18 March 2011

Every Little Helps

A week has passed since the devastation in Japan. Here in the UK where I live today, although people care and give me thoughts and prayers, life just goes on.  At college, we are counting down for the biggest show in April. I’m supposed to be super busy, but my mind hasn’t been functioning. Looking at a pile of to do list, I am trying to keep as occupied as possible, which temporarily helps me getting by each day. It has become my routine to check the news as soon as I get back home instead of going to the studio. This lasts almost all evening. I’d better avoid watching the news so long, you may suggest, but I need to know about them, I feel the need, so I continue to look for Japanese news on line, as BBC doesn’t show everything. Each day, things are getting worse. Hundreds of thousands people are now homeless. Not enough food is getting to them. Blackout and severe weather hits many. People are starving and suffering from hypothermia, within the evacuated places and even in the hospitals. 
The situation at Fukushima has worsened and gets closer to my parents home. My worries translate into the numbers of phone calls I make to my family. A retired couple not picking up the phone at home. That’s odd. My worries accelerate. Eventually I found out that my mother ended up calling for an emergency paramedic at her friend’s house, as she found her on a floor. My mum was concerned as she didn't answer the phone, so went to her house to see if she was ok. She lives on her own and had mentioned before that she had family in Fukushima. She is now in the hospital. More concerns and fatigues spread out to my mum. I tell her sarcastically that she is strong enough as she could walk for 7 hours, trying to give her a little rest. She laughs for a second, then tells me that they are fine, nothing to worry. We pray for her recovery and the rest of Japan. 
Many foreigners are now leaving Japan and people in Tokyo are moving out of the city. Instead, I would rather jump in the airplane now and go to help those who need urgent help. I know this cannot be done, as I just get in a way. Knowing too many people are suffering in Japan, my home country, I feel helpless for not being able to do much, other than praying hard. 
On my arrival to work yesterday, I found many white origami lilies on the workshop table. Caring messages from my students and staff for me and Japan. Opening each pieces and finds their bold writings and drawings. I started to cry. I must carry those prayers with me. For Japan. For people who are suffering. I started to think what I could possibly do more. I must use my brain rather than just watching news and feeling sad. 
Many artists, musicians and professionals are using their work and skills to collect the donation. Having seen them, I feel little discouraged as I am not certain that I could do enough like them. I don’t even know how to start selling things on line either. There’s too little time to start learning such computer tech what not. Yet opening my studio is limited for people’s attention. After squeezing my little brain, I decided to go for the local. It may be small but better than nothing. I applied for the local Easter fair stall next month to sell my stocks of ceramic and print work for Japanese Earthquake appeal, which all proceeds to go to Japanese Charity. 
In order to collect as many casual attentions from the visitors as possible, I have also decided to make 1000 mini birds to sell alongside. I can do them quick enough by Easter and also small enough to be able to post, if anyone interested in contributing on line. Why 1000? The idea came from a Japanese story of 1000 cranes. It may not be going to work, but worth trying. The full recovery of Japan will take a long time, it can take years or even decades. Until those hundreds of thousands people can live under the proper roof, with food and sleep without fear, Japan will continue to need help. 1000 birds may sound silly for someone like me, a small individual, but I believe even little help would make a difference. So I will be continuing to keep this 1000 birds for HELP JAPAN open to anyone who can help via my fair, outlet and hopefully soon in my blog. From tomorrow, I will be starting this as well as preparing for the fair. College work will catch up. I know what my aim is now. I can do this. 
It would be grateful if you could share your thoughts on this. For those who are happy to donate, I will post more information as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can go to;
Handmade for Japan - This US site will be doing an on line auction shortly. 
Whatever the way you choose to do it and how small it can be, your help is valued for many many people in Japan now and the future.  


