Hayase’s Story

My earliest memory is playing games, because I’m always playing games.  I play FPS games, Call of Duty, and Rainbow Six.  I first heard about ITNAV when the members came to my school to teach a programming class.

I don’t want to go to college after I graduate, I want to work at the electric utility company. I want to try going somewhere outside of Ishinomaki if possible, so I can start a career. There are more opportunities elsewhere and I want to travel abroad.

I think every person in this city is very bright. I get a feeling of livelihood and strength from these people. After the tsunami, I was able to see this entire town come together and participate in the rebuilding. Before that, I wasn’t able to speak with people all too well. The aftermath of the disaster offered me a way to reach out and converse with the people around me more. I like that this town is just the right size. It’s peaceful and not too big. While I can still be a part of many things, I can still be close to all the people around me.

The most important people in my life are my family members. My parents used to work for a car company before the disaster, but now my dad manufactures electrical boards for cellphones. I have two younger brothers who currently live in another city. I also have two dogs.

Similar to what one of the DHDC students said, I think the idea of never giving up is one I want to convey to the world. The fact that we didn’t give up even after such a severe disaster is the reason we’re here today. That’s why I consider this message to be so close to my heart.

Haraka, Hina, and Yuna’s Stories


My name is Haraka. I’m 16 years old and attend West Ishinomaki High School. My family consists of my mother, father, and little sister. My favorite food to eat is salmon, and I like reading comics, listening to music, and playing table tennis. In school, my favorite subjects are English and history.

When I want to grow up, I want to be a nurse. I have an illness where my body is not able grow tall. A lot of people in the duration of my life have helped me because of this, and I want to do my part in giving back by being a nurse. To be a nurse, I want to stay in Ishinomaki and go to a vocational school here.

Another reason I would like to stay is because I think the food in Ishinomaki is delicious, and I love the nature surrounding and engulfed in the city. I am interested in a lot of the events that happen in Ishinomaki as well — mainly the summer festivals that are geared towards reintroducing vitality. People are invited from overseas to these festivals for brainstorming and an exchange of ideas. People seek to take lessons from overseas to incorporate into the festivals they do here. I like to study and observe the effects of those festivals on the well being of Ishinomaki, my city.



My name is Hina. I’m 16 years old and a second-year student at West Ishinomaki High School. I’m a member of the English Appreciation Club. I’ve lived in Ishinomaki my entire life. I love the great food here and how the city is surrounded by the ocean and mountains.

My normal day consists of studying and watching TV. I like watching American dramas like NCIS and Bridget Jones’ Diary. I joined the English Appreciation Club because I want to study English in New York one day. After graduating high school, I want to go attend college in Tokyo and study law. When I’m older, I want to join the police force. I like how there are many opportunities to experience in Tokyo.

I was 11 years old at the time of the disaster. I was in elementary school and we were all cleaning the classroom when the earthquake occurred. I was scared and didn’t know what was going on so I started crying. I went home and met up with my mother and little sister. The power lines had been damaged and there was a blackout. I didn’t realize what was going on until one of my neighbors started shouting, “There’s a tsunami!” After the tsunami was over, all I could see around my house was water. It looked like a lake in the middle of the neighborhood. The entire time, I felt surprised and caught off guard by the whole event. The next morning, my grandparents came home and I felt an immense sense of relief. We’d been unable to contact them before then.

The rebuilding process wasn’t as hard for us as some of the other people in my neighborhood. The tsunami didn’t wash away my house, so I’m actually still living in the same house as I was before the disaster. My mom used to be a housewife before, but after the earthquake, she became an administrator at a construction company.


My name is Yuna, and I am sixteen years old. I am in the English Appreciation Club at school because I want to learn to speak English well. In school, my favorite subject is music. I played the trumpet in junior high. After high school I plan on being a beautician; it seems really fun. 

My hobbies are listening to music, watching TV, and watching movies. I listen to both English music and Japanese music. My favorite music artist is Arashi and my favorite TV show is Variety. I like Disney movies like Beauty and the Beast, but I have not seen the new version yet. I also like Spiderman.

I have lived in Ishinomaki my whole life. My favorite thing about Ishinomaki is that it’s close to the sea. I live with my mom and dad in a house by the ocean. Although I like Ishinomaki, I want to go to Tokyo. I have never been there, but I am taken with the idea of a big city. Eventually I want to travel to the U.S., too.

Hulk’s Story

My real name is Kai Yoshida, but my nickname here at ITNAV is Hulk. I’m currently a 3rd year student at Ishinomaki University. I’m interning here at ITNAV. I first heard about ITNAV from a seminar at my university. My teacher, Fish, suggested I come work here. My main job is to develop android apps. So far I’ve created a memo application and an android engineer sample application. After graduating from university, I want to work as an android app engineer or simply a programmer, possibly in Tokyo, America, or China.

I think Ishinomaki is a really peaceful town; it’s very relaxing. And there’s really good food here! I’m from a smaller rural town in Miyagi that’s about 30 minutes away from Ishinomaki by train. I commute from home to go to school here and work at ITNAV.

I was a 2nd year junior high school student when the earthquake struck the area. I was preparing for my graduation ceremony at the time it occurred and was unable to go home for a while. However, since I live more inland, I didn’t know of the true situation of the cities near the sea. It was when I first came to Ishinomaki that I realized just how big of an impact the disaster had on communities along the coast.

