About the local hosting organizationJapan Cat Network is a Japanese organization founded by two American expats, who have been living in Japan, teaching English, and helping cats since 1993. They started the group after having had success helping the cats in their own community through Trap, Neuter, Return programs (TNR), a method of population control in which stray cats are trapped for neutering and returned to the location. They are now managing a shelter for cats and dogs left alone after the different natural disasters touching Japan the last few years. In order to reach its goals, the JCN uses Trap, Neuter, Return programs, education and awareness through festivals and events that promote animal welfare, like cat and dog meet-and-greets and distributing fliers about the benefits of spaying and neutering pets. They encourage networking, and answer questions, loan materials, and/or connect people to local animal welfare services available in their communities. Since the disaster of March 11, 2011, JCN has been in Fukushima to help with the rescue and recovery efforts for animals left behind in radiation-evacuated areas. They have established close ties with the communities of Kawamata and Namie and continue to travel there multiple times a week to provide life-sustaining food to abandoned cats and dogs, to pick up sick, injured, or young animals, and to control the populations of the stray and feral cats through spaying and neutering. Additionally, they have two no-kill animal shelters and a network of foster homes across the country. REM: If minors apply for this project, they need to be accompagnied by an adult.
About the volunteer work
The work will mainly be composed of activities such as walking dogs, cat care, cleaning, shelter maintenance and building animal facilities. The basic timetable of the workcamps is about 20-24 hours of work per week, generally from Monday to Friday, but the necessities of the project can bring the volunteers to work some more (rarely less).
Local accommodationVolunteers will live in the shelter. The shelter is composed of 3 bedrooms shared with cats, 1 bedroom cat-free, 1 living room and 1 bathroom. in general, the volunteers would then have to spend their night time with cats.
Special info about the foodConsidering the sensitiveness of the members of the Japan Cat Network to the animal condition, the food provided will be vegetarian. However, meat-eaters can buy their own meat at local shops near to the shelter without any issues.
About the project locationThe shelter is located in a resort town, at the base of Mount Bandai. There are a number of large ski areas around the mountain, and the World Cup for Free Style Skiing was held in Inawashiro in February 2013. Information about the various ski areas can be found here: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7753.html Nearby Lake Inawashiro is the fourth largest lake in Japan, and is surrounded by natural beauty. There are hiking trails, bicycle paths, and beaches to enjoy. Within 30 or 40 minutes by train to the west, is Aizu Wakamatsu. This more urban area has a large castle, and several other historically significant locations for sightseeing. 40 or 50 minutes by train in the opposite direction is Koriyama, the largest city in Fukushima prefecture, with urban nightlife and shopping. More information can be found on the board of tourism website: http://www.tif.ne.jp/lang/en/
Extra info about the projectThe fee asked covers accommodation, food and energy use, and is used entirely for this purpose. The extra fee does not cover: • Cigarettes or alcohol. • Travel (medical) and cancellation insurance • Air transportation, departure taxes, or ticketing fees • Free time and leisure activities • Food other than that served at the shelter • Changes in the project, once the placement has been confirmed (unless in very special cases) • Bath and washing kits (soap, toothbrush, detergent etc) • Pick up service at Tokyo (airport / train station)