  1. Maki are you selling the 1000 birds? I will buy some if you are and that is what you mean. And have you thought of contacting your local press to publicise what you are doing at the fair? if you need any help setting up an etsy site - am sure you will find it easy to do, your blog is so well done already. xxx lots of love Moyra

  2. Hi Maki. I'm sure the 1000 birds will sell well at the fair and online. I can help you set up an Etsy shop if you want..it's really easy. If it's ok for me to 'pinch' your photos I'll do a link on my blog too. I hope you get an amazing response and let me know if there is anything else i can do to help. I agree with Moyra you should get some good publicity online and in the print media. What about asking BTCF for an extra free space to sell the birds? how could they refuse? did you manage to sort out the badge refills by the way? Hopefully the news from Japan will improve soon. kx

  3. Maki, I think the idea of a thousand cranes is so beautiful. I would be happy to put a link on my blog, and maybe too, I could paint some bird themed pieces, sell on my Etsy and donate to the same charity as you are. I would say so on the etsy listing, so that people would know all proceeds are to go to charity for Japan.
    If any sounds good, you can write me

  4. what a lovely idea...can i donate to the stall? what about bird paper cutout cards? and a few journals decorated in the same way? anyway i can help at all i will please ask!!!! love x

  5. Hello Maki :-) My heart goes out to your parents and people in Japan. I think your 1000 birds is lovely idea and I would definitely buy one. If you do manage to sell on-line please let me know, I am also happy to promote what your are doing on my blog and Facebook, photos of your birds and a copy of the flyer/poster of the Easter craft fair would be good. Also if you have not seen it already, here is a link to the 'Etsy Japan' group: http://www.etsy.com/teams/5024/etsy-japan

    Xxx Helen

  6. Maki, I agree with the others...1000 birds sound like a lovely idea. Looking forward to hearing more news about them and how to purchase

  7. It's a lovely idea Maki, please keep us posted on how we could buy them...it's such a sad time I read your earlier post and am happy that your loved ones are safe x

  8. Hi Maki, do you know its really easy to set up a paypal button on your blog so people can buy directly (then perhaps promote on FB so we can share about your little birds?) I am with Moyra, happy to buy and promote. My mind wanders to your country lots of times each day and I send thoughts and prayers of strength and recovery. xx

  9. Anonymous20/3/11 16:53

    I understand somewhat what you're going through - when my beau and I evacuated New Orleans before Katrina we were on the road for six weeks. People would ask about our home, but we spent each day trying to locate neighbors. Who cares about a house? It was actually easier once we got home to no power, bad water, a sunset curfew, with a camping stove, solar shower and bleach. We found neighbors! Now we have every type of contact information for each other, and smile and hug and kiss on the street, every day. Japan and its people helped so much here; I have contributed to the NOLA fund for Japan. Best to you, may you find some peace through these times.

  10. Anonymous21/3/11 00:10

    you go for it, my dear.

    Your heart is in it, and that will be all you need to carry through.

    I will buy one.

  11. maki, this is such a touching post. i just came across your lovely blog today - one of the artists that is donating an item to my 'one thousand wishes :: one thousand dollars' fundraiser for japan told me to come and read about your plans to make 1000 paper cranes. you are in the uk and I am in canada, so it's a little tricky, but please let me know if there is any way that i can help you, or perhaps we could even work together to raise funds online. you can read about my idea here - www.onethousandwishes.com and my blog is http://thedottedline.typepad.com/
    i am not japanese but my two little ones and my husband are part japanese - the devastation that japan is facing has left us feeling so sad + helpless, desperate to help in any way we can.

  12. Thank you Thank you everyone!!! Your support is so needed!
    I am working on a paypal now, so that 1000 birds can go to a sweet home and help Japan by you too! I'll keep you posted, so please do come back. xm

  13. I will help. I love the little birds and my heart is heavy for your family and friends in Japan. I will put a link on my blog and definitely be purchasing as soon as they are ready. Peace, my friend.

  14. Maki, you just let me know if there is anything I can do to help, I would love to help. I will definitely promote your beautiful birds as soon as you've got your PayPal setup and are ready to go. As I'm a bit of a computer nerd too feel free to ask for any help with setting up the payment system/shop, happy to help.

  15. Hi, this project is a great idea and I wish you every success! I love birds too. I may not buy one because of the currency difference and international postage costs but I will spread the word by telling friends and adding it to my facebook page. Good luck!