Show at Koriyama with La Caravane

Loony & Smiley the Clowns performing magic for children in Koriyama

This month we were invited to go along with La Caravane (a group of French and Japanese chefs who have been providing delicious hot meals to the people of Tohoku) to share some Christmas cheer with the children of Koriyama, Fukushima.
We were able to perform at the Koriyama Kindergarten and Elementary School where a total of 666 children were able to enjoy La Caravane’s delicious hot meals and our Magic show and balloons.
Here are some of the photos that we took from our trip.
It was a great experience working with La Caravane and being able to bring smiles to the children of Koriyama.

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Visit to Minamisouma Kindergarten

On October 24th we made our first trip to Minamisouma, located just outside the 30 km radius around the crippled nuclear power plant. We had received an email several weeks back from our friend at Rossignol who mentioned that they had 7 large boxes of children and women’s clothing to donate, and just a few days after that Mercidado NPO also asked us to help with their project in MInamisouma. We were very happy to have another opportunity to continue helping the people of Tohoku.   Here are a few photos from our trip.

One of the cute kids who helped us do some magic

Two representatives receiving pre-made balloons so that all the kids could take one home

Group photo with Yotsuba kindergarten kids and Mercidado

Christophe & Yasu delivering 7 boxes of clothing from DPAM toddler clothes and Rossignol Ski wear

We were scheduled to put on our show at Yotsuba kindergarten in Minamisouma for 60 children at 13:00, so we left early in the morning and made good time on the highway. Aside from running into a few road blocks due to high radiation readings near Minamisouma, we made it there safely. We were happy to find that the readings on our geiger counter at the kindergarten itself was relatively low and that the children all seemed to be in good health.

We’re thankful for the many kind and generous individuals who have made our relief and encouragement efforts possible. A special thanks to Jean Barthelemy at Rossignol, Pietro at Mercidado NPO and Christophe Bosquillon who helped to coordinate gathering needed items and supplies.

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Project Ray of Hope reaches Higashimatsushima

We set off for Higashimatsushima from Sendai in the morning, but since our shows were not till after the children returned from school we took a short detour to the town just west of Higashimatsushima.

This town was hit hard by the tsunami and as we made our way to the town we drove through areas where the original road had completely washed away. The temporary gravel roads took us through a section of the coastal town that had been completely wiped out.

One of the evacuees who is in charge of supplies at this small evacuation center

It was here that we found a small evacuation center where we were able to deliver t-shirts, children’s clothing, bug repellant and some art supplies. A kind lady who was in charge of distributing supplies at this small center gave us a very specific list of what was needed, including the sizes of children’s clothes needed.

These 3 mothers were happy to receive Uniqlo clothing and art supplies for their daughters. One of the mothers told us that they had lost everything and were very thankful for the quality clothing.

Just down the road we found 3 families living in a small town hall. Though the kids were at school the mothers were happy to receive clothes for their daughters in exactly the sizes that they needed. They told us that they had lost everything in the tsunami and were thankful for the summer clothes, bug repellant and toys for their children.

A mother with her 2 young boys came by at just the right time. We were happy to load her car with diapers and some of the toys she requested for her boys.

While there a young mother with 2 boys, a five year old and a one year old happened to be walking by. We offered some of the diapers and toys we had which  she was very grateful for. After loading the items in her car we made balloons for her boys and also left balloons with the 3 mothers for when their children returned from school.

We were happy to find this small group of evacuees and be able to put directly into their hands some of the things that they need.

In the afternoon we went to Ooshio city resident center and Ono city resident center where we put on our show for the children and grown ups. We delivered the rest of the diapers, summer clothes, bug repellant and toys at these centers.

Yuki Yamashita passing out toys to parents and grandparents, who were grateful for toys and stationary for their children.

These boys had too much energy and wouldn't sit to watch our show, so we ended up making lots of balloons for them and running around with them.

Christophe, Sam & Yuki with some of the children at 小野市民センター

After our show, we let the children choose from toys, stationary sets that they wanted to have while we made them balloons.

We want to thank all those who participated in Project Ray of Hope which made our 4th trip to the Tohoku area possible. The donations, along with the quality toys, clothing and other needed supplies you helped to purchase and gather all contributed to the success of this trip.

Thank you so much!



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Revisiting Koriyama Big Pallet – Our 4th Tohoku Trip

We were invited to perform at an event being organized by One Life Japan at Koriyama Big Pallet. About 100 volunteers participated in the event with many making pizzas using an authentic pizza oven brought in for the occasion. Some 30 hairdressers, and 30 members from the Japan Massage Association also helped to cheer up the 1,300 evacuees still staying at the Big Pallet center.

