Some more ways to help Japan

It’s been two weeks since the huge earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, and I haven’t written anything about it here. I must seem insensitive, lately only posting only idle-time drawings. But the truth is the amount of suffering and sorrow happening in the world right now has been overwhelming. It seems bigger than anything I know how to approach in writing or in art.

When I see all the images coming out of Japan — these are the most poignant I’ve seen —  I can’t help but remember when our studio flooded a few years ago. What we experienced was so nothing compared to what’s happening on the other side of the world right now.

I tend not to try to portray sorrow or pain in my art, because it only seems to make me spiral down. Somehow by looking for the small lights in dark days and recreating the world through drawings and poetry helps me to feel like like I’ve reversed that trend. That and trying to do something positive. In addition to sending money to international aid groups, here’s some different ways to help:

Comfort Quilts for Japan

Patchwork Quilt Tsushin is a well-known quilting magazine in Japan, and they have sent out a plea for comfort quilts. Comfort quilts are utilitarian quilts made for children, newborns, or adults that can help ease pain or discomfort in times of sickness or distress. Here is a blog post by Tanya Watanabe, a quilter living in Japan who has translated the message from the Patchwork Quilt Tsushin website.

She has the requirements for quilts and shipping instructions to Japan. If you are in the United States, she also has instructions for shipping by April 30 to Quilter’s Newsletter who is making a collection in Boulder, Colorado to ship in bulk to Japan, and the Quilter’s Newsletter call for Quilts for Japan are here. is also partnering with Mission of Love to send a shipment of quilts to Japan

And if you are in Europe, there is another collection point in France by Quilt Expo en Beaujolais.

Springfield Sister Cities’ Japan Relief Fund

We’ve been involved with Sister Cities for some 18+ years, helping with artist exchanges, festivals, and educational programs. One of our sister cities is Isesaki, Japan, and each time we’ve been to Japan, we’ve made a trip there to visit and stay with friends. We’ve also had many friends from Isesaki stay in our home here in Springfield, and last year we started the sister cities website which is coming in handy right now to publicize current fund-raisers.

Our sister city is near Tokyo and not in the one of the severely devastated areas of Japan. There was physical damage to buildings and only one death in the prefecture. But we hear from friends about the food rationing, power blackouts, bans on food and water, and in general the whole country is a mess because the transportation and deliveries everywhere are messed up, not to mention the fears about the nuclear crisis.

After 9-11 and Katrina, our sister city raised and sent money for us to put where it would do good – it was sent to the American Red Cross. After our local 2007 ice storm, they raised and sent $17000 to replant trees and later sent 9 master gardeners to help rebuild our Japanese Stroll Garden.

The motto of our local chapter is “Think Globally, Act Locally” and there’s already been a lot of local action. We’ve partnered with students from Missouri State University, Drury University, the Community Foundation to raise money. On Monday, at local restaurant Nakato Japanese Steakhouse will donate every dollar spent in the restaurant will go to Japan. And more fund-raisers are being planned.

If you’re in the area, come out to Nakato’s on Monday, or donate directly to the Japan Relief fund here.

5 thoughts on “Some more ways to help Japan”

  1. Like you, there is a LOT of suffering going on in the world at this time. It seems the devastation in Japan came rather soon after the earthquakes in New Zealand. Wars seem to sprout up one right after another.

    For me, it helps to do something. Today I am working on a small comfort quilt. Since I am not used to piecing, my design is simple. However, it is filled with love and care. I do believe if you put that into your work, it can be felt by others who are receptive.

    Thanks for keeping up current information.

    1. Thanks Ann, I noticed on your blog you’ve also been doing a good job trying to keep people informed about the Quilts for Japan.

  2. It is really overwhelming devastating and it will take some time for the country to recover. We were to be in Japan right now and had to cancel our trip. I wanted to do something so I have an art quilt, Indigo Moons, on Ebay. 90% of the sale price will go to Japan Earthquake and Tsunami relief.

    We hope to be able to take our trip next year.

    1. Hi Gerrie, I saw on your blog that you had to cancel your trip. That’s too bad, but hopefully you’ll reschedule. We were invited to go on a trip to Japan the first week in April, but didn’t buy the tickets. Our friend was able to get her money back, but now when she reschedules it will probably cost a lot more.
      Thanks for doing to auction on Ebay. Every bit helps and it’s very generous of you to donate your work.

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