Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

A gift from Japan

March 26, 2012
a gift from Japan

a gift from Japan

I met my Japanese friends Yumi and Ken Crane in Bassano del Grappa, and they brought along the lovely Mio, who was a gift in herself, as such a delight was her company.

They had brought me a gift. What it was I did not know as I immediately took it up to my room to bring down Paulo Coelho books I had with me, which they were interested in seeing, especially Mio.

And there it sat on my bedside table, until a few days later when I was packing to leave. Not realising what it was, I almost threw it away. I then did realise, and packed it away in my suitcase.

There it lay, forgotten, until yesterday.

I dug it out and found a lovely bookmark. Hand painted and I think made of bamboo.

Thank you very much my Japanese friends for such a lovely gift from your country.

Churn snow ゆきちゃーん!

March 24, 2012

ゆきちゃーん!
今度じっくりね♡
早く会いたいよー

Churn snow!
♡ I now carefully
You I want to meet soon

ゆきちゃーん!
今度ゆっくりね♡
早く会いたいよー

Churn snow!
♡ I now slowly
You I want to meet soon

— Mio Baba

A Japanese girl’s dream come true

March 22, 2012
for Mio a dream come true

for Mio a dream come true

for Mio a dream come true

for Mio a dream come true

Christina Oiticica and Mio Baba

Christina Oiticica and Mio Baba

Rudolf Schenker and Mio Baba

Rudolf Schenker and Mio Baba

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

For Mio Baba meeting Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho was a dream come true. A miracle. She was so happy.

Mio first read The Alchemist six years ago when she was 22. She then read many more books, including Veronika Decides to Die and The Zahir.

She wanted to know more. She did a search. She came across Yumi Crane.

Why she thought, was the facebook picture of Yumi Crane with Paulo Coelho?

She wanted to know more. She contacted Yumi and asked.

Yumi told her of meeting Paulo Coelho in Istanbul at a St Jospeh’s Day party which he hosts every year with his friends. Of signs. Of the Alchemist stone, a story she and Ken Crane told as we sat around a table a year ago after the St Jospeh’s Day party.

Mio wished to go to Australia to improve her English (I suggested England would be better). She asked her boss. He said yes, then said no: If you want to go to Australia get a new job. Learning languages is not valued in Japan.

She was very disappointed.

When Ken learnt of her story, he contacted Paulo told him of Mio and her story and asked: Could Mio come to the launch of The Alchemist pen in Bassano del Grappa?

Paulo said yes, but went one better, he said bring her along to the St Joseph’s Day party that night, a party that was to take place in a medieval Venetian castle.

When Mio was told of the invite, she could not believe it. It was a miracle.

All four of us walked to The Alchemist launch. It was pouring with rain, we arrived dripping wet and squeezed in at the back.

After the launch, as Paulo walked out, he spotted us three and gave each of us a hug, Yumi, Ken and I.

We then introduced Mio.

Paulo gave Mio a big hug. Had she died on the spot she would have gone to heaven happy.

The best was yet to come. That evening we were going to Paulo’s St Joseph’s Day party at Castello Superiore di Marostica.

A taxi came to pick us up to take us into Bassano del Grappa from where we would be taken to the party.

Had Mio got her books for Paulo to sign? No, in the excitement she had forgotten. Not to worry we told her. The taxi turned around and she picked up her books.

At the castle she again met Paulo. Her books were signed. I introduced her to Christina Oiticica (artist and Paulo’s wife) and to Rudolf Schenker (founder and lead guitarist of German rock group Scorpions).

A dream come true for a very lovely person.

She made me two lovely origami figures on the train we caught to Venice two days later as a souvenir to remember her by, but sadly these got squashed in my bag.

I have another lovely surprise for her. A very special present which I know she will love.

The Narrow Road to the Disaster Zone

March 22, 2012

Matsuo Basho wrote The Narrow Road to the Deep North, a classic of haiku poetry, an account of a journey he made in 1689. He visited several places famous for their beauty, and because they had inspired poets in years gone by. The path he trod and the places he visited were devastated by the Tsunami that struck Japan a year ago.

To mark the first anniversary of the Tsunami and in honour of Basho, poet Stephen Henry Gill followed in the footsteps of Basho and like Basho wrote haiku poetry on what he saw and experienced.

01:35
No sooner had the spring mist begun to rise over the field than I wanted to be on the road again to cross the barrier-gate of Shirakawa in due time.

