Category Archives: IDRO Japan

Volunteering in Kameoka

IMG_6586 (Medium)

Last weekend I joined Rob Mangold and his IDRO crew on a relief trip to Kameoka, which was hit hard by the last typhoon to sweep through Kansai. After linking up with some regular volunteers at Kameoka’s Volunteer Center, we drove out into golden fields where a landslide caused by heavy rain had filled up the drainage ditches. Our job was to dig them out. Here are some pictures from the day: a mix of standard shots and 360 spherical images from the Ricoh Theta. If you click on the spheres you can view the images in a perfectly immersive 360 degrees. Continue reading


This picture by Sheila Campbell

Though we didn’t quite get the crowds we had hoped for last weekend, we still managed to make a fair bit of money to help IDRO Japan continue its good work in northern Japan. Our combined takings for two days was 156,561 yen but we had a lot of stuff left over, some of which we took to a used clothing store and some to Bookoff. After Bookoff’s contribution our current total stands at 163,121 yen. However, we are still waiting to hear how much the used clothing store will give us, so the final grand total could be a wee bit higher yet.

Continue reading



We received a lot of goods yesterday and it has become obvious we are not going to be able to sell it all by the end of today. This is our final sale, so unfortunately any goods brought to us today will be respectfully (and apologetically) declined.

Today we are open from 10 ~ 3.

Today all clothes, shoes, bags, knick-knacks & cookies are going for 100 yen.

Books are 100 yen for two!

Ceramics, electrical goods and household items will be sold for a donation of your choice.

Yesterday we took over 113,000 yen. Thank you to all the volunteers and musicians who helped to make it such a memorable day. Continue reading


Some people are still under the impression that our sale this weekend is in the same location as last year. Let me make this clear…


Here again are the directions in case you didn’t catch them in earlier postings: Continue reading

Ten Days in Tohoku

As regular readers will remember, in early March I spent ten days up in Miyagi prefecture volunteering with IDRO JAPAN. As the charity sale for IDRO approaches, I think it’s time I finally sat down and wrote about the work I took part in up there, and put down some thoughts about my experiences. So here goes…

The Importance of Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

First off, I’m a very unlikely volunteer. Having failed to go up last year with the excuse of a bad back (actually true), I had pretty much settled into that excuse as a way of avoiding getting out of my comfort zone. If you are familiar with the first chapter of The Hobbit – pre-adventure Bilbo Baggins is pretty much me (minus the hairy feet); I’m lazy, I like my routine, I like my own space and I don’t even like traveling all that much. Too much hassle. I told myself I could probably be more effective raising awareness through my online activities than actually heading north and doing some hard work. However, as the months went by, an incipient feeling of guilt crept up on me, and finally pounced when I was interviewing IDRO founder Rob Mangold for a prospective Kyoto Journal interview. Fellow KJ member Jen Teeter, also present, said to me, “You should go up there” and Rob followed up with “You wouldn’t even have to do any volunteer work! Just go up there and meet those people and talk to them! Somebody needs to record all this!”

He had a point. How could I possibly write about the work that IDRO was doing if I didn’t go up and see it for myself? And also Rob had said that the time for unskilled volunteers was coming to a close. This could be my last chance… I resolved to go, follow Rob around a bit, and try not to get in the way to much, and so a couple of weeks later found myself staying at the INJM houses, with over 20 other volunteers, my private space gone, my normal routine fully broken, forced to socialize with all kinds of people at all times, and doing all kinds of work (in all kinds of weather) that I would never have imagined doing before. It was good. I’m glad I did it. It woke this sleepy hobbit up.

The Projects…

Rob Mangold and Jamie El-Banna

Continue reading

Thank You!

Thank you to all the good Kyoto people who have helped us promote our charity sale for Tohoku! Hover your cursor over each picture to see who they are…

IDRO Japan’s Golden Week Charity Sale for Tohoku will be held on the 5th & 6th of May near Demachiyanagi Station – check the links below for more information:

Facebook event page:
More details here:


So, we have a flyer!

