Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Hawaiian quilt block

Yesterday was my Tuesday ladies' first English class. As usual we did more talking that "studying". These ladies have been coming to my house each week for years and years and we drink lots of coffee, I make cookies or cake and they bring chocolates and crackers. Occasionally we open a book and actually study.

Yesterday the conversation was about where we were during the earthquake and what we have been thinking and doing since then. Eiko-san's son's family lives in Sendai so she's been up there once bringing necessities to them. The people up north, even the ones who have returned to their homes, are still living on the edge... no gas, not enough gasoline, some food products unavailable.

So, we five ladies talked about how we've been feeling and what we can do to make things better. Most of us figure that we're all old enough that the radiation scare doesn't affect us... though we all know people who have left the area for "safer" places.

As to what one can do... well, we can donate money. Money is what is needed most of all right now and on the weekend there have been volunteers from Red Cross standing at strategic places in the city and at department store entrances asking for donations. I think this is a good time to keep my wallet free from change. Whatever I've bought the change just goes directly into the donation box.

The most interesting suggestion was:

"Go about life as normal. Go shopping and buy lots. Go out to eat for lunch."

On the surface, this seems contrary to solving the problem of need. When I stopped at Starbucks the other day I felt GUILTY!

"I should not be spending this money. I should have tossed more money in a donation box and skipped coffee." (which still may be true...)

I've felt that way about a lot of things recently. I shouldn't spend this much money on fabric. Nice pair of pants? No. Don't buy unnecessary things when there are 10s of thousands of people going without. So the suggestion to "go shopping and buy lots." threw me off guard.

Yet, it is true, the economic situation in Japan is definitely in a downhill spiral. People can't/don't buy from farmers... Things made in other parts of Japan can't be manufactured because parts were supplied from northern Japan. Stores have less people, the movement of money is slow. (I hated my economics class in college so I'm not trying to understand all this.) But the idea to buy makes sense. Buy and help the shopkeeper who can help the suppliers who can help someone else higher up in the chain.

And since so many places have signs up saying that they are donating a certain percent of their profits to Japan's relief fund, patronizing those places give Japan a double boost of energy.

My resolve for the week is not to feel guilty and go around counting pennies (yen)!


And in yesterday's class, Kaoru-san had something beautiful to show for three weeks closed up in her home. Because the news was depressing she turned off the TV and concentrated on hand quilting her Hawaiian quilt block!!!

I imagine I have made Kaoru-san feel guilty every time I asked about what happened to that Hawaiian quilt block that she started three years ago. Kaoru-san did not own a needle nor thread when she first started patchwork and I know it is not a great love of hers. (I think she does patchwork to make me happy.) But over the many years she has completed two or three large wall hangings and has helped me on projects at church.

Now wouldn't you agree that Kaoru-san's quilting is stunning and that the Hawaiian quilt block is gorgeous!!!?!


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