happen to us if people saw the car plate and found out we were from Fukushima?" went through my head. Amidst these experiences, I participated in this project. The people I encountered through this project talked to me with smiles on their faces. My worried disappeared at once. I felt strongly that Japan would be a better place if people like you were around more. Thanks to everyone in Cairns, I became more cheerful. I can't say it enough. At the same time, I felt that true goal of disaster recovery is change in people. If people could look at the children of Fukushima without the lens of discrimination, like the people in Cairns did, I thought that Japan would become better. That's what I learnt. In Cairns, I had so many experiences, like playing outside with heart abandoned, and communicating with so many people... Everything is a treasure, and a memory for life. This is all thanks to your help. There are not enough words to express my thanks. I can't wait to come back to Cairns. One day, I will repay your kindness. One day, everyone will like Fukushima. One day, people of Fukushima will be smiling. One day, we'll return to the Fukushima that was before the disaster. With much thanks.
To everyone in Cairns
The people in Cairns were cheerful, friendly and considerate. Brent and Olivia, who were my host family, and everyone in Cairns, welcomed us warmly. While spending time being refreshed in the grand nature of Cairns, I learnt many things with my friends. The 11 days here have become an irreplaceable experience. I also made many friends. I talked to many people and laughed. So I'm sad to say goodbye. However, I'll definitely come back. To everyone in Cairns, to all who supported us, to all the friends I shared laughter with, and to Brent and Olivia, I look forward to seeing you again! Thank you so much!
To everyone in Cairns
Thank you for your help the last 11 days. At the BBQ on 30th, I was reminded how we were able to come to Cairns thanks to your support. Thanks to you, we could come to Cairns and go on the plane to go back to Japan. Fukushima has made good progress with disaster recovery. However, the main problem of radiation has not improved at all and requires ongoing assistance. Once this problem settles, I will definitely repay your kindness. Thank you very much.
To everyone in Cairns
Thank you for helping me in so many various places throughout the last 10 days. Thanks to you, I was able to have a great time. I was really moved that you have such big heart for children on Fukushima. It was good to be able to share about Fukushima now and about the disaster.
Yua Kanno To everyone in Cairns I applied to take part in this project with the intent to share what happened on the day of the Great East Japan Earthquake with my own voice, and to experience intercultural exchange. I am not very good at English. Therefore, I was concerned whether I could convey the situation. However, many people in Cairns have been so kind to me. If I say, "hi", I'll get a "hi" back. People would try to understand me even if I used broken English, and talk to me using simple English, so I found it very helpful. I was also worried whether I would be able to communicate well with the host family, but thanks to various people's help, I was able to communicate with them. Each day, or rather, each second with my host family has been enjoyable. I'm so thankful! Now that I think about it, in the first three days, I was thinking: "Omar is so good at Japanese! So if English doesn't work out, I'll just wait for him to speak in Japanese." If I could, I would speak some sense into myself back then!
I met various people who cared for the earth and its environment, such as (Frank at) eco banana farm, Taka and his organic farm, and Nick who leads a self-sustained lifestyle. I'd like to apply what I learnt to my own life. Other than this, I was really surprised to hear stories from Masa (on history) and also about the stories around uranium. What I learnt from Masa, I want to share it with everyone. With the stories on uranium, I was really touched that there was so much care (from the aboriginal people) towards us, as if people of Fukushima were their grandchildren. The white people were not that good... is what I feel honestly. When I shared about the current situation in Fukushima, Australian people were kind and sincere, nodding to what we were saying and at times uttering "oh no". Then there were the aboriginal people, Paronella Park, tropical rainforest, the sea... There is so much to write about but that will take forever so I'll need to wrap it up lol. Finally, I want to say thank you to Smile with Kids and Mr Kodama for running this project!! Please call me if you need anyone to share anything. I'll go all over Japan, or even the world!! (Illustration of a map of Japan with an arrow pointing towards African continent). Please keep up your good work!! Thank you so much.
To everyone in Cairns
Thank you so much for all your support. It was my first time to go overseas and I was worried whether my English would be understood. However, everyone was kind, and they could speak Japanese fluently, so although I was exhausted on my first day, I felt good. A big thank you to: Peace Boat, Wa Band, Botanic Garden, Sushi Train, Eco Banana Farm, Paronella Park, organic farm, Rainforest Station, Nick;s house, Frankland Islands, OK Gift Shop, the all boys school. There are so many others who supported us - thank you so much! Your support and generous donations enabled us to go to many different places and make wonderful memories. It was so fun I almost didn't want to go back to Japan. I was that happy. But I have to go back, so I will return to Japan. I will share my experiences with my friends, teachers and family in Japan, and I want them to come to Cairns. I would like to come back some day. I want to improve my English and put in some effort! Thank you very much!!
First impressions: Maki, Masayo, Jun and Yoshiki came to the airport to see us off. My host mother and host sister have been saying "thank you" right until the end, and I felt the same in return.