02:04
“Dousojin no maneki ni aite torumono teni tsukazu” 道祖神のまねきにあひて、取もの手につかず
(Not recorded in English:
Beckoned by Dosojin [the guardian spirit of travellers],
unable to put my hand to anything)

02:07
I was already dreaming of the full moon
rising over the islands of Matsushima.
“Matsushima no tsuki mazu Kokoro ni Kakarite” 松島の月まづ心にかかりて

02:26
“Natsukusa ya Tsuwamono domo ga Yume no ato” 夏草や兵どもが夢の後
These summer grasses
all that now remains of great warriors’ dreams. 

03:48
“Ishi no ka ya natsukusa akaku tsuyu atsuhi” 石の香や 夏草赤く 露あつし
Fumes from the stone
the summergrassis redden
the morning dew is hot

05:47
The gods seem to have possessed my soul and turned it inside out, and roadside images seemed to invite me from every corner.

09:49
With the pain of this secret love
my heart is full of tangled thoughts
like the wild fern patterns dyed on Shinobu cloth
of the far off north. (9C, by Minamoto no Toru)
陸奥(みちのく)の しのぶもぢずり 誰(たれ)ゆゑに 乱れそめにし われならなくに 河原左大臣

10:00
“Sanae toru temoto ya mukashi Shinobuzuri” さなえとるてもとやむかし しのぶずり
The busy hands
Of rice-planting girls,
Reminiscent somehow
of the old dyeing technique.

13:00
Late night thaw,
Snow crashing down from rooves:
As Basho’s was,
Another sleepless night?

13:22
“Dousojin no maneki ni aite torumono teni tsukazu” 道祖神のまねきにあひて、取もの手につかず
“Matsushima no tsuki mazu Kokoro ni Kakarite” (松島の月まづ心にかかりて)
I was already dreaming of the full moon
rising over the islands of Matsushima.

15:04
“Matsushima ya tsuru ni miokare hototogisu” 松島や鶴に見置かれほととぎす
Clear voiced cuckoo,
Even you will need The silver wings of a crane
To span the islands of Matsushima.

27:30
“Hamaguri no futamini wakare yuku akizo” はまぐり のふたみに別れ行く秋ぞ
As firmly cemented clam-shells. Fall apart in autumn, So I must take to the road again,
Farewell, my friends.

Many thanks to my lovely Japanese friend Misako Yoke for transcribing and posting on her blog.

Originally broadcast by the BBC on the first anniversary, but the BBC once again shoot themselves in the foot and fail to keep the programme on-line (two days left to listen).

It is a tradition of Paulo Coelho to mark St Joseph’s Day with a party for his friends. He always starts with prayers, first in Portuguese, then in many other languages. Yumi Crane spoke of the Tsunami. It was very moving. She was in tears. I was holding the hand of Mio. She was in tears. I was in tears. It was exactly one year, one week, one day since the Tsunami struck.

Songs From Tokyo was written and performed by Lindee Hoshikawa in memory of the Japanese tsunami.

Thinking of Home

April 5, 2011
thinking of home

thinking of home

My deepest condolences to the people in Japan. Thank you, those who kindly contacted me. My family is safe in Tokyo. As I learn about all horrible news from Japan, my heart is breaking. I grew up in Japan, listening to many horrible earthquake disaster stories, and was always ready for that, but not for this one. I am sad. — Naoko Stoop

$10 each from the sales of Thinking of Home print is going to be used to support American Red Cross, Japan Red Cross, and other organizations for their disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake throughout the Pacific.

Self-taught Japanese illustrator Naoko Stoop lives in Brooklyn, New York. She creates childhood images in her loft studio.

I’m trying to bring out the five-year old in people through my artwork. Because I believe that is the last moment before children start learning how complicated the world is, and that was when I once stopped drawing. It took me decades to come back to myself.

Top story in Liberal Slacker (Tuesday 5 April 2011).

Wishes and cranes with love
Japan: Dignity amidst destruction
How to save people in Eastern Japan
Thoughts and prayers for Japan
Suffering

Wishes and cranes with love

April 5, 2011
treasure box

treasure box

Last week Sunday I visited HG at his home. I stood before him with the treasure box (as shown above) in my hands.

“Do you want to see what’s inside?” I said.

HG came closer, drawn to the silver and gold, the glitter that twinkled on top.

