Volunteer Guestbook

Message from Jamie, founder and Chairperson of INJM:

I have had many experiences up here, but they are mine, and unique to me. I love sharing them with everyone, but I also want to read the experiences of others.

Not everyone has the time or the inclination to write a guest blog entry, but I’d love to hear something about your experiences as a volunteer in Tohoku. If you have the time, leave a comment with a few sentences on what you experienced!

Likewise, if you know INJM and want to leave us a friendly message, please do so!



flattr this!

  • ERROR: si-captcha.php plugin says GD image support not detected in PHP!

    Contact your web host and ask them why GD image support is not enabled for PHP.

    ERROR: si-captcha.php plugin says imagepng function not detected in PHP!

    Contact your web host and ask them why imagepng function is not enabled for PHP.

    You may use these HTML tags: <a> <abbr> <acronym> <b> <blockquote> <cite> <code> <del> <em> <i> <q> <strike> <strong>

  • Jamie
    #1 written by Jamie 6 years ago

    Hi Magda

    I’m friends with Daisuke, I have been following the progress of your project for quite some time!

    Keep up the good work!


  • Magda Wojtyra
    #2 written by Magda Wojtyra  6 years ago


    I came upon It’s Not Just Mud while writing on my own website about the Field Trip Project that is currently travelling in Miyagi. It has some very similar goals to your own, so I thought I’d say hello, keep up the good work, bon courage, and take a look at this, and maybe even go check it out: http://www.happysleepy.com/exhibitions/field-trip-project/

  • Jamie
    #3 written by Jamie 6 years ago

    Hi Ron,

    We already know you guys! In fact I was speaking to Brock just the other day!! But it’s always nice to meet people eager to collaborate!



  • Ron
    #4 written by Ron 6 years ago

    Thank you for your work in Watanoha! I work with Samaritan’s Purse, and we’ve done numerous distributions in Watanoha and elsewhere. Our Rebuild Program has rebuilt over 100 homes in this area. We would love to hear more about your projects, and offer any assistance if possible.

  • Angela Maggs
    #5 written by Angela Maggs  6 years ago

    Ganbatte kudasai!!

    I am a Brit who lived in Tokyo for 3 years over 30 years ago and now work as a freelance translator near Vancouver, Canada. The last time I was back in Japan was in 2010 meeting up with “old” friends for the most part.
    After the earthquake and tsunami I donated money and also sent knitted hats/scarves/mittens etc to a guy in Tokyo collecting yarn and knitted items for people in Tohoku. I also registered with Translators Without Borders and offered my services to a couple of other volunteer organisations. Wish there was more I could do.
    I am full of admiration for what you are doing. Fantastic!!
    Love, Angela

  • Jamie
    #6 written by Jamie 6 years ago

    Hi Julian,

    You can email me at jamie@itsnotjustmud.com


  • Julian Ryall
    #7 written by Julian Ryall 6 years ago

    Dear Jamie,
    Am trying to contact you for an interview but can’t find a direct e-mail address or phone number. Would be very grateful if you could get back to me asap. Mud permitting, of course….
    Very best wishes

    Julian Ryall

  • Archie
    #8 written by Archie 6 years ago

    Hi Jamie,

    Thanks for looking after the knife. We’ll be back soon with some more helpful friends.

  • Jamie
    #9 written by Jamie 6 years ago

    Hi Karli,

    Thanks for the kind words, I’m glad that the work we do can inspire others. I’ll answer your question in a blog post!


  • Jamie
    #10 written by Jamie 6 years ago

    Hi Archie,

    Thanks so much for coming, we look forward to having you guys back here again! I found your Swiss Army Knife and am keeping it safe for you!

  • Archie
    #11 written by Archie 6 years ago

    Jamie-san, Masae-san, Anna-san and the rest of the INJM Team,
    Thank you for giving Mari, me and the Camp Zama Gang (Brian, Chuck, Matt and Paul) an opportunity to volunteer with your fantastic organization. It was a memorable and moving (and physical) experience. We will be back again and bring more volunteers with us!

    On a lost and, hopefully, found matter, I may have left my small (2 inch) red Swiss Army knife on the shelf behind the dark sofa in the men’s sleeping area on the first floor. Please e-mail me if you find it and hold it until my next visit. It is a sentimental memento from my late father. (I’m sorry to mention this here, but I could not find any other way to contact you about this.)

  • Karli
    #12 written by Karli  6 years ago


    I just wanted to say that what you do is inspiring, showing us that you can really make your own way and meaning in life, that if you make intentional choices you aren’t bound to the same path as most others. I researched a bit about the history of this group, but what isn’t clear is how you made the transition from English teacher (I’m curious as to how you got started in that as well) to full time volunteer. What were your challenges, and how did you financially support yourself during this?



