Anime Programming in the US
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The travel agency Destination Japan announced on Wednesday that it will run a "Volunteer in Japan” tour to bring people to earthquake relief efforts in Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture. The prefecture was the one hardest hit by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster of March 11.
According to the agency's website, the tour is split into two programs: a basic weekend-long volunteering tour for US$278.00 per person and a week-long extended Tokyo stay option for US$772.00 per person. Both options center around a weekend stay in Ishinomaki City, and will include one and half days of volunteer work. Those who travel with the extended Tokyo stay option are given two extra days of leisure time to venture into the Tokyo area.
Ishinomaki is home to the Shotaro Ishinomori Manga Museum, which entertained local children after the earthquake despite having no electricity since March 11. The following images show the area around Ishinomaki's Nakaze lake before and after disaster:
In the press release, H.I.S. International Tours Vice President for US Market Development Jim Kelly said, “We in the U.S. don't see the disastrous situation on TV as often as before but until now countless Japanese residents are still having tough times, spending nights at shelters, and putting all their efforts into the recovery of their towns and homes. I wanted to provide something that would give people a meaningful and hands-on chance to help Japan and at the same time educate people that the destroyed area is limited and much of Japan was unaffected by the events of March 11. Tokyo, Kyoto, and points south are open for business as usual.”
Destination Japan is the tour division for H.I.S. International Tours. H.I.S. is a for-profit company, but it is offering this “Volunteer in Japan” option as a nonprofit venture in an effort to support Japan.
The "Volunteer in Japan" tour will run on weekends until the end of September.