The place looked a bit better than it had one month ago, and a large field that had been used for a parking lot now has lines of new temporary housing units. Things seem to be looking better for the people here, but they still need a whole lot of encouragement.

It was great to participate in a larger event with so many other people giving in what way they can, wether it be preparing pizzas, giving a foot rub, or giving a hair cut.

We’ll spend the night at a friends house in Sendai, and tomorrow we’re off to Higashimatsushima to deliver t-shirts, toys, art supplies and bug repellant. We’ve got 2 shows lined up for the afternoon, but we’ll also be looking for needy people along the way who might need some of the supplies we have loaded in our van.





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Delivering Supplies and Giving Encouragement to Rikuzentakata Tsunami Survivors

Yuki greeting evacuees at a center for people with special needs

It was a fantastic way to wrap up our 3 day trip to the Tohoku region. Our day started at 5:00 AM when we left Sendai to deliver clothes and also see where we might encourage people with our show in Rikuzentakata.

To put it simply, it was a full day. We first put on our show at a center for special needs people turned which was doubling as an evacuation center.





Sam & Christophe delivering clothes donated by Rossignol to Sun Village Evacuation Center

We delivered 5 large boxes of quality clothing donated by Rossignol at another center (Sun Village Takada) where Gene and Florence sang their moving songs. And we put on our show at a third evacuation center before making our way back to the Tokyo area.

Where we stopped for lunch. Near the top left is the house where Yuki spotted the kids

However the highlight of the day for us was unexpected and unplanned. We were eating lunch looking out over fields of debris still soaked with sea water, when Yuki spotted children near a house on the other side of the fields. Since we still had some toys and clothing, we decided to see if what we had to offer could be use to them.

We made our way to the place we had seen the children, and found 2 families eating lunch in front of their broken houses. We explained that we were putting on our show for children, and that we also had clothes and toys, they excitedly asked us to do our show for them. This came as a surprise as we were only expecting to leave some items with them and then be on our way, but we ended up doing a few bits of comedy magic and also were able to leave them with some shirts for the dads, jackets for the mothers, socks and underwear for the kids, and toys as well.



They were very thankful for the unexpected visit and we were also very glad that we were able to deliver some of the supplies and toys we had to those who needed it. This reminded us that while we do need to have an overall plan for our shows and deliveries, we also need to keep our eyes open for opportunities and visits that were not in our original itinerary.


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Performing and delivering toys and art supplies to 140 kids in Fukushima

20110427-081346.jpgOn April 26th we first put on our show for 90 children ages 3 to 4 at a kindergarten in Aizuwakamatsu. We started out with a comedy skit then went through our magic routine which had the kids laughing from start to finish. This was definitely the largest number of kids we did our show for in the Tohoku area, and very possibly the most energetic as well.

We needed all the help we could get from Gene, Florence and Aaron to finish making balloons before we rushed off to the second kindergarten to perform for another 50 kids (all 5 year olds). At both kindergartens we were able to pass out presents to each child and also art supplies, children’s story books, play dough and other toys which were donated by an international school in Tokyo.

These children and their families were all evacuated from the 20 kilometer radius around the troubled nuclear power plant. They have been able to move from evacuation shelters to hotels and ryokan which is great news. These kindergartens were going to close due to the slowly decreasing number of children in the area, but they are now packed with all the cute kids you see in these photos.

We went into the day ready to give to these children, but I think we were the ones who received more through their smiles, laughter and appreciation. At first some of the children looked sad, some were crying not wanting to be away from their parents but when it came for us to say our “good-byes” they were a lively smiling bunch.

We want to thank all those who helped to make this project possible through donations, gathering supplies to deliver and through your encouragement.










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Visit to Koriyama

We met up with fellow performers and volunteers Gene, Florence, Robert and Horii, in Koriyama. We’re happy to have Christophe who helped us get connected with Rossignol and Aaron Yamashita who is helping us document this project, accompany us on this trip. We first went to Seishounennkaikan which houses a hundred some evacuees. After putting on our show there, we went on to Big Pallet which has around 2,000 evacuees.

While we did not perform for large crowds at these facilities, we’re very happy to be able to share a little laughter, encouragement and hope with those we did our show for.

At each evacuation facility we go to, the need for emotional, mental and spiritual comfort is clearly a need. From children and young parents to the elderly, all those we met today were so thankful for the encouragement, songs and comedy magic and gifts we delivered.

We want to thank all those who have made this project possible. A special thanks to those who contributed to Project Ray of Hope, and many concerned individuals who gave donations and gathered supplies for us to deliver.


Yuki making some magic happen for this boy staying at Big Pallet, Koriyama


Sam talking to a man who had a new house washed away by the tsunami.






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