  • Patricia
    #13 written by Patricia  6 years ago

    I really wasn’t too sure of what to expect when I was heading up to Ishinomaki. I literally felt like a little stray in a cardboard box that INJM was picking up from the side of the road. I was supposed to meet up with another volunteer group, but due to timing issues was referred to Jamie after I arrived in Japan from Canada. I was forced to spend time with a group of absolutely amazing people and have one of the best weeks ever. Got to work on a variety of different projects; clearing debris from the Matsumura’s house, clearing a path so a family could access their second floor again, helping to restore store fronts, MacGyvering through gareki in the fields of Ayukawa and of course…shoveling mud. My only regret is having to leave so soon. And I might miss Jamie…ever so slightly.

  • Brent
    #14 written by Brent 6 years ago

    I did have the inclination to write a blog post about my experiences!

  • Mike
    #15 written by Mike  6 years ago

    What a great thing you are all doing! I lived in Fujisawa, Kanagawa for 10 years and the people I met in Japan were the nicest. Being that my wife is Japanese, I have relatives now in Japan. We moved to Canada three years ago and have a little daughter. We organized a Japanese community in my hometown and held a roast beef/sushi fundraiser with the funds going towards the Red Cross Japan. Every little bit helps.

    I know that Tohoku will come back, thanks to the support your organization is doing.

    Ganbare Nihon!!

  • Sheila
    #16 written by Sheila 7 years ago

    Jamie, when Elizabeth comes, can you take her to Ishinomaki volunteer center to get insurance, or should I try and find out how to buy it in Tokyo? Please let me know,

  • Anna
    #17 written by Anna 7 years ago

    I stayed with Jamie for two days. My friends and I registered with the Higashi Matsushima volunteer center (about a 20 minute drive away) and helped clear out a man’s carpentry warehouse for a day with that group. Unfortunately, because of rain, the volunteer activities were canceled for the second day, but we were so glad to have done the littlest bit to help. We met heaps of fantastic volunteers and inspiring people who live and work in Tohoku.

    I’m definitely looking forward to returning to Ishinomaki in the future. Thanks again, Jamie!

  • Jamie
    #18 written by Jamie 7 years ago

    まさか、Samって言う人は俺のお姉さん?!?If that’s the case, then wow! I do
    remember you! And your sister also! How are you?

    I’m still in Ishinomaki!

  • chi
    #19 written by chi 7 years ago

    Hi, Jamie. Do you remember me? I’m chi, sam’s friend! Sam told your website and you are in Ishinomaki where my grandma lives!! Are you still in there?

  • Jamie
    #20 written by Jamie 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I don’t think we met, but we seem to know a few of the same people! Hopefully i’ll see you if you come up again!

  • Ali AL Dhamen
    #21 written by Ali AL Dhamen 7 years ago

    I went up to Ishinomaki for a week with Peaceboat. Signup is easy, attend an orientation and pay ¥1,000 for insurance and ¥1,000 more for the round trip bus ride, accommodation, and food for a week.
    We stayed at a university campus in tents the whole time. Picked up trash for the fishermen, and did other general cleanup.
    When we got word that a typhoon would be on us in two days things stepped up and we were assigned to clear gutters near a group of fishing houses on a hill. The work took two days and was extremely tiring and satisfying. We were told that our work clearing the gutters prevented those houses from being lost too. Not everyday was that exciting but we received two meals a day, had a conbini nearby, and only paid ¥2,000 and 7 days to make a difference for a small group of people in ishinomaki.

    I met a lot of great people volunteering up north. If you have found this site you either already have volunteered or are thinking about it. There are very few excuses not to go, especially when groups make it this easy.


  • ぶりちゃん
    #22 written by ぶりちゃん 7 years ago

    I just came back from an awesome, rad weekend in Tohoku with Jaime and his posse.
    I went up with a group of Kobe ALTs by overnight bus.
    It was a long trip up, but it was totally worth it. All the peps that make up this organisation are choice!
    My buddy and I were only able to work two full days, but as Jaime and his crew said “every little bit counts.”

    Our work was shovelling out sludge, basically unblocking drains.
    It wasn’t fancy work, but I enjoyed every bit of it.
    Working with like minded people from across Japan and the world was fantastic.
    I have included a link with photos of my groups experience, so please take a look if you’re interested.

    So, if your thinking about volunteering – just freakin do it!
    They make it super easy, so easy that you can just turn up randomly and be part of the team!

  • Katherine Garner
    #23 written by Katherine Garner 7 years ago

    Hey everyone! Just came back from volunteering for a couple of days with It’s Not Just Mud and had a fantastic time. Really good to see people like Jaimie and Marci really making a difference. 

    My friend, Rosie Mitchell, and I went by car and combined our 2-days volunteering with a nice trip to an onsen and beer festival in Ichinoseki afterwards. We felt guilty at first for not staying the whole time but Jaimie assured us that every little helps. And as the area around Ichinomaki is so beautiful, I really suggest doing a bit of volunteering and then taking a holiday in the area to support the local economy (although I was drinking mainly beer from Osaka at the beer festival!). 

    Word of warning though! Remember to do the volunteering bit first and the relaxing later coz your gonna get dirty, dirty, dirty (in a fun way, not a sexy Christina Aguilera way).


Go to Top