Prince William meets tsunami survivors in Miyagi

Japan Times:

Britain’s Prince William stood atop a hill Sunday in Miyagi Prefecture, stretched below him barren land known as the “Bay of Destruction,” where a tsunami swept ashore four years ago.

On the last leg of his four-day visit to Japan, William laid a bouquet near a shrine gate that overlooks the bay to commemorate the victims. Of the nearly 19,000 people who died in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, nearly 3,300 were residents of the coastal town of Ishinomaki. About 22,000 lost their homes.

The tragedy of Ishinomaki has been repeated across the shoreline, where communities are still trying to rebuild, mourning lost lives and worried about the future, as the younger generation leaves in droves. Thousands of people are still living in temporary housing and many are dependent on aid for food and clothing.

William, who earlier visited more lively and modern spots in Tokyo, had insisted that his first ever trip to Japan include the tsunami-stricken region.

Teruko Sekiguchi, a 42-year-old housewife and Ishinomaki resident, waited for the prince’s arrival on top of the hill in the cold rain for more than hour. She was touched he would come all the way out to the disaster region.

He is gorgeous. You can feel his kindness,” she said.

When the tsunami hit, Sekiguchi fled to a nearby junior high school and waited for a week, feeling miserable, not even knowing whether her husband, a schoolteacher, had survived. When he finally came to find her, she was so overjoyed she just cried and couldn’t even walk toward him, she recalled. Although the area below the hill, previously filled with small homes, has been cleaned of debris, no one will live there again. Plans are still being studied to turn it into a park.

It’s like the area has been finally cleaned up enough into a white canvas so we can start painting on it,” said Kimio Abe, who heads his own company installing heating and air conditioning.

Abe was also among the crowd of about 80 people waiting on hilltop for the prince. Abe’s home, near the hill, was also half destroyed by the tsunami, but he fixed it up and still lives in one room with his wife.

Earlier in the day, William visited a local newspaper, which had produced handwritten newsletters right after the tsunami to keep communication going.

William wanted to know what the journalists had done, what the rescue operations was like, as well as the personal background of Hiroyuki Takeuchi, a journalist at the Ishinomaki Hibi newspaper.

It remains with you forever. You remember where you were. It must have been unbelievably terrifying for you and all the others,” William told Takeuchi.

Akemi Solloway, founder of the London-based Aid for Japan, which supports tsunami orphans, said William’s visit will not only provide a morale boost for the residents, but also reassurance that their plight has not been forgotten and renewed international awareness of their daily struggles.

William later went to another tsunami-hit coastal town, Onagawa, welcomed by a traditional lion dance to the cheerful music of wooden flutes and drums.

At a shopping area that sold local goods by storekeepers trying to turn their lives around, he rang a bell that survived the tsunami, called the “Chime of Hope.”

The prince met a couple whose children died in the tsunami. He offered them his sympathy and said that he, too, had lost a member of his family in a tragic way, NHK reported. Local children presented him with a paper crane at Hiyoriyama Park in Ishinomaki.

William returned by bullet train to Tokyo and later Sunday left on a visit to Beijing.

William will leave Japan for China on Sunday night.

Skilled Japanese artist creates intricate cut-paper origami cranes

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RocketNews 24:

Kiri-e (切り絵) is the Japanese art of hand-cutting paper into intricate designs. Kirigami(切り紙), on the other hand, involves cutting and folding paper to create a 3-D image that pops right off the page. But one talented Japanese artist has combined these two traditional art forms, creating folded paper cranes that contain a seemingly impossible-to-achieve cut-out design. Let’s take a closer look at her stunning artwork!

Going by the name Uni (Japanese for “sea urchin) on her Twitter, this steady-handed artist shows an amazing amount of skill as she’s able to fold, cut and bend paper into a delicately designed paper crane. Here is just a small sample of Uni’s work:

She’s also amazingly able to replicate the same technique and style in miniature form, shrinking her designs down to the size of a 1-yen coin (22 millimeters/0.87 inches).

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Uni has also created stained glass paper cranes. The way the light passes through each hand-cut panel is simply gorgeous!

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Of course, Uni makes traditional kiri-e creations as well. Here’s a beautiful flower cut from a single piece of paper:

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We’re sure by now you can’t get enough of Uni’s beautiful artwork. So hop on over to her pixiv site for more of her kiri-e and kirigami paper cranes!

Link

Tenth grader Francis Nguyen makes 1000 paper cranes to raise money for Typhoon Haiyan victims

1000 PAPER CRANES. Tenth grader Francis Nguyen turns over to the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC the proceeds of her paper crane folding fund-raising project. Photo by Majalya Fernando/Philippine Embassy

Japanese legend has it that if you make one thousand paper cranes, the gods will cure you. A Vietnamese-American student initiated a paper crane folding fund-raising project that would benefit children affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

Tenth grader Francis Nguyen, together with her friends Chieu Le, Teresa Do, and Kali Gabriel, got people from their community to fold 1000 paper cranes that generated a total of $1,000. A crane was equivalent to a one-dollar donation.

Cranes symbolize hope, health, happiness, and longevity. People need something to hope for and smile about when they believe there isn’t much to look forward to in their future, ”Nguyen said when she turned over the cranes and the proceeds to Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia.

The Crane Project, which seeks to bring hope after devastation, was inspired by the Japanese myth that if one folded a thousand cranes, his or her wish would be granted,” Nguyen added,

Nguyen previously folded paper cranes for victims of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011.

YOLANDA DONATIONS. Ambassador Cuisia with members of the Vietnamese community who turned over donations for victims of Typhoon Yolanda. Photo by Majalya Fernando/Philippine Embassy

Cuisia turned over Nguyen’s donation to Feed the Hungry, Inc., a Philippine-based organization assisting relief and rehabilitation efforts in Eastern Visayas.

I would like to thank you for your kindness, generosity, and prayers. The children in the Philippines, especially those orphaned by the typhoon, need those things you mentioned—hope, health, happiness, and longevity—as we move from the relief phase to the rehabilitation phase,” Cuisia said, in response to Nguyen.

Cuisia also received over $18,000 from representatives of the Vietnam Buddhist Center and the Tu Bi Foundation.

Citing the Philippines’ acceptance of Vietnamese refugees during the Vietnam War in 1975, Thich Nguyen Hanh, Abbott of the Vietnam Buddhist Center said, “We are in debt to our Filipino friends.”

No words can express my gratitude and appreciation for what you had done for us, your support, your extraordinary generosity, kindness, heroism, and never-ending grace which comforted us through the most difficult time in our nation,” he added.

Check out this link:

Tenth grader Francis Nguyen makes 1000 paper cranes to raise money for Typhoon Haiyan victims