Thursday, March 17, 2011

To Japan with Love

"We are fine" was the subject heading of an e-mail from Kyoko this week. I knew she was probably not in the area where the earthquake and tsunami hit but I wanted to hear from her.

Kyoko came into our life in the Winter of 2002. After years of working a demanding job where there were barely enough hours to commute and work - she had put in enough time to receive a sabbatical. One evening she flashed her mischievous grin and told me, "And I escape to U.S.A."
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"Why Minnesota?" I asked.
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"Snow. I love snow," she replied.
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And as is the way of the world - it barely snowed that year. Kyoko taught Japanese culture at my daughter's middle school - and elementary school. It was the polar opposite of her work in Japan and she revelled in all of it - the kids, the sites, while embracing all things American. Kyoko embraces everything.

She stayed with us for some of the winter. Two years later I received a welcome e-mail in which she announced her intention to experience an American Halloween (she came to the states just after Halloween). And with her boundless enthusiasm - flew from Japan to Minnesota to stay for one day and night - Halloween.

We were the quintessential "busy American" family when Kyoko resided with us. Dinner was always fast. Read: pasta 4 x's a week.

Ravioli with pine nuts and rosemary. With one kid returning late from school because of basketball and another one leaving early to return to school for band, I had years of "what can I make quickly that doesn't come from a window?"


Kyoko did not live on sushi and fish. She loves meat! Weekends often featured beef and pork. The pork chops with blueberry sauce warded off our mild chill.
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"We are all fine.But we have still some small earth quakes .

Everything is very unusual and strange.
Three days passed, still all TV channels broadcast only Earth Quake , Tsunami and atomic power plant.
I have never seen like this.
There is nothing in supermarket and no gasoline in gas station.
and all trains stop.
Usually many kids play around my house, but no kids there. People stays at home.


I am very sorry to hear that victims says they want to have blanket.
It was 27F, so cold isn't it? It is snowing now.

I really hope atomic power plant is safe and many people safe."

And so I have joined forces with other bloggers with their "For Japan with Love" disaster relief.
If you would like to participate, please go to Five Minutes Just for Me.
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"Every little bit helps. Feel free to ask other bloggers you like to join in on this. Whatever impact we can make will be so awesome."
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Visit Ruth Reichl's blog Why Food Matters. These are personal decisions. And please spend some time in thought or prayer or meditation on sending strength to Japan now and in the days, weeks and months to come.
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I'm an Italian-American preparing an Irish St. Patrick's Day meal with my heart in Japan. And I am counting my blessings that I can do so.
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*Today, March 17 at Living Social Deals, if you donate $5 to Japan disaster relief they will double it. Visit: http://livingsocial.com/redcross

39 comments:

Mister Meatball said...

No words this time.

Pegasuslegend said...

Wow thats great that they double the money, so glad you posted this and your lovely friend is doing as good as can be expected.. This is a very sad tragedy for the Island and my heart is heavy for all of Japan, very nice post!

Natasha said...

It's amazing how global the impact of this disaster is. Friends and family from far and wide have been touched and saddened. I wish I could do more but this small act will have to suffice for now. I am so glad you are joining in and spreading the word-thank you!

Best wishes,
Natasha.

Mary said...

Thank you for sharing all of this with us Claudia. Tragedy that wears a face we know really gets to us. I'm heading to the other sights now. Have a good evening. Blessings...Mary

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I will join in the cause, Claudia The news and photos from Japan have been heartbreaking. While there are many things in the world we have no control over we do have control over how we respond to them, and every prayer and donation to aid helps!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

PS: So glad your friend and her family are safe and sound!

Island Vittles said...

Thanks for sharing that site Claudia! My brother has lived in Japan on and off for the past 25 years. Fortunately, everyone he knows are also safe. Theresa

Reeni said...

I'm glad your dear friend is safe and sound! I can't even begin to imagine how scary it must be! xoxo

My Little Space said...

I'm sorry for what's happening in Japan. Kyoko is very brave. I am very proud of her. I heard the news this morning saying that they found a Malaysian dead body at the tsunami area. This is horrible. Hopefully, the atomic plants are all under control. Claudia, i felt like we're already in 2012! Very sad. May god bless us all.
Blessings, Kristy

Saji said...

no words for wat happened n wats happening

Rebecca from Chow and Chatter said...

great post Claudia and she sounds amazing what a zest for life she has

Angela said...

So glad that you have learned that your friend is safe. It is so heartbreaking to see so much devastation and hurt.

denise @ bread expectations said...

I'm so glad that your friend is safe Claudia. Having seen the images of destruction and devastation, I am very disturbed and feel quite useless, apart from the prayers I have been offering for them and the small donation here and there. I keep watching the live, round the clock news reports that inform and unsettle at the same time. I saw the empty supermarket shelves, the unending queues for clean water, the desolate faces of the thousands at relief centres, no beds, no chairs, stripped of privacy and dignity, a people so very refined, proud, stoic and efficient as they are, looking so lost. It rattles me. Thank you for the links and information. May God help them and us all.

