Tuesday, June 14, 2011

'boarders and bunnies

dear friends,

I know I'm way behind on updates; the days have flown past, with little time to sleep or eat, let alone write. The only reason I have a minute now is because the car has broken down and I am on the train back to Fukushima.

Last time I left you with the promise of Olympic snowboarders and other shenanigans.
Kazu Dispatch 18 09
JEARS crew and volunteers.
Over Golden Week, we had a rash of volunteers who came up to work with us for the week. One of these was the snowboarder Kazu Kokubo, a sweet young guy with an Olympics under his belt and a couple of other trophies, like the recent Burton US Open. Here we are in Minami Soma, just outside the 20 km. exclusion zone blockade. Left to right, it's Isabella Gallaon-Aoki, JEARS founder and founder of Animal Friends Niigata, David Wybenga, JEARS founder and Japan Cat Net founder, Susan Mercer, JEARS founder and Heart Tokushima founder, me, Tales Mello, an engineering student from Osaka, Nori Watanabe, Kazu's cameraman, Carl Harris, Kazu's friend and agent for this trip, and Kazu Kokubo.

Kazu has written a great blog for this trip at Snowboarder magazine (that's my geiger counter he's got down his pants).
animal friends

After visiting Animal Friends on Wednesday, we set out early on Thursday morning for Soma City, just north of the exclusion zone.
The town of Soma is mostly shut.

In front of Soma City Hall.
There we visited some evacuation centers and distributed pet food, and had a run-in with an angry drunk evacuee who berated us for not bringing enough dog food for everyone. When we proffered him some kibble, he admitted that he did not have a dog.
Outside an evacuation center in Soma.

Goats in Soma.
We also visited a small festival where there were some lonely farm animals hanging around, looking forlorn but with their people nearby. On the way back from the festival, we passed a cage holding some rabbits with a sign saying "free". When Isabella stopped to talk to the owners, she found they could not take care of all of them, so in short order we had a rabbit in tow.

From Soma, we made our way to the Minami Soma area. Minami Soma sits at the north edge of the 20 km. exclusion zone, with part of the town inside and part of the town outside the zone. En route, we traveled along the coast, through the debris field.
Kazu Dispatch 18 18
Photo from Kazu's blog.
I was driving a van with some of the founders and some volunteers inside, and someone asked - do you ever find animals here? We all replied - not anymore. It's been a month and a half since the quake, there aren't any more animals to be pulled from the rubble.
Just as we finished saying it, someone yelled, and we all spotted the dog emerging from the vast and barren wasteland, tail wagging. Our small caravan quickly pulled over and we rushed to don gloves, masks, grab slip leads, and find dog treats.

This guy was so friendly and eager to see people that it was a snap to get him in the van and secured with a bowl of food to snack on. I nicknamed him Barney since he came from the rubble.

I'd like to dedicate the rescue of Bun and Barney to Emma aka Emu, who was so kind to send me a donation, and JB, who worked hard to spread the word by blogging our activities and sent our video out to several places, including getting the video on Cute Overload - a major accomplishment! Thanks ladies for your help and support, love ya.



  1. What an amazing job your doing. Barney looks pretty good for coming out of the rubble a month and a half on!! And bun is beautiful.

  2. Aww Selena! I treasure them! Xxxxx

  3. Sorry about your geiger counter. I'm sure if he knew it was yours and not Tim's he wouldn't have stuck it down his pants haha.

    1. It's no bigs, ha. That counter has since been dropped in the zone by another volunteer, oops. Thanks for coming by!