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Chilling Out at a Stake House (!) in Phrao

As our 3rd anniversary at Rang Mai Library was very successful, we decided to treat ourselves a bit over lunch. I was so surprised when someone suggested to go to a stake house nearby!! And I tell you, it was really close to our library–litearlly just around the corner.

And, here is what we had–P’Cha, Tuu, and Bhum had fried fish, and I had pork stake. We shared a tuna salad, 2 plates of French fries, and “honey toast”.

The taste? Hmmm… tasted like stake in Phrao. Those you have come to Phrao may know what I mean by this. If you are curious, come and visit!

I’m sorry I didn’t take the photo of honey toast. My colleagues said it’s too pathetic… Hahaha…

One good thing was the price. For all these food, we paid a bit over 500 baht. Good deal for sure. But we think we will go to a somtam place near high school next time :p

When a Polish, An Italian, and a Japanese Have Dinner Together…

This morning, I woke a bit earlier than usual, not only to enjoy the crisp morning of early winter in Phrao, but also to say goodbye to Anna and Andrea, a couple who has just started on a journey around the world.
There seem to be more and more of those globe-trotters who quit the job and go for around-the-world trip, but their mission is a bit unique.
Anna from Poland and Andrea from Italy want to travel from country to country, looking for “changemakers”.
We spent about a week together, getting to know each other, and talking about everything from history of pasta in Italy to the ideal system in the society.
For instance, it was so interesting as we talked about the second world war at a restaurant at a corner in town.
Even though I live in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, I get to meet so many fascinating people like them!?
How nice to run a grassroot organization, right?

Later, they will write about what I do with ARC team in Italian, Polish, and English!
Anna has written a bit about her experience with us here in her blog.

Anna, Andrea, it was so great to have you around!
Please stay safe and healthy, and may there be always kind people around you two during your long journey.
I look forward to meeting you in near future somewhere on this planet.

Packing Night

Tomorrow, I am off to Bangkok, then on Saturday, move to Bali, Indonesia for about a week to participate in a conference.
I am excited as I will be meeting my friends and colleagues.
It’s just that it would have been perfect without the hustle of packing.

As I travel long distance at least 2-3 times a month, packing is nothing new for my daily life.
But it doesn’t make me love it, unfortunately…
All the cables for dozens of gadgets I use, money in different currency, clothes of all occasions…
Thinking about all of that makes me sleepy already.
Where is my little fairy?
Even my cat ran away…

Cool Gift from Japan

This is not just a map, but a “tactile map”.
It’s a map which you can feel the landmarks and roads by touch.
It’s labled in Braille too, so Braille readers can read the map on our own.
I got this wonderful gift from Prof. Tetsuya Watanabe at Niigata University.
It’s so exciting to make many discoveries after 5 years of living in Chiang Mai 🙂
For instance, I didn’t realize how far out airport and the bus terminal are from the main square of the city.
I will bring a copy to the blind school in Chiang Mai, so that the children can learn the map of their city.

Thank you so much, Watanabe-sensei!!

Mud + Rice Husk + Hard Work of Many = Beautiful Classroom

Little Smiles Center Opening Day

Today, we opened our third early childhood center, Little Smiles Center, in Mae Waen Noi Village, Mae Waen Sub District, Phrao, Chiang Mai. This will be the biggest center, starting in May with 16 Lisu tribe children and 2 staff. Many people say that the building looks the most gorgeous, too!

The building would not have been here if it was not for the enormous support given by Eco Peace, a nonprofit organization in Japan, who sponsored the entire construction cost for us. We must also mention that this is the result of continuous hard work by Albert and Peter, volunteers from the Dragonfly Community Foundation, who designed and built it as the team leaders together with the entire village of Mae Waen Noi Village. Our British volunteers, Charlotte and Esme, contributed a lot as well, participating in every step starting from brick-making, all the way to decorating the outer walls with delicate mosaic made of broken tiles and glasses.

Since we started this projects, there has been some moments that we thought we may need to cancel the project due to some difficulties, but we could welcome this day thanks to the perseverance and encouragement from many of you.

We will be closed for a week for Thai new year holidays, so please be patient to wait for the other photos of this event.

Thank you so much for your help, and happy Songkran to everyone!

