Sakura Children Redux

A woman in Miyagi Prefecture washes a shoe found in the wreckage of her house.

About nine months ago, I asked you for postcards for the children of Miyagi Prefecture–a part of Japan leveled, first by an earthquake, and then by a tsunami–a tidal wave that washed so far inland that factories, houses, schools, stores collapsed under water and vanished, along with thousands of children, parents, workers, and teachers.  The devastation hit at the time of the cherry blossom (Sakura) festival, delicate blossoms blooming over devastation.

The postcards were a simple way to let the children know they were not forgotten, that someone cared about them, thought about them, wished them well.

You sent postcards–some of you asked your quilt clubs and Sunday School groups to make them, some of you got your classes and your children to make cards. The first week, I sent thank-you cards for each card that arrived, and then, as cards arrived without names, I thanked you from here. I thought I’d get a few. You sent me hundreds.

With help (many people helped forge the connections), I found a contact in Japan, and sent off the postcards. Some of you sent money to help cover the postage. I never knew if the postcards arrived, or what happened to them.

The postcards in display for the town of Ibaraki, Japan

Until today. I got a package from Japan–a book filled with images of the damage and destruction of Miyagi prefecture. (The picture at the top of the post is from that book.) There was a letter and photos tucked into the book.

The letter said, in part:

Thank you very much for your kindness.
I saw all of the cards.
I’m very impression.
Kitaiharaki City people saw those cards.
I’m thinking bring those cards for elementary school of another city.
I wanted show children worried about Japanese earthquake.
Umehana teacher is thanks to you and children!
She appreciation about that! SO MUCH!

I didn’t “fix” the words because I appreciate the struggle that went into answering me in English–I don’t speak, read or write Japanese, so who am I not to appreciate any effort to write me in English so I can understand the thoughts?

Your postcards in Japan.

What a gift–to know that the postcards were received and appreciated–put on display for all the people in one city to see, and then moved to another city for display.

I recognized some of the cards, I love the idea that they made it and someone hung each one of them.

To all of you who made and sent cards–you helped heal a pain, comforted a loss, sent strength and understanding. Art heals. It doesn’t get better than that. Thank you for helping, thank you for making art. Thank you for taking your time and making the effort to heal through art.

Quinn McDonald is grateful.

11 thoughts on “Sakura Children Redux

  1. This makes me so ashamed of myself for not taking the time to send postcards. I even have some here at the house and was just lazy. I know the people over there appreciated your efforts, Quinn.

  2. Thanks for sharing this! Again, tears in my eyes.

    I had often wondered if our cards arrived and how they would be distributed. This is so wonderful to know that so many more children and adults are getting to see the cards and showing them that people far away care! That they are taking the cards from place to place is so touching. It was a special feeling to create some of the cards and write messages on them, and even more so to see/read how much they were appreciated. Thank you again for coordinating the project and for sharing this with us!

  3. Oh my. Speechless. How they so appreciated that kindness, Quinn. Unbelievable. They put them on display, they are sending them from place to place. In an instant of clarity, I saw how a simple (really — just a few postcards) gesture of kindness took on such a huge meaning to people in a place where most everything they had, they knew, was destroyed. They lost so much, and yet are thankful of this small reaching out.

    I am very touched by their appreciation. Touched by the ramifications of a small act of kindness. Thank you, Quinn, for thinking of this project, for organizing it, for seeing it through to the finish. What a thrill it must be for you to hold that special packet in your hands, and a thrill for all of us who read about it. Thank you so very much.

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