"Let's Encourage Tohoku with Mile Donation Project" Travel Memories Backnumber

Swayed by the tropical breeze

3.11 is a day that I want to forget. After that terrible day, I was always thinking of everything in a negative light, living each day without being able to sort out my feelings. It was during this difficult time that I was informed that I would receive miles from the JAL Mileage Bank (JMB) program. My first reaction was surprise; I had applied to the program but did not think that I would really receive any miles. After the surprise, I felt the joy of discovering that I still had a little luck left in me.
After learning of the good news, I would regularly think about the Japanese map, something that normally would never be on my mind, and picture all of the Japanese prefectures from Hokkaido to Okinawa. It was strange, even to me, that I would change my way of thinking at that point in time. To change my mindset even more, I narrowed down my options to southern Japan. My final decision was a trip to Ishigaki island in Okinawa.
I took my flight to Okinawa from Haneda Airport in Tokyo. From the Hotel Nikko in Ishigaki, I watched the Rakuten Eagles baseball team win the Japan championship. Toasting their victory, I felt my spirits lift even higher. But then, when I was touring Kohama island, I saw the outboard motor of a small fishing boat being pulled from the reef. The vessel had originated from Yoriisohama, a fishing village situated in Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture, and drifted an incredible 2,800 km journey over one year and ten months. Seeing this scene brought back painful memories of the earthquake and tsunami, memories that I had tried to forget. For a moment, I was disheartened that this reminder of the earthquake-tsunami disaster had traveled with me, despite my visit to Japan's southern tropical islands and my efforts to make these painful memories fade away.
But the tropical southern islands have a unique setting and a sense of getting away from it all. Thanks to the different scenery, different winds, and different general atmosphere, I did not slip into negativity. Instead, I remembered that I would take a boat to go fishing from Yoriisohama, with images of the local beach and shore coming to mind. I decided to believe that this positive outlook was a direct result of my trip. I would just envision the world map and try to trace back the route that the fishing boat had taken on its long journey. It was exciting to imagine the incredible endurance of this boat in crossing the Pacific, drifting south from Canada or Alaska to the seas of Japan, and then finally reaching Okinawa. At the same time, the thought of this small boat's arduous journey gave me the encouragement to believe that I still had a long way to go in my own journey of life.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who contributed their miles and everyone who was involved in planning this project. Thanks to this wonderful trip, I will continue my road forward while being sure to remember the feelings of gratitude, inspiration, and appreciation.

Photo: Fishing boat Seifuku Maru / Vessel number: MG3-37998

From Wanderlust
(Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture / Age:60s / Gender:Male)

A trip to Canada

Thank you very much for the mileage gift. With the miles that we received, my 5-year-old daughter and I went on a trip to Vancouver, Canada. During our trip, we were able to experience the vast nature of Canada, the urban aspects of Canada, and the many other aspects of Canada. Traveling with a 5-year-old child was challenging in many ways. My daughter would suddenly need to take bathroom breaks, fall asleep, become tired and cranky, or decide that she wanted to run around. At those times, the people nearby would lend a helping hand, making it possible for us to experience the kindness that normally would not be apparent in a normal, uneventful trip.
During our trip, my daughter made various comments that made me fully realize that we were in Canada:
"Trees in Canada aren't crooked. They're straight."
"Airplanes in Canada make straight clouds. They go straight up."
"Traffic lights in Canada have a light for bicycles."
My daughter's innocent words brought home the fact that I was really in Canada with my 5-year-old daughter - a realization that filled me with a variety of emotions and brought tears to my eyes.
I was truly fortunate to be able to visit Canada with my daughter. Thank you again to everyone who made this wonderful opportunity possible.

From C.S.
(Niigata Prefecture / Age:30s / Gender:Female)

Honeymoon enjoyed thanks to your assistance

I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who demonstrated their kindness and to everyone at JAL who made it possible for this generosity to reach us.
I lost my house in the 3.11 earthquake. The need to rebuild this house, which was also the home that we were planning to live in after getting married, forced us to rethink our plans for our wedding and our honeymoon.
Thanks to the kindness shown to us, however, we were able to use JAL flights to go on our honeymoon and make courtesy visits to family and friends. With the level of help that we received, we were able to hold a wedding ceremony as originally planned.
As I currently live in Kanagawa Prefecture, being able to have a wedding and honeymoon made it possible for me to sort out my feelings and move forward. And just yesterday, my company unofficially informed me that I will soon be transferred to a new location. For the sake of my family and especially my wife, I will put in my best in making this new start!
Without everyone's generosity, I doubt that I would be this positive in taking on new challenges. Thank you for your support.