Opening of Sunshine Kids Center in Siplang Village

After 3 months of ups and downs since January this year, we finally reached the day to open the door of the early learning center for Akha children in Siplang Villagein Doi Monlan, Wiang-pa-pao, Chiangrai. Inspired by the idea of Mr. Katsuhiro Mizuno, our main donor (an architect from Gifu, Japan), we named it Sunshine Kids Center. As you can see in the photos, we made the sign board with 4 languages: English, Thai, Akha, and Japanese, to indicate that this center is the result of collaboration by many organizations and people around the world.

The moment we brought in blackboard, colorful books, toys, and puzzles, purchased with support from all children and adults at Bangkok Prep school, children started to stream into the center. All kids, big and small, literate and not yet so, got to enjoy all the cool stuff 🙂

Saturday went by in an instant as we did last-minute preparation–paving the path to the bathroom at the back, putting up the sign board and the banner, organizing books and tory in places, etc. We had our first meeting with the parents to talk about school schedule and other small but important agreements. When Yoshi was having the meeting, Tuu was busy reading to a bunch of eager kids (including those who don’t understand Thai language!).

To mark this day, we held a small opening ceremony on Sunday morning. Since Siplang is a Christian village, we started by singing gospel songs and hymns outside the center. P’Sem, the religious leader and the main constructor, led the prayer before opening the door. All of us went inside, and exchanged thanks and happiness inside the cool and cozy room. Kids couldn’t stand listening, so they started to reach books to read as grownups talked :p

Of course, this is just the beginning of the center’s history, but we definitely feel that it was a major milestone. We are so grateful for each and every individuals and organizations who care about us and support us from near and far. THANK YOU!!

New Year Greetings

Do you know what a dragon look like?
What color is he?
What can he do?
What sound does he make when he roar with all his might?

Now, try to go on his back,
and fly up in the sky with him.
What can you see?
How do you feel?
What do you smell?

Friends, this is the power of imagination, and the beauty of dreams.

With your continuous support, ARC has been trying to empower people of all ages to imagine and to dream on by bridging between books and people  who cannot reach them.
In this year of dragon, with much respect and gratitude, I wish you a healthy year with time to imagine and dream.
Don’t let anything (amount of your hair, what you do to eat, money in your wallet, or whatever) come and intervene!
Forgot how to imagine? Thought dreams were for kids only?
Well, join us, and soon you will see.

A happy 2012 to you!

Bookworm News Dec. 2011: Christmas of a 90-Year-Old Grandpa

Dear friends of ARC around the globe,

It’s far from white Christmas here in Phrao, Chiangmai, but we feel freezing while driving the motorbike around under 20 degrees.
Let us send you our heartful Christmas greetings, though it’s already a few days late!
Today, we went to deliver Christmas gifts to a 90-year-old grandpa in Huai Sai village.
What were the gifts?
OF COURSE, books!
We brought him a Bible and some Christian books, which were donated from one of our friends in Bangkok.
As the only one Christian in the entire family and being hard of hearing, he seemed to enjoy our gift a lot.
Another bridge between books and people were built, thanks to our friends’ support.
We thank each and every one of you for supporting ARC throughout 2011.
You made it possible for us to connect books and people.
ARC cannot give you any gifts, but please be proud that YOU were the one who put on a smile on the kid’s face.
YOU were the one who made that grandma laugh as our volunteer read for her.
That warm feeling in you is the gift from us.
Let’s enjoy the last week of 2011, and get ready to welcome 2012!

With warm regards and much gratitude,


Bookworm News Oct. 2011



Dear everyone,


Greetings from Phrao, Chiangmai. This is Yoshimi at Always Reading Caravan.

Yes, it has been such a long time since I wrote to you about the progress of ARC. I am so embarrassed about it, and feel so bad about it. There is no excuse that I can make, but I promise that you will hear from us more often after this.


I am happy to tell you that I have so much to tell you regarding ARC. Actually, it ended up to be rather long letter… So please sit back and enjoy!






Chapter 1. Flood in Thailand

Chapter 2. Our Partner in Suphanburi: A Flower of Library in Blossom

Chapter 3. Projects in Chiangmai

Chapter 4. Projects in Bangkok

Chapter 5. Picture books/Kamishibai Translation Project

Chapter 6. Social Media and ARC

Chapter 7. Introduction of ARC Members





Chapter 1. Flood in Thailand


You might be worried about us as Thailand has been hit by the worst flood in half a century. At the moment, 26 out of 77 provinces have been affected. Over 300 people lost their lives, and 2.4 million people have been affected by the disaster.


