Tuesday, 15 March 2011


I would like to look at Japan in a different light today. This ancient country, with its history and traditions, has captured our imagination for centuries. It's a country of contrasts, where the modern mingles with the ancient. We mourn the great losses Japan has suffered in the past few days. There is much to mourn, but there's much to celebrate. The achievements of these extraordinarily resourceful and resilient people should give us all hope for the future. Japan will face many struggles in recovering from the effects of the earthquake. It's a long road ahead and they will face the journey with the same resolve and determination that gave the world so much.

Old and contemporary art live well together.

Art invades the kitchen.

And the table.

And the living room.

Origami goes from very simple to extremely sophisticated.

The simplicity of the Japanese approach to flowers, trees and gardens.

Japanese contrasts.

The Japanese traditions and arts inspired many in the past and still do to this day.

Japan influenced children's popular culture all over the world:

There is much, much more to be celebrated about Japan's cultural, technological and other achievements. Japan will rebuild, they have all it takes to reemerge from the ashes.

Japan also gave us a now too well known word: Tsunami.


Mrsgunka sent me an important e-mail regarding relief efforts for the victims on the earthquake and tsunami in Japan:

As Japan struggles to overcome a disastrous string of events -- including a possible nuclear catastrophe -- millions of us have sought to help, often by donating money to urgent relief efforts.

But if you donate via text message, your donations may take up to 90 days to reach aid organizations that need the money as soon as possible.

Even though they're getting large amounts of free media attention for their text-to-donate programs, companies like AT&T and Verizon have chosen not to release the donation money right away. Many customers assume that they're sending funds straight to disaster zones in the crucial days after the earthquake, but donations are transferred after the end of your next billing cycle, a process that can take up to three months.

Masaya Uchino, a law student in San Francisco with family in Japan, started a petition on Change.org to demand that AT&T, Verizon, and other major phone service providers stop delaying much needed donations from reaching organizations doing relief work in Japan. Please add your name to the petition now:

Change.org petition

If you want to donate immediately to relief efforts, join the Change.org staff in contributing to one or more of these great organizations:

Oxfam America
International Medical Corps
Habitat for Humanity
UN Foundation
American Red Cross