Volunteers spend spring holidays helping Japan's quake-hit areas

Central Japan's Ishikawa Prefecture is still recovering from the massive New Year's Day earthquake that struck the Noto Peninsula.

On Saturday, about 100 university students from across the country joined residents in their cleanup efforts in Suzu City where a tsunami caused extensive damage.

Residents voiced their gratitude for the help saying, "Nothing is impossible if everyone unites."

In hard-hit Nanao City, local residents harvested Sakiyama strawberries, a local specialty.

Residents had to depend on trucked in well water to grow the fruit since the area's water supply has been cut off for about 3 months.
Sakiyama community group member Kosaki Hirotoshi said he was glad for the harvest. He noted that although the berries are a bit smaller than usual, they are very sweet.

Quake damage has forced city residents to scale down traditional events such as the local Seihakusai festival that are usually held around this time of year.

A parade featuring a huge float called a Dekayama is designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.

But this year, the procession was called off as damaged roads are still being rebuilt, amid other safety concerns.

The head of the festival's preservation association says they aim to hold the full festival next spring.