Lately, I can think of nothing else than the tragedy in Japan, a country where I spent many happy years but that is being tested to the limit right now. While it’s heart-breaking to look at the videos and photos of the terrifying scale of the destruction wrought by the Quake and Tsunami (and the prospect of nuclear disaster) I seek them out them out anyway… perhaps KNOWING the scale of the tragedy is some small compensation for being powerless to do anything about it.

But the other comfort in watching all the grim news is being reminded of the strength and dignity of the Japanese people in the face of adversity. When I lived there, I often wondered at their ability to cheerfully persevere against the odds; to be accepting and dynamic at the same time. The Japanese culture, having grown in a region often devastated by quakes, tsunamis, typhoons, volcanoes and fires, seems to have imbued its people with a sort of stoic, industriousness. The tenacity to ACCEPT such hardships without giving-up or failing to PREPARE for them.

Just as they have rebuilt their nation from devastation many times in the past, the Japanese will apply these qualities, not to mention their famous ingenuity and communal co-operation, to rise above this disaster too; one that would probably permanently cripple many other nations.

But, like many others, I want to help. Donating to Charities involved in the relief effort is the simplest and easiest way, but somehow it doesn’t feel as powerful as being ACTIVELY engaged directly myself. So I have been researching ways to get more involved, both by looking on the web and calling the Japanese Consulate, and I have found some interesting perspectives on the issue.

Apparently, this early in any major disaster, grassroots efforts to help can hinder teams with real relief expertise. When the infrastructure of the disaster area is taxed to the limit, a simple care-parcel of letters and candy sent by a well-meaning person can choke the system and slow down the delivery of more useful supplies, such as medicine. Well-meaning people flocking to the site hoping to help, soon become yet another problem for relief agencies to deal with.

I must admit that my first instinct was to send packages and letters of support, in addition to the charitable donations of money. My feeling NOW is that it is better to wait till later to send care packages, and I fully intend to do so when the time is right. In the meantime, I plan to do some artwork and participate in a ART-AUCTION FUNDRAISER (details to follow when I know them myself).

Hold on Japan, we love you!
japan we love you

3 thoughts on “JAPAN”

  1. it's true about the grass roots efforts. I volunteered for the bay area oil spill clean up a few years ago (2007 I believe) and found that it was difficult for the agencies involved to organize all of us – and there were many. it was very eye opening to see what happens when an event happens, how it plays out with various agencies and who communicates to whom. In short – lots of confusion. I believe the Red Cross might be the best place for immediate needs. Efforts for other kinds of volunteering and donations will probably become more clear in the coming days and weeks.

    • What I would really like to do is some personal gestures, such as sending packages to families in TOHOKU. Maybe containing letters and home-made food (cake balls!) I imagine if I had been through some tragedy like this; losing my home (and maybe loved ones too) and I got a small parcel from some country abroad expressing solidarity, it would be meaningful to me.However I called the Japanese Consulate here in SF and they said that the Tohoku infrastructure is maxed out right now. They need to reserve everything for the life-saving disaster relief. Food and Medicine and so on.But maybe in a month or two, when the news of the world turns to other things, but the disaster is still being dealt with, it would be nice to do some small gesture like that.

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