Outside the Anamizu Town Sawayama Communication Hall Pluto in Ishikawa Prefecture, Tzu Chi volunteers braved the cold, snowy weather to cook hot meals for the residents. | Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation

From January 13, Tzu Chi volunteers provided hot meals for two weeks to residents of Anamizu, Ishikawa Prefecture affected by the earthquake on the Noto Peninsula. Despite challenging weather conditions, the volunteers tirelessly transported ingredients, cooked diligently, and served meals with a warm and courteous demeanor. Their efforts have left a lasting impression on the residents of Anamizu, who will never forget the kindness and dedication of the volunteers in the face of snow and chilling winds.

The Governor's Gratitude

The Governor of Ishikawa Prefecture, Chihiro Watarai (left), expressed deep gratitude for the dedication of Tzu Chi volunteers. | Photo by Fei Lin | January 20, 2024

On the morning of January 20, around 9 a.m., Governor Chihiro Watarai of Ishikawa Prefecture visited the Anamizu Town Sawayama Communication Hall Pluto to express his gratitude and appreciation to Tzu Chi volunteers for their compassionate care towards the residents taking shelter there. He also visited the outdoor cooking site where Tzu Chi volunteers were preparing hot meals; he thanked them for the warmth they have provided during this period. Tzu Chi Japan volunteers came in shifts, taking turns to support the relief effort. In addition, they had been transporting food supplies from outside the region to Anamizu; procuring a large quantity of food locally in Ishikawa Prefecture remains challenging.

Tokyo Fundraising in the Cold

This Japanese grandmother uses Tzu Chi volunteers as an example to tell her granddaughter that she must always engage in acts of kindness in the future. | Photo by Ya- Chia Chen | 2024/01/21

Starting from January 21, Tzu Chi volunteers in Japan have also been conducting street fundraising activities at locations such as Tokyo's Shin-Okubo and Shinjuku stations, to support the Noto Peninsula earthquake relief effort. Passersby who saw the volunteers holding signs not only contributed with acts of kindness but also offered support and encouragement. One elderly Japanese woman, riding her bicycle to pick up her granddaughter after school, was deeply moved when she learned that Tzu Chi volunteers were providing hot meals in the disaster-affected areas. Moved to tears, she expressed her gratitude and promised the volunteers that she would teach her granddaughter the importance of doing good deeds and helping others.

On the chilly streets of Tokyo with temperatures as low as 7°C (44.6 °F), Tzu Chi volunteers conducted fundraising for the earthquake survivors in Ishikawa Prefecture's Noto region. | Photo by Ya-Chia Chen

The power that comes from the exchange of love is truly immense, and the Tzu Chi volunteers clad in blue and white have earned the trust of the residents in Anamizu. A bond of familiarity has developed between the volunteers and the meal recipients, as they came to interact and know each other. Despite communication barriers, one volunteer who could not speak Japanese was still able to interact with a meal recipient at the Anamizu General Hospital. They were able to exchange smiles and hold a joyful conversation using a translation device. Whether they were speaking in Japanese or Mandarin to one another, their conversation seemed unaffected.

In the winter snow, Tzu Chi volunteers worked tirelessly to prepare hot meals for residents of the disaster area. Even if their hands turned red from the cold, they have warmed the hearts of many in the process.