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(I thought of a different title for this entry, but decided to go for the more general. The second title is a Japanese folk song, but that comes later in this entry.)
Can you call a school your alma mater if you were only there a year and a half? Was it okay in the last blog entry that I referred to Watanabe Sensei as Papa Bear even though he thought it was kinda cute years ago in regular three o clock class when he kind of made a face to see if we would slow down and ask for his opinion and correction .....?
If Alma Mater really means Foster Mother in Latin, were we really adopted while we were there? I honestly think so. I returned home to my own parents and my own town, and I had lived in nearby New York many years, but teaching Aikido in a local Y, something that just happened due to their getting a brand new building.... gave me a way to learn about a city, by offering something, you get back a lot, and I did. But that's for other entries, if you like....
The crisis in Northern Japan forced me to ask myself who I am and what can I do .... I remember Francis writing something like do something today, it was just a general wisdom comment weeks ago.....Yesterday in church one of the most enthusiastic and choir singing parishioners suddently in the middle of the announcements mentioned Japan and bluntly that we'd better not wait any longer to DO SOMETHING.
Then I knew I was right in waiting for someone else to speak first and being the one to speak second. Margie is better at it, I could follow with a couple of additional suggestions about where people can send.
I've been mostly out of training for a long time, but I was mostly out of church for many years too, since singing in the church choir when I was still in high school.... so I went back about a year and a half ago because my brother is still attending but he's another story. He's a Special Olympian.
What's my point and why am I writing a blog entry on Japan, when so many others are better qualified? First, anyone who can, probably should, and second, I may be in an unusual position to observe and report on your average American city and what regular people are saying and doing. Because I am an average American who happens to have been to Japan years ago.
So I went up to Margie and gave her a big hug and thanked her. And the assistant priest (Pastor is out of town) thanked me for helping out with some suggestions I got from the small weekly newspaper that comes for free every Friday.
The paper mentioned the local Japan Society which will send 100% of all donations directly to the Japanese Red Cross through the Consulate General of Japan in New York and Americares a highly regarded and also locally based organization that is a global health and disaster relief organization.
So here's a blog entry from someone who lived in Japan many years ago and even before, learned Matsushima the Song from Japanese friends.
What's my point? Wherever and whoever you are, if there's something you feel you need to do, about Japan or anything else, just do your own portion and see what happens.
I never expected, when I sang "Matsushima" several years ago for a group of mostly elderly ladies of the Long Ridge Book and Garden Club, that they would join in the boat rowing chant that accompanies the song about three major sites that were hit by the earthquake and tsunami, and one of them would get up out of her wheelchair to do the Aikido rowing exercise I told them one of the teachers had added to the song at a party our tour group had years ago. I didn't even know Matsushima was in Northern Japan, I had never been there. But I followed a link on Niall's blog, then I posted a comment, and then I remembered the ladies and knew I had to do a bit more. About Matsushima, Zuiganji and Ishinomaki.
In another article or blog link, someone was looking so far ahead as to say, everyone, let's decide we are going to help Japan recover by visiting as soon as it is safe. So here is my suggestion,
Sing Matsushima for Japan....
Time and memory, and then the future. My ears are perked up like a cat or a dog seeing what my community here can do, and then add little bits of information people may be receptive to... We need the movie stars, and we need us too... Thanks everyone.