Benjamin Erickson, a Seattle resident and former ALT in Nihone, Iwate-ken from 2006 – 2008, returns to Tohoku to reconnect with his former students, survey the progress of recovery in the region, promote tourism in the Tohoku region, and raise awareness of the ongoing situation in northeastern Japan.
Ben was heavily involved in local Seattle relief efforts immediately following the earthquake. He was a member of the technology team that created seattlejapanrelief.org, a donation portal that went live 3 days following the earthquake and tsunami. The seattlejapanrelief.org coalition has grown to over 80 participating community organizations and has raised through online and affiliated donations over $250,000 dollars in aid for Japan.
Ben’s tour begins with an orientation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo, after which he meets with staff from the Seattle-based relief organization Peace Winds America and their sister organization, Peace Winds Japan. After volunteering in the disaster zone, he heads to Ninohe City to visit his old stomping grounds and catch up with his elementary and junior high students there.
You can tap into his reflections on his adventure below:
- Sept. 22, 2011 (Homecoming: Day 1 in Ninohe)
- Sept. 21-22, 2011 (The Coast.)
- Sept. 20, 2011 (Day One: To the North)
- Sept. 19, 2011 (Arrival)
- Sept. 13, 2011 (Less than one week now)
- website: TohokuBen.com
- Twitter: @nambuben
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/TohokuBen/142462542515514