I want to become one of the 1000 engineers that ITNAV produces and mentors. I want to be able to tell the world that even though Ishinomaki doesn’t have a great image because of the disaster, it’s still a wonderful place and people should definitely come and visit.

Ryuta’s Story

Ryuta has a memory of running around playing when he was two years old. It is rare for a person to remember something from such a young age, but this experience really stuck with him. His head smacked through a glass window while he ran. Shards of glass stuck out of his head. He’ll never forget this.

Even now that he is sixteen years old, he remains adventurous and determined. He sees himself as a video game programmer after he finishes high school. His goal is to make a game similar to Dragon Quest, his favorite game. Even now he is working hard to achieve his dream. Aside from gaining experience at ITNAV, he is the president of the programming club as his school. Sometimes he recruits ITNAV to come in and teach aspects of programming.  

Ryuta appreciates the combination of the city and nature in Ishinomaki. Aside from programming, he has a passion for fishing. But, ironically, he doesn’t like fish at all. He prefers chocolate; anything he buys at the convenience store has chocolate in some form.

For such a young age, he has insightful advice for anyone interested in programming. He says although programming has an image of being inaccessible, anyone should give it a shot and play around because it is not as difficult as its reputation suggests. Another piece of wisdom he had was that programming requires a lot of creativity. He believes it is the most important skill for the field. If you have any trace of a creative idea, he advises you don’t give up on it. Think about the idea in different ways, and it may turn into something.

Brown’s Story


My given Japanese name is Tetsuya Ouchi; my English name is Jonah, but everyone calls me Brown. I am 21 years old. I’ve been working at ITNAV as an intern since February of 2017. In my free time, I enjoy programming, video gaming, and reading books and manga. I grew up an only child, with just my mom and dad. My mom pushed me to learn English growing up, even though I did not always put in effort.

My given Japanese name is Tetsuya Ouchi; my English name is Jonah, but everyone calls me Brown. I am 21 years old. I’ve been working at ITNAV as an intern since February of 2017. In my free time, I enjoy programming, video gaming, and reading books and manga. I grew up an only child, with just my mom and dad. My mom pushed me to learn English growing up, even though I did not always put in effort.

I’m not originally from Ishinomaki. I was born and raised in Sendai, a nearby city. Sendai was much more convenient because there were many more supermarkets and convenience stores, but if you get used to Ishinomaki, it’s okay living here.

Although I am learning programming here at ITNAV, it is not what I will do in the future. I am leaving ITNAV this upcoming July to work at a sales promotion company. Before I came to ITNAV in February, I attended a university in Canada learning carpentry skills and trade. I realized that wasn’t what I was interested in, so I came back to Japan. The reason I think it is important to learn programming is because it can be combined with infinite ideas and will be useful for me in the future.

My advice to younger students is this: You can learn programming on your own through the internet, but as a beginner it’s still hard. For me, it is very helpful to have people around to ask questions when I am unsure of something. ITNAV makes learning programming much easier than doing it on your own. I want to tell others that ITNAV is open so welcome.

Learning programming for me is to get the most powerful means to express ideas and self. My final goal for now is to express all of my thoughts and self with this.

Tama’s Story


My name is Saori Chiba and my nickname here at ITNAV is Tama. I’m a graduate student studying business at Ishinomaki Senshu University. I came to know about ITNAV because my professor is an acquaintance of the company’s CEO, Furuyama-san. He suggested I apply here. There were many things I wanted to learn that I thought ITNAV would be able to teach me, so I decided to come here. My main job is android app development. I’ve created a watch application and an anniversary tracker application. After graduation, I’d like to stay in Ishinomaki as create my own IT company.

I’m originally from Ishinomaki and have lived here all my life. Ishinomaki has really good food and there are plenty of cool places like ITNAV. I honestly love everything about ITNAV. The people here are really interesting, like Furuyama-san for example.

The place where I lived wasn’t affected as much by the 3.11 disaster. There was food at home and water was still accessible, so I didn’t really realize how severe the destruction was. I only understood the severity of the situation a week afterward when I visited my high school and saw the devastation with my own two eyes. I can only remember how shocked I was then.

Because of the disaster, I was unable to go to Sendai University like I originally planned. This led me to attend university here in Ishinomaki, which is how I ended up meeting my professor and working at ITNAV. I want to use my experiences here at ITNAV to found my own company one day and benefit the city.

Favorite Song: CQCQ by Kamisama, boku wa kidzuiteshimatta

Kaito Abe’s Story

Hi, my name is Kaito Abe and I am 17 years old. I live with my brother, mother, and father. In my free time, I enjoy kendo, playing games, watching videos, and reading.

I was born and raised in Ishinomaki, but I plan on leaving my hometown. After high school, I want to go to a vocational school for game programming and eventually create my own game. However, I would like to eventually come back to my hometown and teach programming to students or continue programming with ITNAV. I like Ishinomaki because it has become more and more convenient. There have also been more people coming into Ishinomaki, so exchanges among people have increased.

I got involved with ITNAV a month ago, but I was interested in programming since I was 14. I heard about ITNAV from a hackathon event at my school in which I participated and learned from. When programming, I like that I can quickly shape my thoughts and place them onto the screen.

My advice for other youth is once you decide what you want to do, research and learn about it and act on it.