Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ganbare Nippon!

Hi Hi .... Have you ever seen a Taiko drum performance? It's one of the most mesmerizing experience for one's ears and soul. Like Odori (dance), this art form can be seen throughout Japan in most festivals and events. Its thunderous sound and accelerated beats can pound right into your heart and open up all your senses. Taiko drums consists of groupings of drums in different sizes and shapes, complemented by other melodic instruments like koto and shamisen. I find the attraction of Taiko drum performance lies not only with the rhythmical skills of the drummers, but their 'martial-art like' choreography and unique ethnic costumes.

Nagata Shachu is a taiko performing troupe based in Toronto, they tour widely throughout Canada, US and Europe. They will appear in 2 fundraising concerts for Japan earthquake relief . The first one is in Guelph, Ontario :

The next one will be in the Japanese Canadian Cultural Center in Toronto. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience Taiko performance while supporting a cause close to heart :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Open your hearts

Hi hi sisters ...... it's almost 2 weeks since the 9.0 earthquake struck Japan, the news time that TV networks devote to the coverage of the series of disasters is beginning to wane. Occasionally, we hear reports on the radiation scare and food/water contamination reminding us of the on-going rescue/relief effort still happening over there. The Japanese government estimated the cost to rebuild after the disaster to be over $300 billion. This is quite an astronomical figure for any average folk to comprehend, but we can see from the video footages and pictures how catastrophic the damage this disaster has left behind. People have lost their homes, personal belongings, means of livelihood; and escaped with only the clothes on their backs. The emotional pain of losing their families, loved ones and their communities is just unimaginable.

Since the disaster struck, I have read/heard comments like "Oh, Japan is a wealthy country, they don't need our help". Yes, we are impressed with how civilized and resilient the Japanese people are, revealing their 'respect for others and properties' even in emergency situations. We also know the strong bonding among the Japanese people and the determination they have to rebuild their communities. True, we cannot replace their family treasures or momentos from the past, part of that history is wiped out with the tsunami. But we can help by instilling hope to mend their broken hearts and restore their confidence. We can spread our love to let them know there are people out there who care and support them.

We have seen Yong Joon's lead with his 1 bilion won donation and the generous show of hearts from the Malaysian BYJ Family. I am encouraged by flowerbossa's posts on the many fundraising events in/outside of Japan and how wonderful these artists use their talents for good causes. There are many channels that we can help the Japanese victims as listed on the homepage of xiaoyi's blog, and also bb's mention of DATV Hohoemi project on JustGivingJapan.

If you prefer something more personalized, there are always the local Japanese communities' fundraising drives. In Toronto, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Center is organizing the Taiko drums flash mob tomorrow, and also the grand Sakura Ball which parts of the proceeds will go to help the relief efforts. The Toronto School Board also participates in teaching Elementary to High School students to fold 1000 paper cranes and send to the Japanese school children, as a way to show they are in our thoughts. Many victims are still suffering from the cold, hunger and loneliness, please open your hearts and help however you can. Love always ......

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

BYJ's message to Japan

Hi sisters ...... As you expect, this massive Japan disaster hit Yong Joon close to heart. The Japanese family always support him and he holds a special love for them. Yong Joon has taken swift action and donated 1 billion won to the Japanese government for relief effort - food, water, clothing and shelter for the victims.

Furthermore, he wrote a comfort message for the Japanese family in JOB and thanks to cloudnine for translating it for us.

"To the victims of Tohoku Taiheiyo Coast earthquake :

Today I hesitate to start with the regular greetings such as ‘Hello, this is Bae Yong Joon’. Watching the news about the earthquake on 11th, I can’t take my eyes off the television. Because I’m very much worried about not only you, my family, but also all the victims of the earthquake.

More and more damages are being reported and I am deeply troubled by the news of continuous aftershocks, too. All I can do is to watch the news and I feel helpless. Whatever I do, I don’t think I can heal wounds and pains, but I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the earthquake and tsunami victims. I really wish that the secondary disasters and accidents will not occur any more.

