In the fishing village of Wakkanai

Wakannai Wakannai, the tip end of Japan facing the Sakhalin Islands belonging to Russia

Our Community, in the extreme north of the country, is more than 50 years old! A page has turned in our life since we stopped working in the city hospital. One of us has worked there since the very beginning and for the past ten years Veronica Haruko had a full time job there. With the population diminishing each year it is no longer possible to get jobs when you are over 60. So now Haruko has started a handicraft business decorating candles with dried flowers. She sells them in the parishes or Community centers and has received a lot of orders from our Anglican friends.

Because of the unemployment, the city tries to boost the tourist industry. Thanks tothe kindness of the owner of a big store situated in front of the port where the boats leave for the neighboring islands, we can position ourselves on the grass in front with our suitcase full of our handiwork to sell. In the center of our layout of candles, we put the Infant Jesus and we have a banner that reads: « a little light from the north. » so many people stop and open up their hearts to speak of their personal lives. We meet not only tourists but also the men who work at the port. Some days, the candles sell well, but we have bad days too but at the end of the day we hold in prayer the faces or words of our encounters. Soon this port is going to be transferred to where the boats going to the Russan island of Sakhalin leave and which is an international port so we wait to see what happens!

In Wakkanai village drying seaweedIn Wakkanai village drying seaweed

In the community we are three Little sisters, two from Japan and one from France. We all take an active part in village life. Madeleine Armelle works at collecting seaweed for food processing and also according to the season shellfish. The shellfish are cultivated in nets which have to be changed as the shells grow. Cultivation can take up to five years.

Life revolves around the sea!Life revolves around the sea!

Misao who is the first Japanese Little sister is always busy welcoming people from the village and looking after the flowers and vegetables they grow. The Little sisters first came to Wakkanai in 1954 so there is now a whole network of friendship in the village and beyond.

Growing flowers and vegetablesGrowing flowers and vegetables