Official Communication: Nanae to Concord after the Earthquake

–Translated by Ben Mirin, CIR, and Emi Kimura, Assistant CIR–

March 17th, 2011

Nanae Town Office

Nanae-cho, Kameda-gun

Hokkaido, Japan 041-1192


Board of Selectmen’s Office

Concord, Massachusetts 01742


Dear Chairman Wieand and Friends in Concord,

We deeply thank you for your expressed concerns and warm messages following the earthquake.  We are glad to inform you that Nanae did not sustain any damage.  However, the Tohoku (northeastern) and Kanto (eastern) areas of Japan are suffering from this disaster.  The earthquake and the tsunami caused massive damage to their towns and many people have died or gone missing.

This was the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since the government started keeping records.  Not only did it leave mortal damage and scars, but it also made many people lose their homes and evacuate to shelters.  There are no words to express how these people are feeling now or how hard their lives have become.

We are grateful to the American government for sending teams to Japan so quickly.  We thank all of our friends in Concord and the American nation for their support.

Right now our government is working with full force for a fast recovery.  The Town of Nanae is going to contribute as much as we can in this regard.



Yasukazu Nakamiya

Mayor of Nanae

Four Days after Record Japan Earthquake, Local Hokkaido Governments Send Aid

By Ben Mirin, CIR

March 15th, 2011

NANAE: Today, the Nanae Town Office began accepting financial donations for Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief.  The Office’s Welfare Section received donations from “Rhythm Friend” Sports Club (30,000 Yen), the Town Office’s General Affairs Section (12,081 Yen), and three private donors, for a total of 63,081 Yen on the first morning.*

Until today, residents in Nanae have been donating money through collection boxes at local convenience stores and through local post offices.

“I was able to send money through Nanae’s post office on Monday,” Nanae Town employee Nami Nishizawa said.  “As long as you address your envelope to a national organization like the Japanese Red Cross, it should go through okay.”

It is also possible to make donations with credit cards, though cash donations at local shops appear to be a more popular option among Nanae residents.

For those interested in making monetary donations, the Japanese Red Cross is a good bet.  All such donations collected at the Nanae Town Office are currently being sent there.

Nanae is also taking part in an all-Hokkaido human relief effort.  The prefectural government has just assembled a team of paramedics and firefighters from towns across the island that will travel to various locations on Honshu to help prevent further loss of life.  Representing Nanae are two firefighters and an ambulance loaded with supplies.  The team departed early this morning.

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Tsunamis Flood Hakodate: The Immediate Aftermath (more live video)

By Ben Mirin, CIR

It has been roughly 35 hours since Japan suffered from a magnitude 8.9 earthquake, the largest in the country’s recorded geological history.  Looking at the fault lines, it seems as if things are not over yet.

Indeed, as I write this I can feel recurring tremors in my apartment building in Nanae.  My door is open, my gas is turned off, my shelves are bare, and in a horrible transgression against Japanese etiquette…I’m wearing outside shoes indoors.

After a night of driving through Hakodate’s back roads with a tsunami at my back, I returned to the front lines this afternoon to provide an eyewitness account of the damage and ongoing cleanup efforts underway in the city’s waterfront district.
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Live Video on

By Ben Mirin, CIR

Dear followers of,

I wanted to call your attention to the live video feed on our website.  This feed uses a cellphone application called Qik, which allows me to upload a video in real time from anywhere in Japan.  The Qik video player here on the homepage will display the latest live video from this stream, but you can see more clips on our YouTube Channel or at

More up-to-date news is also available through our Twitter feeds.  Follow me, @benmirin, or the website, @Concordnanae.

I’m publishing this information now because Japan is currently struggling in the immediate aftermath of an earthquake that struck less than an hour ago.  Nanae only experienced a magnitude 4 earthquake, but northeastern Honshu suffered one that registered 7.9 on the Richter scale. Tsunamis are currently overtaking dozens of towns in and around the city of Sendai, but more news is always on the way. I will be using my Qik channel to post more updates.

Here is my first live video about the earthquake:

Stay tuned for more updates through the various channels on
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A Visit to Ohnakayama Common

By Ben Mirin, CIR

Camera Operator: Emi Kimura

Last week I made a special visit to Ohnakayama Common, Nanae’s beloved community center. I wanted to learn more about this important gathering place and its role in Nanae daily life, and to provide prospective visitors from Concord and beyond with an inside look at the rich variety of activities it can offer.

The clubs featured in this video are Ball-Tennis and Choir, respectively. The Common is also host to many clubs dedicated to traditional Japanese arts, including flower arrangement (Ikebana), tea ceremony, and Japanese martial arts. Finally, it is the site for the majority of the eikaiwa (pronounced “Ay kai wah,” meaning English conversation) classes that I teach every week.

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