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The Seed of Hope in the Heart by Teiichi Sato

Teiichi Sato from Sato Taneya (taneya=seed shop), who attends “Komo’s English Reading-aloud Club”at Rikuzentakata, is one of the hottest men in Rikuzentakata now. He lives by his own Bushido (the way of the Japanese warrior-knight). On the 1st anniversary of March 11, he was interviewed by Australian TV, and responded to it clearly in English.

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Mr. Sato attends “English sentences correction course” in “Komo’s English reading-aloud club”.

In this course, in short, what you want to say in English is directly used as your customised textbook. For example, we translate the sentence you write in Japanese into English, and that English version is used as your textbook. Alternatively, what you write in English is corrected, and then used as your own textbook.

Mr. Sato started to write a note in English. At the beginning, we intended to give him an English version text, which was a translation of his poem written in Japanese. However, he started to write a note in English as if something was haunting him.

He said, “When night falls, I can hear the souls of the people who died in tsunami, crying out for asking me to write.” I wouldn’t be surprised. Many people died in the neighborhood of Mr. Sato’s store.

He took for over two months to write the note in English. During that time, we corrected his writing in person in “Komo’s English Reading-aloud Club” once in a month, and at times we contacted each other by e-mail. Finally, he completed a great piece of writing.

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The picture above is a scene from “Komo’s English Reading-aloud Club.” Mr. Shibata (Left photo) and Mr. Okuda gave us a lot of support as volunteer teachers. Mr. Okuda also helped us to respond to the inquiries from the foreign media in parallel.

The title of his writing is “The seed  of Hope in the Heart.” It is a factual note by Mr. Sato, who survived the disaster by a series of lucky accidents. The tsunami rushed out just behind Mr. and Mrs. Sato’s car…it engulfed incredibly wide range of area.

After the Tsunami, he tried to come back to his store.  Then he saw unimaginable, unspeakable damage. He lost everything he had been working for in an instant, and the only thing that remained was his debts. The whole Rikuzentakata city was devastated.

In this hopeless situation, he reopened his  store in the disaster-stricken area. The demolition debris was used to build his temporary store. As the water supply had been cut off, he dug a well by hand and started to raise seedling again. Since then, he has been working so aggressively for recovery. It seems like samurai.

The story unfolds Mr. Sato’s life after the earthquake, linked with the validation of tsunami history in the coastal area in Rikuzen Takata. He found the historical evidence that the big tsunami also caused  a great damage in the early 17th century.

One stone monument still stands in Rikuzentakata, showing the past damage caused by tsunami. But most people didn’t know why it was there and what it meant. Mr. Sato gradually found some factors may have been to blame for human calamities in this tsunami disaster.

It is definitely notes worthwhile reading, not as a textbook for English Reading-aloud Club, but a great note about earthquake we should report to the world. Then, we Let’s Talk Foundation decided to support to make a booklet covering his note.

Finally, the booklets have been printed. A part of cost of printing was covered by donations from the people at Casa Asia, ESADE, and IESE in Barcelona, Spain. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks for their kind and generous support.

They also launched a big “3.11” anniversary  event in Barcelona, and shared the brief of Mr. Sato’s “The Seed of Hope in the Heart” with local kids. This event had a great response, and after that, the messages from local kids were delivered to Mr. Sato.

The initial print run of the book is 300 copies, which is sold for 1,000 Japanese yen (extra shipping cost) per booklet with two packets of  seeds. Some orders have already been received this weekend. Mr. Sato will sincerely select the kind of seed.

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The sales of this booklet would help “Sato Taneya” (taneya = seed shop), which is reviving in devastated area. And a part of   sales is used for filling the printing cost bore by Let’s Talk Foundation.

Please contact me if you are interested in “a booklet with two packets of seeds”.

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