Volunteers spend spring break helping earthquake-hit areas in Japan

Central Japan’s Ishikawa Prefecture is still recovering from the massive New Year’s Day earthquake that struck the Noto Peninsula.

On Saturday, about 100 university students from across the country joined residents in their cleanup efforts in Suzu City, where a tsunami caused widespread damage.

Residents expressed their gratitude for the help, saying, “Nothing is impossible if everyone stands together.”

In hard-hit Nanao City, locals harvested Sakiyama strawberries, a local specialty.

The residents had to rely on supplied well water to grow the fruit, as the water supply in the area had been cut for about three months.
Kosaki Hirotoshi, a member of the Sakiyama community group, said he was happy with the harvest. He noted that the berries, although slightly smaller than normal, are very sweet.

Earthquake damage has forced city residents to scale back traditional events such as the local Seihakusai festival, usually held around this time of year.

A parade with a huge float called Dekayama is designated as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.

But this year the procession was called off as damaged roads continue to be rebuilt, amid other safety concerns.

The head of the festival’s preservation association says they want to hold the full festival next spring.