Isn’t it gorgeous? Just click on it for a better view. Many thanks to Yutaka for designing this. If anyone should like to help distribute it :), in either colour or black & white just send me your email address and I can send you the pdfs. There’s just over a week to go now of course so we need to get the word out quick!

I can also confirm the entertainment schedule for Saturday, May 5th:

Felicity Greenland (vocals and guitar): 3.30 – 4.30
Jen L. Teeter (vocals) &  Hiroyuki Tokuda (guitar):  4.45 – 5.45
Max Dodds (vocal and guitar): 6:00 – 7:00

Entry is of course free, but the idea is that the musicians play as a “human jukebox”, so you toss them a few coins and they play you a song! All monies donated of course going to Tohoku via IDRO Japan.

We have also been promised all kinds of delicious baked goods, not to mention Tadg McLoughlin’s traditional Irish oak smoked bacon which is currently under production and will be vacuum packed and sliced!

Mewby’s cookies will also be making an appearance, having proven so popular last year.

Here’s a quick recap of this events key points:

Event: Massive Bargain Sale / Gathering / Sing-a-long / Cookie Fest

Purpose: To raise lots of cash/awareness for IDRO Japan’s great work in the disaster-struck Tohoku region!

Dates & Times: Saturday May 5th – 11:00 – 21:00 /Sunday May 6th – 10:00 – 15:00

Location: Very close to Demachiyanagi Station at the 左京西部いきいき市民活動センター (Sakyou Nishibu Iki-iki Shimin Katsudou Center). Please note – it’s not the same location as last year!


Now the map on the flyer makes the location look easy to find but actually it’s a little more complicated than that, so here are some clear directions. From Demachiyanagi Station head east. You will pass Heming Sports Club on your right and on your left, there is a broad area of azalea hedge. Turn left at the hedge! Go straight up until you see a small tobacco shop directly in front of you. Take the road to the left of the shop and go up again. You will pass a temple on your right and then another temple on your left. Just a few steps further on your right is the Iki-iki Shimin Katsudou Center. There is a kindergarten on the ground floor. Go up to the second floor and we are at the far end of the building in Room 3. We are looking forward to seeing you!

You can also check the google map here which has the route marked from Demachiyanagi Exit 5.

For more details of the event, please visit this post, or sign up on our Facebook event page.

イドロジャパン、ゴールデンウィークのチャリティーセールに!! よろしゅう、おこしやす!!

Click here for the English.



日時 5月5日(土)– 11:00 – 21:00
日時 5月6日(日)– 10:00 – 15:00

場所: 出町柳駅から歩いて5分の、 左京西部いきいき市民活動センター の会議室3。出町柳駅5番出口からの行き方地図はここ map をクリックしてください。



売っているのは – 中古の… 本・服・CD・レコード・キッチン用品・家電品などなど。



衣類 – なるべく春夏用の服 (洗濯アイロン済みの破れていないもの – 下着は持ってこないでね!)









繰り返しになりますが、品物の寄付は、良好な状態のもの、売ることができる状態のものをーー特に衣類は清潔な物をーーお願いします。ご質問は、m.0.luain.23[at] zero に、 [at] @に変えて)マイケル・ラムまでご連絡ください。



叡電出町柳駅南の細い道を東に向かいます。左側に郵便局を見て、右側にヘミングスポーツクラブを越えて加茂学生会館を右に見て、左側に大きなつつじの生け 垣があるので、そこを左(北)に曲がり、道なりにまっすぐ進むと前方の道を渡ったところにたばこ屋さんが見えてきます。たばこ屋さんが右手になるように更 に北向き(道なり真っ直ぐ)に行くと、順に、右側に聞光寺、左側にまたべつのお寺、そして右側に保育園のような建物があるのでその2階に上がって、建物の 奥にある第3会議室が会場です。大きな目印がなくて道順は教えにくいですが、建物はすぐに分かると思いますので、がんばって来てください。では、当日お会 いできるのを楽しみにしています。

*全ての売上金はIDRO JAPANの活動資金として寄付されます。

International Disaster Relief Organization Japan(国際災害支援機構日本)
IDRO Japanは京都をベースにしたグループ で、被災後の緊急支援と救援物質の提供を行うと同時に、住宅建設と教育を通して中長期的に支援を行っています。現在、IDRO Japanは東北の巨大地震と津波で被災された地域を中心に活動しています。



Put this one into your diaries, folks! Together with the lovely ladies, Sheila Campbell & Carolyn Wright, I will be hosting another charity sale for IDRO JAPAN* during the Golden Week weekend!

