Saturday, March 19, 2011

humanizing the quake (tokyo)

Wind bells are enjoyed all over Japan, but these simple, hand-blown, hand-painted, spherical glass wind bells have been a Tokyo specialty for hundreds of years. This YouTube video shows how they are made (Japanese).

After the Great Osaka-Kobe Earthquake of '95, many of the relocated elderly survivors simply lost their will to live. It had been snuffed out in part by loss of community ties and that which was familiar. The will to live is a mysterious thing. Sometimes fragile. Sometimes tenacious. Frequently tested. Always precious. Surviving the disaster itself is only the beginning.

The words that accompany the image in this etegami are a translation of a haiku by the poet Santoka (1882-1940).


  1. Dear Debbie,
    I don't know if you can imagine how deeply your words touch me. "Surviving the disaster is only the beginning": this is SO true. Two years have passed since the earthquake that destroyed my hometown and the wound is still open, maybe even worse. The "loss of community ties and that which was familiar" is terrible for the elderly (I am thinking of my mother), but it is also very hard for the young (my daughter is 10, her heart is still in L'Aquila, with her old school friends, her piano teacher, her karate teacher etc. etc.... our old life). The grieving process requires a long, long time. But I am confident that it is possible to overcome this trauma. Art helps so much, as well as friendship. Real and virtual friends are precious. If it can help, please know that you and your people are in my thoughts.

  2. I have been enjoying your posts in this series. This one is especially beautiful, as we observe the beginning of a new season. :o)