From Gratitude for everyone's kindness
(Narashino City, Chiba Prefecture/ Age:30s / Gender:Male)

Your support helped make our wonderful trip possible

We received word that we would be receiving miles from the Let's Encourage Tohoku with Mile Donation Project while at our current residence in Kushiro City,the city in Hokkaido that we have evacuated to after the 3.11 disaster. We were very excited and happy to learn the good news.
We used to live along the Pacific coast in Fukushima Prefecture, 8 km from TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. When living there, I would take a walk every evening. During my strolls, I would count the planes in the sky and look forward to future possible trips. Then one day, this all changed. We lost everything in the tsunami, and furthermore have been unable to return to the place that we called home. Every day was a challenge and I did not have the heart to go traveling.
It was during this difficult time that I learned about this project on the JAL website and entered for the chance to receive a mileage gift.
Adding together the gift miles with our own miles, we chose a less expensive season to take our trip. We were able to arrange a very smooth itinerary. We took a flight from Narita Airport to Frankfurt. From there, we toured the south of Germany and France. We then took a JAL non-stop flight from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Haneda Airport and connected to Kushiro Airport.
Particularly memorable highlights of our trip were Rothenburg and Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany, the Alsace region, and Mont Saint Michel. During our trip, we were able to completely forget about 3.11 and fully experienced medieval Europe.
Thanks to the new memories from our trip and the support of everyone who has sent their encouragement to the Tohoku region, we were able to draw comfort and keep a smile on our faces. With this help in taking a large step forward, we will keep holding on and doing our best until the day that we can return to Fukushima.
In closing, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of the JAL Mileage Bank members who donated their valuable miles and everyone at JAL who helped plan this project. Each day, we are overwhelmed by the kindness of others. Thank you so much.

Photo: Big smiles and a large step forward (photo taken in Rothenburg, Germany, at the beginning of our trip)

From Mile fan
(Kushiro City, Hokkaido / Age:60s / Gender:Female)

Special traveling companion

I would like to express my gratitude to all of the JMB members who donated charity miles and everyone at JAL for the large mileage gift.
On the day of the March 11 disaster, everyone in my family was separated from each other. I tried to contact my family members numerous times, but was unable to reach anyone. I eventually decided to walk in the direction of my house and was shocked by the unbelievable devastation that surrounded me. Thankfully, my family was all safe, but our house was completely destroyed by the tsunami. We had lost the place that we would go home to at the end of the day.
My family had always loved traveling and we had collected many souvenirs from our travels. All of them were swept away by the tsunami. I felt sadness, but my first thoughts were to move the supplies that were necessary for living the present. For this reason, I decided to use my trusty travel suitcase to carry everything that we needed. I never imagined that I would use it for a purpose other than traveling. It was painful to see that it was covered in mud and was reduced to a simple tool for carrying supplies. After 3.11, we were no longer able to smile and could not bring ourselves into the mood to travel.
But after learning about this JAL charity mile project, we decided to apply to this program. Thanks to the mileage gift that we received, we were able to take a trip to Hawaii for the first time since the 3.11 disaster. We used JALPAK's Hokulea shuttle bus to tour the major Honolulu tourist spots and visited Moanalua Gardens, home of the famous tree that is featured in the well-known TV commercial. This is one of my favorite spots. In the photo, I am standing in a way that makes it look as if I am enveloped by the immense monkeypod tree. We happened to visit during flowering season and were lucky enough to see the monkeypod trees in full bloom. In the language of flowers, monkeypod flowers symbolize joy and excitement, which was exactly what I was feeling. I was able to forget about the 3.11 disaster and the general experience brought a smile to my face.
In taking this trip, I naturally took my suitcase with me - the same suitcase that was covered in mud and was used to carry supplies but still managed to survive that terrible ordeal. It is very special to me and I plan to pack it full of travel memories in the future.
Once again, I would like to extend a thank you to everyone who donated charity miles to this project. Your generosity helped my family make wonderful memories and brought smiles to our faces. Thank you.

From Dafiko
(Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture / Age:30s / Gender:Female)

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