Having been in such troubles even in the past, I understand that you have overcome quickly and calmly. With the great interest and support from all over the world, I truly wish that you will live through this difficult situation to restore peaceful days as soon as possible. At the same time I am currently considering the best course I can do.

Offering fervent prayers I and my Korean family hope to see you again in good spirits.

Bae Yong Joon"


Friday, March 11, 2011

The BIG one!

Dear sisters ..... it's the morning after in Japan now. When the people in Japan wake up (for most, maybe they never slept) after one of the most horrifying days in their lives. March 11 at 2:45 pm will forever be remembered, as the most devastated earthquake in Japan history, of 8.9 magnitude, hit near the coast of Sendai triggering a massive tsunami.

I was awakened unusually early this morning, had an uneasy feelings of some sort. Just happened that our pre-historic 'dinosaur-sized' TV in the bedroom, which had been serving us dutifully for the past many years, had finally succummed to its old age. So I half-sleepily switched on my laptop, customarily checking my mail and Yong Joon news. BAM! This headline struck me : 'Record 8.9 earthquake hit Japan'! Chill literally spread from my head, spine, body to my limbs, my worst nightmare really came true!

You know how attached I am to Japan, the places, the people, the culture, everything. But I have to admit while I was living there, the threat of 'the BIG one' did exist in the back of my mind. Besides educating ourselves with earthquake emergency procedures, I know we cannot live our lives in constant fear of natural disasters that are beyond our control. Still, as images of the devastation flooded the internet and TV news channels, tears just uncontrollably streamed down my face. Even though I am thousands of miles away, there is little comfort to know that my dear sisters over there are shaken up and suffering.

Thanks cloudnine for checking up on other sisters and letting me know that they are unhurt. I am so relieved when I could get in touch with you and Olivia this morning. I hope you can all re-unite with your families very soon when the transportation network is resumed. Pray for the people in Japan that there will be no more destruction of any sorts, please take care sis ^^

Thursday, March 10, 2011

maybe later ....

Dear sisters ..... I have to admit I do feel a bit down today. To think that I could have been strolling on the bustling streets in Shibuya right now, chatting with my dear Japanese sisters and slurping up my favourite ramen, yes yes believe it or not, I really feel pumped up by the rush, the noise and the crowds in Tokyo :) Instead I am stuck in frigid cold wilderness, unpacking my lugguage and emailing my dear sisters that we had to wait a little longer to see each other again. Yes, I am talking about cancelling my return trip to Japan at the last minute, quite a disappointment (let alone wasting all the planning efforts!)

Normally, I am not a big travelling enthusiast (I am still amazed at how our old bones could survive those 7 side trips to neighbouring countries during our 2 1/2 years stay in Japan!), but going to Japan is like 'going home' to me. I miss the sight, the sound, the taste, the feel of Japan and most of all, the dear friends I've made there. Well, maybe later .....

pictures from xiaoyi's blog, original from posoku in posoku's blog

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dream High special concert

Hi sisters .... you know there was this special concert held in Seoul to commemorate the ending of the drama 'Dream High'. Btw, have you been following it? What do you think of Yong Joon's 'baby' - hehe, I mean the drama :)

All the young idols who played the main characters took part in the special concert. Undoubtedly, this was a hot ticket in town as each idol is already popular in his/her own right.

Who are you cheering for? Haemi, Jinguk, Samdong, Baekhee, Jason or Pilsuk? For me, I really like the 'Milky Couple' - Jason & Pilsuk, they are just sooooo adorable together @@

Anyway, what I am trying to say is - what a wonderful idea to have this special concert for the fans of the drama. Too bad our Yong Joon was not able to attend. DO check out the the footage of the concert in Xiaoyi's blog (thanks Xiaoyi!), especially Part 1 from minute 11:20 when Jason, OK Taecyon and JYP danced to MC Hammer's 'Too Legit to Quit'. Those trio are just super amazing dancers!
Pictures shown are from Innolife