I opened the box. HG’s face brightened with a smile. Nestled inside were four colorful, paper cranes. A rainbow of blue, yellow, pink, orange, red, and green.

He caressed the beak of the crane closest to him.

“Do you know where we are sending this treasure box?”

He shook his head.

“To Japan.”

paper cranes

paper cranes


“Japan?” he said, excited about going to a new place and telling his friends at pre-K.

“We’re also putting wishes inside the box.”

HG raised his eyes in a wonder.

“And you will get to pick four names, who will each receive a special print created by Naoko Stoop. She’s a Japanese artist. Would you like to pick four names later?”

HG nodded. He touched another crane, careful not to crush the wings.

I searched for the right words to explain the recent tragic events. Words that would not lie but also not leave a mark of helplessness. I bent down, meeting him face-to-face. I said, “There was a big earthquake in Japan and many things were lost, even children’s homes like the one you have here. We are sending wishes to show them that we care and are praying for them.”

That evening at the dining table, after dinner had been eaten, I spread a small confetti of yellow rectangles in front of HG. His parents smiled.

“Are you ready?” I said.

HG’s face bloomed with joy. He reached over and picked a rectangle, then another until four were placed in my palm: Michael Douglas Jones, Dr. Pooja Tripathi, Anita Bondi, and Katie_9999.

“Can I pick more?” HG said.

“Sure,” I said. “That’s a good idea. In case the first four are unable to accept the gift.”

When all the names had been selected, I asked HG if he had a wish for Japan.

“That I love them,” HG said. “Yes.”

thinking of home

thinking of home


❤ Thank you, readers, for all your wishes of light, love, and hope for Japan. For joining us here and wrapping your arms around hope. So many ways to help:

American Red CrossDoctors Without Borders
Global GivingJapan Earthquake Relief FundNaoko Stoop’s Help Japan ProjectOperationSafeFaith and Courage.

Thank you for making the Journey of Hope a possible one. For the donations, large and small. It all helps as we move forward. Together.

A special thanks go out to Ken Crane for receiving our treasure box of wishes and cranes for the children of Japan, and to Naoko Stoop for donating portions of her proceeds to the American Red Cross. Thank you for showing the way with H๏Pモ.

May Japan’s strength and courage be the light in the night that brings her a new day when all that has been destroyed be remade.

In this moment for Japan, SUMMER by Joe Hisaishi. Let’s play it live, lift our hearts together with a song. To the grace and courage of Japan ❤

— Mia

Originally posted by Mia on her blog.

Thinking of Home
Japan: Dignity amidst destruction
How to save people in Eastern Japan
Thoughts and prayers for Japan
Suffering

Japan: Dignity amidst destruction

April 5, 2011

1. THE CALM
Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.

2. THE DIGNITY
Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.

3. THE ABILITY
The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn’t fall.

4. THE GRACE
People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.

5. THE ORDER
No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding.

6. THE SACRIFICE
Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?

7. THE TENDERNESS
Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the weak.

8. THE TRAINING
The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.

9. THE MEDIA
They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage.

10. THE CONSCIENCE
When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly

THE WHOLE WORLD SHOULD LEARN FROM THEM

— Pooja Tripathi

From a facebook note by Pooja Tripathi.

Yes, that is what I noticed some time ago, very stoic behaviour, no blaming of God, they accepted it as the force of nature.

Thinking of Home
Wishes and cranes with love
How to save people in Eastern Japan
Thoughts and prayers for Japan
Suffering

How to save people in Eastern Japan

March 26, 2011
Japan

Japan

Situation in Eastern Japan is still bad.
More than 10thousand people are found dead in the earthquake and tsunami (most of the victims were killed in tsunami).
And nearly 20thousand people are not even found yet.
Tsunami swep away the towns and villages near the coast of some of the prefectures.
Those disaster area lacks in everything still in this present point.
No electricity, no foods, no medicine, no house to sleep, no fuel to burn the stove.
So plaese donate for those people.
Money is very important for them after the disaster.
Japanese Red Cross might be the best organization to donate:

http://www.jrc.or.jp/english/relief/l4/Vcms4_00002070.html

I also want the people of United Nation to have a conference as soon as possible.
Economy will decline for sure after this disaster; many of factories are closed, and due to the power plant problem, farmers can’t produce crops, even in Tokyo lacks electricity.
That means that this problem will continue for a long time.