Marisa said...

Glad to hear the Kyoko is Ok. It hurts to look at it from over here, I can't imagine what it must be like to live so close to the aftermath of that devestation.

I think it is great that you are helping and are encouraging others to do the same!

Angie's Recipes said...

Glad to hear that your friend Kyoko is OKAY.
May God bless the Japanese people!!

Jill Colonna said...

Thanks for your wonderful post and for the links. It's so hard to even imagine what they are going through and makes everything here so trivial. So glad your lovely friend & family is safe. Our prayers are with them.

girlichef said...

xo I'm so happy that she is safe.

Choices said...

So happy to hear that Kyoko is safe. My heart goes out to all the people in Japan. Just seeing the photos of the devastation is difficult, I can only imagine what what it actually looks like and feels like.

Kate @ Diethood.com said...

I'm so glad your friend is okay! I can't get my mind off the victims... praying for Japan.

Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris said...

What a great story..some people "appear" in our lives and they stay forever...
I'm joining the prayers!

That Girl said...

When something happens half a world away, sometimes its hard to connect. Thank you for giving us a face, a name, a story.

michelangelo in the kitchen said...

Thank you for posting this piece of good news from Japan amidst the seemingly hopeless situation. I have been following their progress day by day and I see that we all can learn from their orderliness, courage and resilience. What a remarkable people! Good job at home Claudia!

Catherine said...

Dear Claudia, Your friend sounds like she is strong, caring and thoughtful to let you know she is well. The heartbreak is overwhelming. We must love and constantly be mindful of our blessings each and every day. I will keep your friend and all in my prayers. Blessings, Catherine xo

Velva said...

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has endured this catastrophic earthquake and tsunami event. The human spirit is strong.

This was a wonderful post.

Velva

Rosemary said...

Such an inspiring story . . . my heart aches for all those who have in any way been impacted by the tsunami/earthquake tragedy. I will do all I can. So glad to hear that your friend is safe.

shannon (umami) said...

I will be sure to add the Japan link to my site! Thank you for that! I think it's funny that your friend's name is Kyoko. I grew up with a Kyoko & for whatever reason my mom always calls my mother in law Kyoko, when in actuality her name is Yoko. Yoko calls all Robs, Bob, so I guess what goes around comes around! Ha! Thanks again! Buzz!

Biren @ Roti n Rice said...

So glad to hear that Kyoko is safe. The disaster in Japan is beyond words. Every little bit we can do helps. Thanks for sharing the links with us. Japan is my prayers.

Monet said...

My best friend is teaching in Japan, and I was so worried when everything happened. I'm so glad to hear that your friend is okay...I am going to keep her and her family in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing, my dear!

Chef Dennis said...

hi Claudia

the whole world watches Japan, and we all hope we can help...thanks for sharing the stories of your friend, and for sharing the websites where we can contribute.
Our hearts are all with Japan
Dennis

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Thanks for sharing that site and your friend's story Claudia. I'm so glad she's ok. I have friends who fled to Italy in the days following the disaster but they're terribly shake - another friend who's on a cruise to China and Japan and has been diverted from the Japan section of the trip. I can't imagine the horror of those who are there - and the friends and relatives who are left wondering who's alive. so so tragic.

Fresh Local and Best said...

I am really glad to hear that your friend is doing fine. There's still so much uncertainty in the rebuilding efforts in Japan, I hope that the recovery is swift. I will visit 5 minutes just for me to find out what I can do. Thanks for the suggested links.

Cooking Gallery said...

I am deeply saddened by what has happened and is still happening now in Japan. I can only wish that everything would be better soon again there. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story about Kyoko!

Wanda..... said...

Thankful you have good news from Kyoko. I have a friend whose daughter and grandchild just arrived safely from Japan.

Beth said...

There's nothing like having a face to connect a tragedy to, to bring it close to home. Thank you for your post on Kyoko; I'll pray that she and the rest of her countrymen are safe.

mr. pineapple man said...

I just heard from my friends in Japan, was very happy. Now prayers to the rest of Japan.

FOODESSA said...

A few of my friends got together and rallyed a generous donation for our Japanese friends. The bonus was that my Hubby's head office matched it. We had done the same for Haiti and it was a success.

The only thing left is lots of love and prayers from afar.

Claudia

Magic of Spice said...

I am glad to hear that your friend is ok, still so frightening. Thank you for the links and information.

junkoco said...

Thank you for sharing your story with Kyoko. I live in the US, but I am also from Japan. I have kept thinking about Japan since it happened.

I am touched by people trying to live fully under the difficult situation in Japan and also people caring about Japan here...

OysterCulture said...

I am happy to hear Kyoto is ok, she sounds like a very special person. I've just been in shock at what has happened in Japan, and have helped out in my small way. My hear goes out to the people living through this incredible hardship as well as all the others who have suffered.

Thank you for passing along this great information.