the lovely jo of a bit of this and and a bit of that invited me to participate in the september new skills festival she is hosting on her blog this month, and i was honored to join! my felt ninja tutorial will be up on her blog next week. it was a great motivation to get a tutorial together and share it, something i've been thinking about doing but has been on a very back burner for long time. also i've been thinking of new ninja projects...
since march, i've been spending a lot more of my online and offline time and energy in directions related to disaster recovery--which is my field of study and research, and my primary reason for being in japan.
i miss the time that i used spend reading craft blogs, but i have to be practical (and i have been squeezing in some crafting-for-myself time when i can, which is a great feeling!). finding balance is something that i am continuously working on, and i suspect is an eternal project;-) for now, i feel like i have figured out a situation that works for me, continuing to run the felt cafe japan shop on etsy at a slightly slower pace, but blog posts have been few and far between!
but through jo's new skills festival, i discovered the beautiful work of debbie, who paints traditional japanese etegami (literally picture-letters). i love her work, and the emotion that she conveys through it. especially the earthquake series.
today, as i'm getting ready for a 1 week trip to china that starts tomorrow morning, there's a large typhoon moving across japan, and this umbrella feels especially fitting for today, as the winds just broke my umbrella this afternoon.
but actually it's a reference to the famous peom of kenji miyazawa, who was from the part of japan that suffered the tsunami. the poem is called "ame ni mo makezu" which means ''be not defeated by the rain." it's a powerful message about how to live, and has been widely used as inspiration for rebuilding after the tsunami. (link to wikipedia)
david sulz's translation:
Be not defeated by the rain, Nor let the wind prove your better. Succumb not to the snows of winter. Nor be bested by the heat of summer.
Be strong in body. Unfettered by desire. Not enticed to anger. Cultivate a quiet joy. Count yourself last in everything. Put others before you. Watch well and listen closely. Hold the learned lessons dear.
A thatch-roof house, in a meadow, nestled in a pine grove’s shade. A handful of rice, some miso, and a few vegetables to suffice for the day.
If, to the East, a child lies sick: Go forth and nurse him to health. If, to the West, an old lady stands exhausted: Go forth, and relieve her of burden. If, to the South, a man lies dying: Go forth with words of courage to dispel his fear. If, to the North, an argument or fight ensues: Go forth and beg them stop such a waste of effort and of spirit.
In times of drought, shed tears of sympathy.
In summers cold, walk in concern and empathy.
Stand aloof of the unknowing masses: Better dismissed as useless than flattered as a “Great Man”.
This is my goal, the person I strive to become.