Thursday, March 31, 2011

a special note from know, if he could type, but he can't.....because...hello! he's a dog Wolf.
and i'm sure that, if he could actually type and send me a message,
it might go something like this:

dear debbie,
how are things with you?
i know you are pretty far away from the earthquake, tsunami, daily after schocks and
the trouble with the nuclear power plant, but, my human (the sweet and lovely, janet) and i think about you often and thank the stars above that you are safe.

you know that i am a shiba ken and my ancestors are from japan.
i can't help but feel a little helpless and i really would like to do something to try and help those like me and other animals that might not be getting the love and attention they need.

janet found some sites that i would like you to share with your friends.
we need to help our four-legged friends who are suffering, too.

thank you, so much....please tell koji that i have
found a great place for us to run and know...for when we do finally meet.

If you’re looking for a way to help out the people and animals hurt and left homeless in Japan due to the earthquake and tsunami, here’s a collection of sites:

Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support (JEARS) is a coalition created to positively support rescue efforts for the animals who have been affected by the devastating earthquake that hit Japan.

World Vets is an international veterinary aid organization that provides “free veterinary aid, resources and support during times of disaster all over the world”. World Vets is collecting veterinary supplies and medicines through the group’s website as well as cages and cash donations. The donations will be used to assist the first-responder team the organization will establish to house and treat injured and lost animals.

Humane Society International is helping to keep people and their pets safe. They’ve made a substantial emergency grant to their animal coalition partner, arranged for the purchase and shipment of more than $100,000 in needed veterinary and other supplies, and helped to set the stage for emergency animal sheltering operations in the devastated areas of northeastern Japan. In the coming days, HSI will continue to support these crucial efforts.


~~thanks janet for the links and letting me use wolf you!! <3

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

how you can help

I have had quite a few e-mails from various people from, literally, all over the world, asking how they can help the people of Japan, in this most horrific of disasters.
I want to share with you a few places that I think are great places to donate goods and money.

This organization has been wonderful in getting supplies out to the areas that need them the most.  Their trucks go out every other day and they have all of their staff working hard to make sure the right stuff is getting out to the people who need it the most.

If you click on that link, you can find a place where you can donate directly to their cause.  The money you give will help pay for the gas used in the delivery trucks, maintenance fees, drivers, etc. 

There is also a place on their site where you can pay for specific items (such as water and diapers).

Here is a list of the things that they are collecting:
* Food & Beverage (MUST be unexpired): rice, canned items, retort-pouch food, food for elderly people, baby formula and baby food
* Items for Baby & Elderly People (MUST be unopened): baby diapers and adult diapers
* Items for Soup Kitchen(MUST be unused): paper plates, paper cups, plastic spoons, plastic forks, chopsticks and saran wraps
* Other (MUST be unused): brand-new underwear, wet wipes, masks, shampoo that does not require water, towel, portable gas stove and portable gas

Jason Kelly (a fellow Coloradoan) and his organization are gathering and delivering new socks to the people living in the shelters, especially those nearest the nuclear power plant.  They have delivered hundreds of socks and letters of encouragement from all over the world!!!
  Think about a time when you were cold or tired....just putting on a pair of new, warm socks helps keep not only the body warm, but they help warm the soul and help you feel safe.
If you go to his site, you can read all about what these wonderful people are doing....
maybe they will inspire you to gather up some socks and send them this way.

There are seven CostCo warehouses here in Japan, but for many of us, it is too far and too expensive (gas + road tolls add up quickly) and trips to go shopping are few and far between.
Which is why Yoyo Market is a great company.
They, basically, go shopping for us.  Though not everything in the warehouse is available, the main items that most of us expats want are on their site....and we can buy from them, on-line.

Now....Yoyo Market is taking special orders to be delivered to the devastated areas.
But wait....that's not all they are doing....
Yoyo Market will match 10% to any order shipped directly to active relief groups.
Isn't that great??
If you know of a specific relief group (like Second Harvest, for example...and hey...doesn't CostoCo
carry socks?? (^-^)), you can purchase a case of something and have it shipped to them.
Or....if you want another group, the good people at Yoyo will help you find an organization to ship to.
(You can find the details in the Order and Delivery Updates link on their site!!)

Oh! and don't worry about that whole yen/dollar thing...there are many places out there in the wide world of Internet that will very quickly figure that up for you!
Easy peasy.

So.....if you want to help, you can.
If you belong to an organization that donates to good causes, I, personally, cannot think of a better one.

