When I was an undergrad, I studied Japanese for four years. It totally consumed my life, and I was lucky enough to participate in a study abroad program at Kansai Gaidai University during the spring of 2004.
While I was living in Japan, I made some excellent friends, one of whom I’ve managed to keep in touch with throughout the years. Watching footage last week of the tsunami sweeping across northeastern Japan brought tears to my eyes, and I instantly emailed my friend to make sure he and his family were okay.
Fortunately, the Mike family lives in Osaka prefecture, which is usually untouched by earthquakes or the resulting tsunami. It’s been an extremely long time since I’ve spoken or read Japanese on a regular basis, so my translation could be a little off, but Dr. Mike reported to me that while his family is okay and they have been watching the footage of disaster (and rescue operations!) as well, they did feel some aftershocks from the quake. Still, they are okay, and that is all I could have hoped for.
The state of Japan is pretty ugly right now. Huge aftershocks from the initial earthquake have been rocking the country and I just read something that said a volcano (which exploded recently) has erupted again. It’s truly frightening to see the earth wrecking such havoc, and frightening to think of what it must be like for all the poor people who are caught up in it. My thoughts are with them, and believe me, if I had the means (and the government approval, as I also heard they’re strongly suggesting no one flies to Japan), I would be over there helping in the relief efforts. I suppose for now I will have to be content with the knowledge that Japan has one of the best earthquake emergency systems in the world.
In light of this (and the fact that I’m pretty broke), I’m in the process of finding out from Kickstarter if it’s permissible to use some of my funding (if I get funded) for aid for Japan. Barring that, I will make some small items for sale on the Etsy shop this week, the proceeds of which will go, 100%, to aid for Japan (still researching reputable places to donate – thoughts? Comment!).
On a completely different note, my sister was kind enough to model the arm warmers I made the other day, so I took a few pictures of her wearing them and finally posted them on the Etsy shop. Here’s a quick preview:
Adorable, no? I’m so pleased with how the pictures turned out; a friend loaned me the use of his fantastic SONY Cybershot – 10.1 megapixels and about a million settings to make an old photography enthusiast like me go crazy. The photos I took with it are barely touched up (I cropped a few, and added highlights to one because it was a touch too dark). Makes me wonder about the face of the profession these days, when there are cameras out there that will almost automatically take a perfect picture.
Anyhow, I am meeting friends to see “A Stitch in Jewish Time,” a textile arts exhibit at the Hebrew Union College Museum. Hopefully, pictures to follow! Until then, like, comment, email… just stay in touch!