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Genki Tenugui: A Message from Tokyo

Written on May 27, 2011

Even though news reports of the Fukushima nuclear power plant are not on the  front page days, the problems for the Japanese people have not abated, and the overall mood in Japan is tense.  Still.   Amy Katoh, the author of many fine books on Japan and Japanese culture, has transformed the window of her famous Tokyo shop, Blue & White:  Amy has posted messages of fortitude in her window, and has created a tenugui bearing the same words, shown here.Here’s what Blue & White has to say about this tenugui:

On March 11, when the Great East Japan Earthquake devastated Tohoku, Sayoko Hayasawa started brushing words of encouragement and hung them in the window of Blue & White to comfort passersby and give them courage.  People smiled and even cried when they saw the messages and drew so much strength from them that we decided to dye our Genki tenugui to help people get through the shock of the multiple disasters.

Itsumo Isshouni: Always Together
Kibou: Hope
Te wo tsunagou: Let’s Join Hands
Yuuki: Courage
Makeruna: Don’t Give Up
Minna no chikara: The Power of Everyone
Genki: Energy
Gambarou: Let’s Go Forward
Daijobu: It is alright

Japan still needs help.  Please consider giving a small amount to the Japanese Red Cross Society.



Comments closed

  1. Comment by paula:

    thanks for reminding us, Stephen. I just made another contribution to an organization i like, the Japan Society of New York. 100% of contributions go to aid. http://www.japansociety.org/earthquake.

    May 27, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

  2. Comment by Stephen:

    Thanks for providing the link to Japan Society, Paula. Very much appreciated.

    May 27, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

  3. Comment by Angela:

    Hi Stephen,

    Yes indeed, things are still tense here, but life is slowly going on, at least here in Tokyo anyway. Amy’s store is located to close to where I live and is truly beautiful, I assume that you have visited her? It’s a veritable treasure trove and blue and white, a colour scheme that has me truly gripped. I will definitely pick up one of the beautiful tenugui when I next visit to to take sashiko stitch lessons, another wonderful craft that I have embraced. When I first came to Japan I was not truly happy to move here I have to admit, we had just purchased a home in Belgium where we had lived for 8 years! But now, after 2 and a half years, my heart is and always will be here. The Japanese are truly wonderful people, I thought so before the tragic events in March, but have a true admiration for their dignified manner and ability to get on with it”. And the culture, love of nature, I could go on.

    I have very mixed feelings at the moment as my husband has just received the call that we will be moving and so with a heavy heart we will leave this wonderful country, but you know what, I know that we will return and explore more. I already know that I would like to study the art of Japanese gardening “somehow”, I guess Japan has me firmly in it’s grasp! It will be a very sad day when we eventually say sayonara.

    Please continue to help this wonderful country whenever possible, the best way is to come visit, it is safe despite what you might see on tv and you get to enjoy it, not simply donating cash to a box, but helping the economy by visiting, you also get to see this wonderful nature and soak up the culture and wonders of this most beautiful country.

    I heart Japan x

    May 27, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

  4. Comment by Stephen:

    Dear Angela,

    Thank you for the heartfelt message–and you are completely right. NOW is the time to travel to Japan: it would mean a great deal to everyone. And it’s such a beautiful country and one which will leave a lasting, good impression.

    I’m taking a quick, impulsively planned trip to Japan in about three weeks: I can’t wait to go. It will be good to see friends and to bring some goodwill from abroad.

    Thanks again.


    May 27, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

  5. Comment by Angela:

    Hi Stephen,

    I hope that others will follow your good example, Japanese is an absolutely wonderful place to live and visit, so rich in culture and history, who wouldn’t love it? Have a great time when you come over and successful hunting! I stumbled across a great store the other day selling all the kinds of textiles that you show on your website and blog, it’s called Morita 5-12-2 Minami Aoyama, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, do you know it? It’s a fascinating store, beautiful textiles. If you need a phone number let me know, just a thought as you are heading back this way. Also, if you have been to Tokyo in the past, have you visited the Oedo Market here? It occurs on the first and third Sundays of every month and it is wonderful, you should check it out if you are here during either period.

    Safe travels

    May 28, 2011 @ 7:47 pm