Water is reaching Bangkok slowly but steadily. I am not in Bangkok, but have to go back in 10 days time before going back to Japan briefly. I hope that the road between Chiangmai and Bangkok will be still accessible by then…


Fortunately, up to now, nobody at ARC has been affected by the disaster. Our partners in Suphanburi and Chiangmai are also unaffected. All the books for our Bangkok projects are in my apartment, but it’s on the second floor, so there is no need to worry. I assure you that all books are kept safe and dry!


Please pray for us so that water will go back to where it belongs. If possible, please make a donation to support flood relief.


The Thai Red Cross is accepting donations as they continue working in 34 provinces to provide fresh water, hot meals, medical help, and rescue services to victims of the flood.


The Bangkok Post has also put out a list of public and private groups accepting donations, including the Prime Minister’s Office and the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation.





Chapter 2. Our partner in Suphanburi: A flower of library in blossom


Since last year, we have conducted several mobile library activities in Suphanburi Province in Central Thailand. This has been one of the most successful library sites as we have a local partner in the village itself.


Aj. Wiboon is a Thai teacher at a local high school. She and her husband have a piece of land full of beautiful trees and cozy houses. Her long-term dream has been to open a small community library at home to encourage people in the village to read more and freely. So when I met her by coincidence and told her about the concept of ARC, she immediately offered us to open weekend library activity at her home itself!


See pictures of our activities here:


Activity in Mar. 2011



Activity in Oct. 2011



After our latest activity at her place, she wrote to me via Facebook:

“We are in the school holiday now, and many kids keep coming to borrow books from here. They also make record of borrowed books nicely. Our dream may really come true, Yoshi!”
ARC is so happy to see our first seed of library, beginning to grow to be a beautiful flower in the community. Thank you, Aj. Wiboon, brothers and sisters in the village, and all the small bookworms there! And we thank you, friends and supporters around the world, for making this happen.






Chapter 3. Projects in Chiangmai


We have started our permanent service in this area in collaboration with Warm Heart Foundation.



We will hire a full-time paid staff as project assistant, and start the following projects:

      Motorbike library: a mobile library on a motorbike for children in and around Huai Sai village, Mae Pang Subdistrict, Phrao District, Chiangmai Province. We are in the process of needs study, and are hoping to kick-start our library within a month. We have set up a station for our mobile library at the children home at Warm Heart Foundation. It’s a small rice barn with raised floor, and it’s a perfect place to relax, read, and take a nap too!! You can see its photo here…



      Preparatory school for Akha children: a pre-primary school on the mountain for children from Akha tribe in Sip-lang village, Monlan Mountain, Wiang-pa-pao District, Chiangmai Province. You can see the village view from here:



We are going to start this project in December with construction of small schoolhouse out of mud, straw, grass, and bamboo. Very excited to send you the progress later on!




Chapter 4. Projects in Bangkok


In this area, we have been conducting weekend mobile libraries and small story-telling activities with volunteers. From now on, this area will be concentrating more on administrative and PR-related work. Some of the activities that will be covered are:

      Fundraising: We will conduct various activities (e.g. book bazaar) to raise fund.

      Media coverage: We will take interviews to raise awareness towards the public.

      Delivery story-telling: Small groups of volunteers visits organizations/individuals who are in need of readers, such as elderly, persons with disabilities, hospitalized patients, etc.

      Weekend mobile library: We visit communities with committed partners and conduct 2-3 day activities to encourage reading. We will start from the community in Suphanburi Province, as this will be our official land of registration.


At the moment, activities must slow down due to the flooding, but hopefully life will be back to normal in a month or so…




Chapter 5. Picture books/kamishibai translation Project


We have over 30 volunteer translators around Thailand and beyond, willing to translate English/Japanese picture books into Thai. Then, we will use them in our activities both in Central and Northern Thailand.


There are a lot of quality picture books in Thai language, but we are looking for the following type of books (new or gently used) in English or Japanese.

      Tactile books (books that children can touch and feel)

      Pop-up books (durable ones, if possible)

      Folktales from around the world (except for well-known ones such as Isop, Grimm, Andersen, etc.)

      Picture books based on lives of children around the world (wars and conflicts, poverty, adventure, disease, etc.)

      Kamishibai (Japanese-style picture slides for story-telling)


Please send them to my apartment in Bangkok, and then I will distribute them to volunteer translators. (Please see my signature below for my postal address.)


* As we will be physically cutting and pasting the translated text onto original text in the picture books, kindly select books with less text. For instance, literature for young adults with tiny illustration for each chapter would be too difficult to be translated. If you are interested in contributing into this project in any way, please feel free to contact me.




