Translated from
Happy New Year! We hope that this year treats everyone kindly.

This was the second time that we’ve welcomed the New Year since the great earthquake. In Yuriage Port, Natori City, Miyage, a kite bearing the smiling faces of children from the area stricken by the disaster rose into the sky, near an incinerator used for burning debris. Since ancient times, prayers and dreams have been attached to a kite at the start of the year, delivering these messages to the heavens. It was hoped that the smiling faces of actual children would visit the victims of the disaster on this first day of the year, too.

It was a beautiful day in Yuriage. A crowd gathered to face the New Year’s sunrise in an empty lot underneath the umbrella of the kite and its smiling faces dancing in the sky. As the kite rose into the air there was a chorus of cheers exclaiming how beautiful it was. It felt like the surrounding mood had changed, and there was definitely a ‘hope for the future’.

The crowd was extremely moved at the sight of the children's smiles, and hearts were quivering.

"The smiling faces will ascend to the heavens. We hope that the smiles will create a wonderful new year!"

Let's aim to be people who have an abundance of smiles in 2013.

The chain of children's smiles will spread to our own faces. The smiles will in turn spread throughout the region and the nation, and will then cross the seas, spreading throughout the world and creating peace. Can each person try keeping a happy face in 2013 and see what happens? It is said that a good laugh can activate NK cells and prevent sickness.

"You don't smile because you are blessed. You are blessed because you smile".

It is because of the times that we live in that a quiet, refined, healthy laugh is a necessity. Together, if we do as much work “with dreams of happiness” as possible, we will laugh and make it a great year.

I would humbly like to address the New Year.

We are truly thankful for the extraordinary hospitality we have received in previous years. This year, the MERRY PROJECT celebrates its 13th year. We will increase the number of smiling faces, and to continue the project to make the globe MERRY this year, too, so we ask for your support.

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Smile Get! Japan News Now is a series of sporadic translations highlighting good news, events, and articles from Japan.

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