Saturday May 5th – 11:00 – 21:00
Sunday May 6th – 10:00 – 15:00

Location: Five minutes from Demachiyanagi Station in Room 3 of the 左京西部いきいき市民活動センター (Sakyou Nishibu Iki-iki Shimin Katsudou Center). Here is a map with the route marked from Demachiyanagi Exit 5.

Last year our combined sales raised 237, 630 yen for Tohoku Disaster Relief. This year we want to raise more! Please tell everyone you know about this event!

We will have – second-hand… books, clothes, records, cds, toys, various household items and electrical goods.
Delicious Baked Goods!
Free Iced Teas!
The return of the “Human Jukebox” !
Lucky Dip! – Fabulous prizes guaranteed!
Other entertainments?!


Clothes – preferably spring/summer clothes! (cleaned, ironed and in good repair – no underwear please!); DVDs, CDs and vinyl records; Small household items; Electrical goods in good condition; Crockery (sets only).
Fresh baked cookies & cakes etc (if possible please label them with the ingredients for the benefit of those with food allergies or preferences).
If you wish to sell larger household items please bring just a photo and your phone number.


Books! We have so many already and they’ll be sold at a snip! Please no more books!
Knick-knacks! No more knick-knacks please! We’ve had our fill of knick-knacks!

Unfortunately we are unable to receive goods before the event so please bring them on the day of sale, – the earlier the better! Donations can be received from 10:00 am on the Saturday.

To reiterate, everything donated needs to be in good, saleable condition – and as I wrote above, clothes need to be clean! If you have any queries, please contact Michael Lambe at: m.0.luain.23[at]
(The 0 is a zero and the [at] is an @)

Oh, and by the way – it’s going to be FUN! Don’t forget to invite your friends!


From Demachiyanagi Station head east. You will pass Heming Sports Club on your right and on your left, there is a broad area of azalea hedge. Turn left at the hedge! Go straight up until you see a small tobacco shop directly in front of you. Take the road to the left of the shop and go up again. You will pass a temple on your right and then another temple on your left. Just a few steps further on your right is the Iki-iki Shimin Katsudou Center. There is a kindergarten on the ground floor. Go up to the second floor and we are at the far end of the building in Room 3. We are looking forward to seeing you!

*All proceeds go to IDRO JAPAN

International Disaster Relief Organization Japan
IDRO Japan is a Kyoto-based NPO that provides aid and assistance for immediate post-disaster relief and long-term support through relief trips and housing. IDRO Japan’s efforts are currently concentrated on areas affected by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.


IDRO Japan board meeting 21st February 2012

Last night I sat in on a board meeting of IDRO Japan; our home-grown disaster relief champions. There were a number of items on the agenda, but the chief one was the up-coming three-week trip to Tohoku and the eight (Yes! EIGHT!!) different building and renovation projects IDRO Japan will be involved in. These include working on 3 remodels, a workshop, the Ibuki Project, and the Nagatsura Fisherman’s Office. That’s a lot of work, so volunteers are definitely required and as it is mainly building work “some carpentry skills would be a bonus”. The work period will last from February 25th till March 9th and if you do come up, Rob Mangold says, “a sleeping bag and good boots are a necessity”.

“…and long undies,” adds Quentin Durning, with a twinkle in his eye. It gets a bit chilly up north…

Rob will be going up on the 24th so get in touch quickly if you want a lift up with him. I’ll be dragging my lazy ass up there myself in early March.

If you would like to pitch in with this effort then please send an email here: idrojapan [at]*

* [at] = @

Quentin Durning: "There's a social component to this that's really nice. Eating together and working out problems together..."

See also:
The IDRO Japan website
The IDRO Japan blog
IDRO Japan on Facebook