The disaster area needs volunteer:
Please come to volunteer to Japan.
All kinds of people are needed.
Still thousands of people are staying at the shelters don’t know what to do.
Doctors, carpenters, counselor, chef, all kinds of people are needed to help them.

http://www.newrealityinternational.org/volunteer
http://hands.org/tag/japan-tsunami/?gclid=CIzy2beO6qcCFQPTbgod7zxCbQ
http://workvolunteerabroad.com/tag/volunteer-japan-earthquake/

Sing for the victims:
Plaease sing a song for the people badly affected by earthquake and post it in YouTube.
I am sure that music will bright up the people.
Send relief goods to disaster area:
Thousands of people just lost everything, even their houses and cars.
If you want to send something directly, please send it to the prefectoral office below.
These 4 prefectures were badly affected by tsunami.
Print it out and paste one of the 4 and send it to Japan.
Don’t forget to write a message on the surface of the package (people might not notice that it was sent for donation).

〒980-8570
仙台市青葉区本町3-8-1
宮城県県庁 JAPAN

〒020-8570
盛岡市内丸10-1
岩手県県庁 JAPAN

〒030-8570
青森市長島1-1-1
青森県県庁 JAPAN

〒960-8670
福島市杉妻町2-16
福島県県庁 JAPAN

Please write your idea what to do:

Thousands of people seems as if they lost their future.

Please write if you have any idea how to reconstruct their washed out community.

And to my friends and anyone who is reading this, please re-post, share this article on your webpage.

Love & Peace to the world

from Tokyo Japan

I was more than happy to re-post what was originally posted by Ken Crane on his blog.

As I wrote to Ken Crane, the only good to come out of this tragedy is that it has woken the world to the dangers of nuclear power. Those areas in the vicinity of the nuclear fallout are probably off-limits for at least a generation.

Top story in Japan earthquake/Terremoto en Japón for Sunday 27 march 2011.

Also see

Thoughts and prayers for Japan

Thoughts and prayers for Japan

March 14, 2011
Japanese girl

Japanese girl

As banked clouds
are swept apart by the wind,
at dawn the sudden cry
of the first wild geese
Winging across the mountains.

In a mountain village
at autumn’s end—
that’s where you learn
what sadness means
in the blast of the wintry wind.

— Saigyo (XIIth Century)

Each of the rain drops has a tale to tell
about the sorrows of people
about the hardships living things go through
about the arrival of sparrows.

— Yamamura Bocho (XXth Century)

Out in the marsh reeds
A bird cries out in sorrow,
As though it had recalled
Something better forgotten.

— Ki No Tsurayuri (Xth century)

The evening sky itself
becomes something to cherish
when I gaze at it,
seeing in one of the clouds
the smoke from her funeral pyre

— Murasaki Shikibu (XI century)

Oh you yellow leaves
that whirl upon the autumn slopes
if only for a moment
do not whirl down in such confusion,
that i may see where my beloved dwells.

— Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (8th century)

Lord, protect our planet, because we live here, and here we dwell with our daily tragedies.

May our daily reconstruction be the result of the very best that we carry within us.
Give us the courage
to be able to reconstruct what was destroyed
to be able to recover what was lost
to be able to accept what was gone forever.
May you give us courage to look ahead,
may we never look back nor allow our soul to be discouraged.

Lord, give us enthusiasm, because Enthusiasm reaffirms to us that everything is possible, as long as we are totally committed to what we are doing.

Lord, may the Earth continue to transform seeds into wheat, may we continue to transmute wheat into bread. Do not leave us in solitude.

Have compassion on us, Lord. For we often think we are dressed when we are naked.
Do not forget, in your mercy, our friends in Japan, who are now teaching us the meaning of Courage, Reconstruction, Solidarity and Enthusiasm.

Amen

— Paulo Coelho

Why does God, if God exists, the God of compassion, all powerful, allow these tragedies to occur?

Japan lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, tectonic plates move. It was the movement of tectonic plates that caused the earthquake, the ocean floor rose by several metres sending a tidal wave of water heading out at 500 mph.

Tectonic plates are one of the mechanism of Gaia. Without Gaia there would be no life on earth.

We interfere with Gaia at our peril.

The people of Japan are quite stoic about what happened. They blame no one. They accept it is the force of Nature at work.

Suffering
Christian Theology and Gaia
How to save people in Eastern Japan