Monday, March 21, 2011

feeling helpless.....not hopeless

so much has happened this past week.
so much sadness and devastation.
so much confusion.
it's hard to know who to listen to....who to believe.
which news to follow.

and, no.
it's not even a possibility that i would come "home" because of this.
it's hard for many to understand, but really....i am home.
plus....we are so far away from would be like...
someone from my hometown... in south-eastern colorado....
hearing of a tornado watch in wyoming....
and going to the basement for protection.
we're that far away.

but that doesn't make us any more detached.
we feel helpless...and a bit guilty that we are so safe and not suffering.
weird, huh?
one of my students came to class the other night and told us of her daughter and her family's plight..
they are in one of the worst hit places.
though they were spared by the tsunami, the earthquake has caused so much trouble for them.
no water.
food is running out.
no gas to cook.
they have rice, but...with no water, they can't cook it.
the husband is so nervous, he's having stomach trouble.
the girls can't sleep.

feeling helpless.
and yet...the reports of how people are they are still so kind...and respectful of
everyone else.  no looting. no fighting.
and no...that's not a case of "oh, they just aren't showing us pictures of that".
really.  that doesn't happen here.

a grandma and her grandson were found after over a week.
a mother was found in a shelter.
a baby was born.
my friend's daughter and her family are alive.

in a word:      life

"moon over the japanese garden"
by my friend, karen
in another word:      hope

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
                                             ~~~Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 in Nagasaki...are okay!!!

oh, my dear friends, i'm so sorry for taking so long getting a message to you from here.
the last few days have been crazy, but....

nagasaki city is actually so far away from the areas hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami that most people didn't even know about what happened until they got home from work on friday night.

if you look on a map, tokyo and sendai and fukushima are on the island of honshu...we are on kyushu, in the southern part of the main islands.  i asked my students yesterday and they said that nagasaki city is about 1500 kilometers from tokyo and sendai is another 800 kilometers or so from there.

your concern for our safety has been almost overwhelming.
i'm trying to get back to people who sent messages but it's taking me time...but, please know, that your thoughts have been like {{hugs}} in this most darkest of times here in japan.

if you would like to help the efforts here and you don't know where to go, you can click on this link and get some sites to go to.
 my friend, tommy, (yet another friend that i've never actually met!!) at a san diego radio station posted this over on that "social network" on this link for a list of places accepting donations. here.

another place would be  the american red cross.  they actually give 91cents to every dollar donated to the targeted area.
another most excellent site would be the second harvest group....
if you are here in japan,click on the link, they have a list of non-food items that they desperately need.

thank you, my friends.
i'll try to post again soon...the latest nuclear power plant explosions are causing some concern, but we are trying to keep it all calm and as normal as possible.

please keep this beautiful country that i have called "home" for the last 20 years in your thoughts and prayers...and really...go and click on one of those if you can.

*hug picture from google images*

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


If someone were to say "Japan" to you right now (like I just did),
what images would come to you?

Mt. Fuji?
Perhaps Mt. Fuji in the spring and and some sakura (cherry blossoms)?


How about station officials smooshing people into the trains of Tokyo?

Maybe you are more sports minded and Sumo came to mind.
*This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of the great Konnishiki.

Or maybe, your mind went another direction *thank you, Hollywood* and you had this lovely image...

Or....hey...did you imagine this?

Bet you didn't see that one coming, did you?
Which seems to make the Japanese kancho even funnier to those doing it....
the surprise attack.
The kancho.
According to the good people over at :
(yes, strangely enough, there IS a website!!)
Kancho is the ancient art of clasping your hands together and poking someone... in the rear. Kancho is not meant to be vulgar or mean, in fact it is rarely used in an antagonistic way, like a nipple twister, or a head noogie, but rather as a kind of affection, similar to athletes patting each other's butts. Foreign teachers in Japan are often the target of Kancho. This is partly due to their celebrity status in schools, as many kids want to be the one who Kanchoed the English teacher.

(Go ahead, when you're done here, click on the link
and learn more about this than what you will probably ever need .)

By the way, the boys told me that you really need to say "Kancho!!" in a loud voice when you are doing it to make it, I guess, the perfect kancho.

I guess, if you think about it, boys and men in the western world are forever punching each other, wrestling around, giving snuggies/wedgies to each other, or goosing someone...come to think of it, one of my brothers has a habit of pulling me in for a hug and then sticking my nose in his armpit.
Kancho fits right in.
Now...just to make this word just a liiiiiiiittle bit funnier....
the word kancho, in the dictionary has a few meanings:

1: (giving an) enema;
2: (Slang) prank where the anal region of another person is poked with index fingers
3: government office; authorities ; superintendent priest; chief abbot; superintendent; director;
curator; chief librarian

Seriously....can you think of any English word that is funnier than this???

At the community centers, when a class starts for the first time, the head of the
community center (the kancho) usually comes into the class to welcome the students and give information to them about the center.
I remember as if it were yesterday the first time this happened....first day of class, new students, the center officials came into the room and the kancho was introduced.
"Eh?  What the hell??"
I'm a pretty smart cookie so, it didn't take long to put 2 and 2 together to figure out that the kancho I knew, was not the same kind of kancho giving a speech to all my students.

That was almost 7 years ago, but even today, when I hear this word?
Oh, yeah....the 10-year-old boy in my psyche
has a very hard time keeping a straight face.

One more thing....for Issei's birthday, he got a t-shirt from some
good friends of ours that used to live here.

On the front was this:
Lock and load, baby.  We're ready.
In case you are wondering....
yes....we all want one of these t-shirts and will probably order them soon.

*Thanks GoogleImages for all the pictures, except that last one.