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24 Jun 2013

A spirit of solidarity for celebrations in Japan

Volunteers and organizers who lent a hand at the Québec-style community BBQ attended by over 250 residents of Ishinomaki, one of the cities hardest hit by the March 11, 2011 tsunami.

Québec’s National Holiday in Japan was celebrated in solidarity with residents of the devastated region of Tohoku, located 250 km north of Tokyo. Indeed, the Québec Government Office in Tokyo (DGQT) accepted an invitation from the NADIA organization and Cirque du Soleil to organize a festive activity in Ishinomaki, one of the areas hardest hit by the disaster.

The memory of the March, 2011 earthquake is still very vivid in the minds of the Japanese people and a return to normal life is not easy for Tohoku residents. The Québec celebrations provided an opportunity to rekindle the spirit of solidarity during this critical period of reconstruction.

As a result, the Québec Government Office in Tokyo, the NADIA organization and Cirque du Soleil decided to team up to organize public festivities in Ishinomaki. The program included a number of cultural and sports activities in the morning. At lunchtime, over 250 people from Ishinomaki attended a huge community BBQ in an area decorated in the colours of Québec. Residents greatly enjoyed the meal, since most of them had never tasted typical Québec dishes before.

Québec’s presence highly appreciated

The people were deeply touched by Québec’s presence and the organization of the event. Several Québec volunteers helped serve the meal, including Claude-Yves Charron, Québec Government Representative in Tokyo, Bernard Yu, Global Citizenship Director - Asia Pacific, Cirque du Soleil, and friends of Québec. The menu consisted of pork tenderloin from Québec, shepherd’s pie, poutine and maple syrup pie.3

For more than a hundred children in Ishinomaki, the highlight of the activity was receiving and having the fun of wearing a clown nose – courtesy of Cirque du Soleil. They will long remember this festive Québec event!

To ensure that the festivities would run smoothly, the NADIA organization elicited the collaboration of some forty volunteers.

Since its creation in March, 2011, NADIA has succeeded in mobilizing over 500 volunteers from 20 different countries to clean up and restore homes damaged by the tsunami. The people behind NADIA, Christine Lavoie-Gagnon and Guy Roberge, both Quebecers who have been living in Japan for several years, receive support from the Québec Government Office in Tokyo.
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