A Xoogler in Tohoku - Two Months of Volunteering in the Disaster Zone





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Uploaded on Jun 17, 2011

Google Tech Talk (more info below)
June 14, 2011

Presented by Ryo Chijiiwa.


On April 15th, I arrived in Ofunato to join All Hands Volunteers, a US-based NPO, to assist with the relief and recovery efforts in the tsunami-devastated areas of Iwate prefecture. During my two-month stay, I talked to tsunami victims, helped coordinate projects, developed custom software, led work-teams on carpentry jobs in individuals' homes, and was project leader on an isolated "satellite" project in another city, operating independently from the main organization. My activities took me through Ofunato, Rikuzentakata, and Yamada, as well as many smaller communities along the coast.

The goals of this talk are to share with you what I experienced, learned, saw, and smelled out in the disaster area, as well as to give a first-hand account of the conditions on the ground. I would also like to dedicate some time to discussing ways in which the tech industry could help, and will leave ample time for questions and answers at the end.

About Ryo Chijiiwa:
After spending 4 years as a software engineer in Silicon Valley at Yahoo! then Google, I left the cubicle life in 2009 and embarked on a journey. I eventually bought 60 acres of land in the backwoods of North-Eastern California, where I built a cabin, and learned to live mostly off of the grid. As I watched live footage of the March 11th tsunami from my cabin, I felt a strong desire to do something. A month later, I left my cabin, for an open-ended trip to Japan...


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