Thursday, December 5, 2013

"Furusato" is the most beloved Japanese folk song. The message is poignant and nostalgic, bringing tears to Japanese eyes whenever it is sung. Over the two and a half years of survivor care in Tohoku, we watched as the song's meaning deepen for the survivors of 3/11. Even though many have come to terms with their lives now, there is still a deep longing to return to what has been lost, ie. family, home, communities, jobs, etc..."Furusato" has become an anthem for the folks in Tohoku. The counselor in me can only be happy as it gives them a chance to grief a little bit every time they sing it.
It was no surprise to learn that a Christian wrote the song. The tune was taken from the inspiration of old hymns. The composer actually intended "Furusato" to be a song about heaven. The words bring to mind the quote of C. S. Lewis, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I was trying so hard to be happy for Japan with the recent news of their hosting the 2020 Olympics. I want to be happy for them, they have so much saddest recently. But for those of us who were in Tokyo just 2 years 9 months ago, promising that everything will be "safe" for the Olympics seems unreal. The darken subways, the closed airports, sending food to friends in Tokyo, fear of stopping anywhere along the highway near Fukushima, everyday folks scrapping money together to buy radiation detectors and such still haunt us. Japan could use some good news, but with such unsettling news that continues coming out of Fukushima and their nuclear reactor issues, it gives one poise.With so many of my dear friends in Japan, here's hoping this it all works out.
A grateful Japan....

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Rikuzentakada, Iwate, Japan
After the tsunami, this tree was the only one left of over 70,000 pine trees in the coastal town of Rikuzentakada. It became a sign of hope for many in the area or the "miracle pine tree" as it was called by the locals. Unfortunately, salt water caused it to eventually die. But this fall, the town preserved it and put it back in place. This inspiring symbol will be at the center of a soon to be developed memorial park.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It was fun to watch a video of the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan visiting a temporary housing unit in the city of Kamaishi, where we spent so much of our time. What a moving experience for these survivors.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Challenging to visit Harlem, New York for the first time at night via subway, but reconnecting with the EPL team, former volunteers to Tono base, made it worth the trip. Akie made wonderful "oden" and the fellowship and sharing was encouraging. Always great to reunite with those who have a heart for the survivors who are still recovering northern Japan.
Oden, a favorite Japanese food.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

On the lighter side, this article on Japan caught my attention. Though I'm not sure if the last item would make my top ten things Japanese do right, the rest would get my whole hearted agreement, especially the service in Japan. I also need to weight in on the mention of recycling. Yes, the Japanese do recycling great, but as one person who has more then once been "grilled" over what exactly was in my garage bag, I feel it wouldn't hurt them to be a little less awesome with recycling.
Things Japanese are Awesome at...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Even as recent as the end of October, 2013, earthquakes and tsunami warnings continue in northern Japan. It's hard to be separated from so many dear folks, most of whom are still living in temporary housing units.