skyMEMOs are a collection of ideas and propositions –
opportunities to reflect
about the power of place, of people, in time –
towards the future of communities in regional Japan and beyond.

The story behind the name

高台にある運動場上空に幾つかパラシュートが現れた。みんなが 驚いて見上げていると、数名のアメリカ兵が舞い降りてくる。その内 目の前に立ち、英語で「何がほしいかこの紙にかいてくれ」と求めた。平成の森避難所の一人、及川ひとしさんは、よし分かったと言い、水、米、パン、スープ、毛布、なにしろ水、とリストアップした。翌日、彼らはまたヘリコプターで現れ、注文したものを届けてくれた。



The survivors camped out on the town’s recreation field looked up in amazement to see parachutes descending towards them. Once on the ground, young American soldiers rushed to greet the bewildered crowd. They held out a sheet of paper and in English said, “Please write down what you need!” Quickly guessing what these rescuers from the sky were saying, Hitoshi Oikawa jotted down: water, rice, bread, soup, blankets, more water…. The next day, the helicopters reappeared to deliver the goods.

Such was the scene two days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Minamisanriku in coastal Tohoku, Japan in March 2011. Oikawa-san was joined by so many others who recounted that day the first responders arrived “from the sky,” navy parachutists flown in by helicopter from a US aircraft carrier in the Pacific.

Commemorating that day, it was decided to call our stories of resiliency in the creation of future communities skyMEMO.

An idea a month

Starting in 2016, we will be introducing one skyMEMO theme at the beginning of each month, with more skyMEMOs and ideas to follow.  If you have the eTOPOS calendar, be sure to scan each month’s QR code on the first of the month to receive that month’s skyMEMO.

We welcome your contributions! Use this site to start conversations. If you would like to request a calendar or have ideas for future skyMEMOs, contact us.

Keep checking this page for updates, as these skyMEMOs are an ongoing and living project.