Today’s morning agenda was to play with kids again in a beautiful play area next to the evacuation center. (By the way, I’m still not sure if the evacuation center is an elementary, middle or high school.) In this fancy play area, there was an outdoor playground, and indoor gym and a carpeted area with books, toys, and a piano.  
We had breakfast at 7pm and we walking to the school by 8:10am. Unfortunately, there were very few kids today (unlike yesterday) because many of them went to see a movie. Yesterday, there was a little girl who stole my heart by tickling me and her grand smile. She is also has Down’s-Syndrome and just adorable, very lovable, super affectionate, and sweet. Well, she was the first kid to come. She was also the only kid for a long, long time and we played ping pong and jump rope. She also practiced her English on me; I asked her, “How are you?” and she answered, “I am happy!” A few other girls came and I had fun playing the keyboard with them for a while (playing the keyboard sure comes in handy when you’re traveling the world).
It was a really nice, relaxed morning. We talked with a staff member, an adorable woman named “Princess Catherine Yashimoto.”  She refused to say her real name and insisted her name is “Princess Catherine.” (I told her it’s too bad her husband went bald so young but she said that she likes bald guys.) She was the kind of warm, funny woman that makes me want to stay in Japan forever. She was super, super open and told us all about her experience here since the earthquake. She was with small children when the earthquake hit, and they ran outside to the garden area until the quake ended. After that, they had no electricity, heat, or water and went to the school next door which was designated as an evacuation center. The self-defense forces soon arrived with food (rice balls) and water. However, it was snowing and very cold without any heat so they tried their best to keep the children warm with blankets. “Lady Catherine” also added that her husband is works in the funeral business and it’s been an absolutely terrible time for him. Tears were in her eyes and she described the pain her husband is experiencing doing funerals for children and so many lost in the tsunami. We talked about 9/11 for a bit and suffering in general and I so longed to talk to her over coffee and not in the middle of our volunteer work…I’d love to see her again if possible.
We’re spending the afternoon translating tons of letters from German kids to Japanese kids and making posters to hang on the walls for the start of school.
The kids here from Minami-sanriku start school next week, May 10th. School in Japan usually starts in April, so they will be getting a late start. Tomorrow we’ll be playing with the kids again from 9-5. I am tired but having a great time and very thankful to be here in Japan.

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