As those of you know who have been reading my notes form Japan, powerful things are happening there. Most of the world has moved on from last year’s disasters of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdowns. But in Japan it is like a fragile truce has settled in. Almost like the pause between the in-breath and the out-breath. It has been a hard winter for the 300,000 or so who are living in temporary housing and the anniversary of the day that changed their lives forever is just around the corner.
Japan “started” as isolated villages surrounded by high mountains where everyone had to work together to raise a wet-rice crop, or starve. Those origins of collective communal culture are very present today. One of the sad aspects of this is that it is often really hard for people to talk about how lousy they feel — disheartened, in grief, uncertain. There’s an unwritten block that goes something like this: no matter how badly I feel, i know you must feel worse, so i will not burden you with my story.
Miratsuku, an NonProfit Organization founded last year has been making a huge difference. Whenever and wherever possible it is creating safe spaces for people to dialog with each other — to speak out their grief and confusion and to on to dream about what is possible now that wasn’t possible before. They need our support. I am convinced this work in Japan is important to the entire world — we are learning how to create a new future.
This dialog work – which I have been deeply involved in and which I have written about before — is critically important. You can read more about Miratsuku’s work on their new website: http://emerging-future.org/about/what-is-miratuku/, and here is a report on 2011 activities that Miratsuku’s Founder Yuya Nishimura has written: http://emerging-future.org/report/miratukureport2011.pdf (look in downloads folder).
There are many steps and stages to this work of creating a new Japan. The first is making it possible for people to talk with each other. I’ll always remember a Park director from Fukushima who came to the first Youth Community Leader Dialog we did hosted a little more than 2 months after the disasters. We had no money, but we managed to bring about 60 people from all across Japan together. One was the Park Director, in his mid-fifties. I said to me “when I saw the flyer, I knew that I was too old for this — but I had to come. I need some way to move forward again.” I could see in his eyes a combination of anger, despair and helplessness. I could also tell from his manner that before 3.11 he’d always been the one who had stood up and said to others we an do this, let’s go! At the end of the third day, he ran around the inside of our closing circle shouting “I have hope again.” Simple, honest, authentic dialog with others who cared.
Please support this important work of Miratsuku. It is essential work, healing work, building work.