The year 2020 has been difficult for all of us who live on the shores of the Pacific. We all have been struggling with COVID-19, and then our neighbors in the Santa Cruz Mountains were hit by a devastating wildfire in August caused by lightning. Over 900 families lost their homes and belongings.
Yet, despite your own coronavirus difficulties there in Japan, with the leadership of our friends, you generously donated a sizable amount which was wired to us.
Those funds will be donated to a wonderful non-profit organization named Valley Churches United which is run by volunteers. Valley Churches United is located in the middle of the fire zone and had to evacuated for several weeks during the fire. Thanksfully their membership and buildings were not harmed, and they were able to return and begin helping those who were less fortunate.
But, your generosity has done something else – it has inspired us to also raise funds for the fire victims. The motto of VCU is “Neighbors helping Neighbors” and we believe that your generosity has shown that we – the people of the Monterey Bay Region and Minamiboso ARE truly neighbors. Since way back in 1897 when the first men from Minamiboso came to our region, we have had a strong connection – broken for a time during the Great Pacific War, but now being re-connected.
We thank you and now we’ll see if we can match your generosity.
Amatsu Shinmei-gu shrine, which has an association with the Ise Shrine, has more than 800 years of history. In the precinct, you will find rare trees called Marubachisha. Kamogawa City is said to be the northern limit of their habitat, so they are designated as a protected species by Chiba Prefecture. This visitor friendly shrine, equipped with bike stands, large parking space and clean bathrooms, could be a great spot for your “hatsumode” or New Year’s visit. Have a happy New Year!