Reflections: After transiting from plane, to train, then to another train, we arrived at the hotel at about 10 o'clock. We were all tired and hot, but we arrived safely. It has been just under two weeks since we were last in Japan. Soaking in a hot bath tub, I felt glad to be home. Today is the last report. Day by day, the feeling of gratitude grew stronger. Wherever we went and whatever we did, we could not do anything without helping hands, and was once again thankful for the support and help of all the people. Next time, I'd love to be on the side of helping others, and I want to work hard to repay the kindness of everyone in Cairns!! I will not forget how I received help from so many people. Thank you so much.
Yuuhi Watanabe In the morning, I said goodbye to my host family. I received a letter from them and it made me happy. After that, Maki and others came to the airport. I was glad I could say thank you. Thank you so much. On the plane, a male flight attendant took care of us. We got to watch movies for free. We were so happy. We arrived safely to Narita airport. It was way too hot. I realised how Cairns was actually cool. Within five minutes I was sweating. The dinner while being exhausted and being hot tasted delicious.
We arrived at the hotel. We soaked in bath for the first time in a long while. It was all the more refreshing.
I'm thankful to so many people in Australia.
First impressions: Japan (Tokyo) is humid and hot and I miss Cairns.
Reflections: In the morning, it was very sad to say goodbye to Chris, Clare and Emi chan. Although I cannot see Emi chan, Chris and Clare said they plan on visiting Japan next year so I hope to be able to see them. On the plane, there was a very kind flight attendant who gave us really friendly service. It was a really fun flight. Transit was also fun and it became a good memory. Tokyo was very humid and it made me want to go back to Cairns. I soaked into warm bath tub for the first in a long while and it felt blissful! Thank you to everyone who supported us.
* Saying goodbye to Australia (Cairns) * In-flight meal was butter chicken. * Karin had a face expression she would not show to the staff and said something witty in an instant.
Reflections: After 11 days stay in Australia, I was able to say proper goodbye to my host family. * I came to really love Australia and thought that I would like to come back by myself. * The view of Australian sea from the plane was magnificent. * At the accommodation, I was able to talk a lot with some people from Fukuoka. * I was able to talk about current situation in Fukushima and why they came from Fukuoka. I was able to take initiative in conversations. * In the middle of the night, we all got together in boys' room and played cards. * It was quite "recuperation" any more. * I was the oldest but I could not stop them (from playing til late).
It was a day to say goodbye to Australia. It was sad. Reflections: Today, we departed from Australia. I was able to go Australia thanks to everyone's support, so I want to remember gratitude. Also, the flight attendant showed us movies for free. On the train, we played a card game called "Daifugo". I played the game for the first time and learnt the rules.
First impressions: We departed Australia. It was really sad. The flight attendant on the plane let us watch the movies for free. I felt really grateful.
Reflections: Today was the day we left Australia. I felt really sad to say goodbye to Brent. However, it was all made possible thanks to the help and support of everyone, so I intend to go on without forgetting thankfulness.
We got to watch movies for free on the plane. Thank you!
On the train, we played UNO. We also played a card game called "Daifugo".
At night, we got silly and continued to play cards past our bed time. We reflected and thought we could have been better, especially when we are receiving so much support from people.
First impressions: I saw the hotel room (of this particular accommodation) for the first time.
I watched movies on plane. Reflection: Today was the da we said goodbye to Cairns. I decided that today I won't cry!! I was able to farewell without tears. Also, I got connected with Omar via LINE app, so I can get in touch with him any time!! I would love to go back to Cairns some day!! To those who found us host families, and to all host families. Thank you so much! --- On the plane, I became friends with a Chinese man, and he ended up treating me to movies and bread. Thank you! --- On the train, we played a card game called "Daifugo". One of the players was so strong, that person got called "Monster King" lol.
I arrived at the hotel. I'm going to go play UNO.
First impressions: Today, we said goodbye to Cairns. It was very sad, but I was happy that Masayo, Jun, Yoshiki and Maki came to the airport to see us off. Due perhaps to the fact that Japan is more humid than Cairns, the moment we landed at Narita airport, I started to sweat. Japan is a good place, but I felt that Cairns is also a good place. It made me want to go back to Cairns.
Reflections: One of the male cabin attendant treated us very kindly on the plane. Once Mr Kodama talked to that person, we were able to watch movies on the plane. Normally you'd have to pay to watch it, but we could watch it for free. We were very happy. I watched two movies and played many games. I also listened to music. It was a pleasant flight. He also gave us great service and I really admired him. For dinner, I ate spaghetti with shrimp and tomato cream sauce. It was so delicious I walloped it. The accommodation was a youth hostel. It had a great atmosphere. After checking in, I went to the room. It had large windows and it was very spacious. After that, it was bath time. There, I met a lady who lives in San Francisco. She said Japan is a very good place. I agree that Japan has beautiful landscapes, such as cherry blossom and Mount Fuji. To everyone in Cairns and to all who supported us, thank you so much. We loved our days in Cairns.