Chapter 6. Social media and ARC


We now have a Facebook page, Twitter account, and Youtube channel. Please come back to check regularly for update.
















Chapter 7. Introduction of ARC members


Please watch this Youtube video to see some of our core members working closely with me, mainly in Bangkok area. Excuse me, the video is in Japanese, but we put detailed description in English too.







Thank you for reading all the way through. I hope to stay in touch with you more regularly so that you don’t have to read such a long story in months!


Last but not least, all staff at ARC appreciates your continuous support. Children are our future, and we do want to help open their window into the world through reading, but all the activities would not have been possible without your support. We would be very happy if you could spread the words about us to your friends and colleagues so that we can reach out to more potential bookworms here in Thailand. Here are some ways that you can join our caravan.


1. Monetary Donation:
We are currently in the process of registration as an official organization in Thailand. In the meantime, please use the following bank account. This account is to be used only for ARC activities.

Account Holder: Yoshimi Horiuchi
Bank name: Thai Military Bank
Branch: Arkhaan Yada (Yaka Building) Silom branch
Bank No.: Saving Account 232-204-9202

2. Books Donation:
Please send any type of new or gently-used books (except for textbooks) to the following address. We will use the books for children in our activities, and other books will be sold to raise fund for ARC.

Ms. Yoshimi Horiuchi
Urai Apartment 209
70 Krungthonburi Rd, Soi 4
Banglamphulang, Khlongsan,
Bangkok 10600

If you are near Chiangmai or would like to donate books for children in particular, please send them to the following address. It will be used mainly for children from various hill tribes in Phrao, Chiangmai.

Yoshimi Horiuchi
c/o Warm Heart PO Box 8
T. Wiang, A. Phrao, Chiangmai 50190

3. Volunteers:
Wherever you are, whatever you are good at, we are always happy to welcome you as our volunteer. If you are interested, please send your inquiry first. If you already know what you would like to do, please send your CV directly.
Email: volunteer@alwaysreadingcaravan.org
Our director, Yoshimi Horiuchi, can be reached at
in Thai, English, or Japanese.





Yoshimi Horiuchi

Director/Founder, Always Reading Caravan (ARC)

Urai Apartment 209

70 Krungthonburi Rd, Soi 4, Banglamphulang, Khlongsan, Bangkok 10600 THAILAND

Email: yoshimi.horiuchi@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/yoshimiarc

Twitter: www.twitter.com/yoshimiarc

Mobile in Thailand: (+66) 83-542-7283




JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: Always Reading Caravan (ARC) Project Assistant

Always Reading Caravan (ARC) is a non-governmental and not-for-profit organization to promote the joy of reading and learning among children with and without disabilities in Thailand.  Our missions are:
• to promote reading for pleasure,
• to provide equal reading opportunities for children from various background, and
• to encourage children with and without disabilities to mingle with one another to remove mental barrier between them.

Currently, we are planning to start two new projects in Phrao, Chiangmai in collaboration with Warm Heart Foundation.
1. Motorbike library: a mobile library on a motorbike for children in and around Huai Sai village.
2. Preparatory school for Akha children: a pre-primary school in Sip-lang village on the mountain for children from Akha tribe.

Job Description:
Ms. Yoshimi Horiuchi will be in charge of the projects mentioned above.  The project assistant is required to work closely with the director in all aspects of work.  He/she must be able to travel and make overnight trips. The main tasks are as follows:
• Conduct story-telling and other fun activities for children at the library site. The director will accompany first, but later he/she may need to conduct all the activities by himself/herself.
• Take photographs and videos.
• Drive car and motorbike.
• Has a driver’s license, and owns a car or motorbike.
• Basic computer skills (MS Word and Excel, emailing software, internet)
• Strong communication skills
• Problem-solving skills.
• Sense of responsibility.
• Adventurous and ready for challenges.
• Love working with children and youth.
• Preferably can speak English and languages of ethnic groups in the north (e.g. Akha, Lahu, Lisu, Karen, etc.).  If not, must be willing to learn from scratch.

Education Requirement: N/A (as long as you can read and write in Thai)
Language Requirement: Thai, but preferably English and Japanese
Working area: In and around Huai Sai Village, Mae-Pang Subdistrict, Phrao District, Chiangmai
Employment Type: full time
Salary Level: based on skills/experiences
• Free shared accommodation if desired (to be shared with the project director)
• Chance to learn English and Japanese
• Health insurance

How to Apply:
Interested candidates should submit a CV to
or call