Jan 24

Former Kesennuma JET to spend honeymoon in Japan supporting relief efforts, seeks fundraising and other support

A request from Andrew Berne (Miyagi-ken, Kesennuma-shi, 1999-2000), reprinted with his permission:

I participated in the JET Programme as an ALT in 1999 and 2000. During that time, I lived and taught in Kesennuma-shi in Miyagi Prefecture. It was a very formative time in my life, and over the years I have remained close with many people in the community. As you are well aware, Kesennuma was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011.

My wife Kathleen and I recently got married, and for our honeymoon we are traveling to Japan in April to assist in the tsunami relief efforts and contribute what we can to the town’s recovery. It may not be the most conventional honeymoon, but this is a cause that is near and dear to our hearts. Kathleen and I met while working for the same Japanese company here in the US, and although we are no longer with that organization we still have deep connections to many people in Japan.

We hope to be able to get to Kesennuma for part of the trip, and we are coordinating several fundraising efforts involving family, friends, and colleagues. We are trying to garner as much support as possible from our contacts here as well as in Japan, and we would be very interested in speaking with anyone willing to discuss ways in which we can make this trip have as much impact and meaning as possible. We are also seeking some guidance and advice about lodging & travel options in Kesennuma.

I can be reached at andrewberne [at] gmail.com. If you have the ability to Skype, my username is berneandrew.

Our schedule is as follows:

– April 13-15: Sendai

– April 15-19: Kesennuma

– April 19-22: Tokyo

We’ve planned the trip around the beginning of the school year and sakura season. I’ve also been folding paper cranes like mad, hoping to reach 1,000 by the time we leave for Japan.

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