In the wake of Japan’s 2011 tsunami, in which some children remain missing, surfer Takashi Kobayashi felt like he should help the survivors in a way he knew only he could. So the proclaimed “tree house guru” has built a tree house classroom for the children of Higashi-Matsushima, one of the hardest-hit areas, to help with their healing process. “Many of these children are traumatized. They need natural beauty around them — and they really, urgently need homes and schools that will help foster in them a belief in the future,” says C.W. Nicol, a writer for the Japan Times. Kobayashi gets that. As a father of three children himself, “when I think of the children still missing from this area it hurts me,” he says.