Wednesday, February 29, 2012

So I just succinctly 'came out' with the subtly of a sledgehammer in my last post. I'm not with the blue brigade anymore. I'm donning white or black.I'm supporting Japan Cat Network (who do dogs too ( as you saw in the last post))  They are who I'm heading North to volunteer for. They were the original co-founders of JEARS. I worked with Susan Roberts on each of my trips to Tohoku and have nothing but good things to say about those experiences. Soooooo when I found out that I had another five days of volunteer leave upon the clock striking midnight on January 1st, I knew there was no other group that could use my days like Susan and JCN.

One lovely order-er posted them on her blog:-)
I haven't been sitting on my laurels waiting until I can use those days, I have been keeping busy. I donated hand drawn cards to a JCN fundraiser, to a St. Valentine's Day fundraiser for a rescue group here on Okinawa and to Joey the Cat on World spay day. Those cards proved popular and all in all 180-something were individually drawn and put together in five weeks.I think I'll be drawing them in my sleep:-)

That Okinawan rescue group I mentioned above? Doggie Orphans Great and Small, the biggest hearted people you will ever come across. I spoke to them about my Northern trips and we swapped  stories about the world of animal rescue and ALL the kinds of bizarre behaviour we had come across. Just to clarify, that would be people's behaviour not the animal's.;-) It was at a time when JCN was running dangerously low on litter. For all you non cat people, let me just say no litter is not a pretty situation. In fact it is kind of on the messy side, the very messy side. So when she asked can DOGS do anything, I asked what would you have in mind? I had messy visuals and said would a litter drive be weird? Baddaboom..........Look what is going to JCN from Okinawa with love in haul-able increments:-)
D.O.G.S. Rock!!
The wonderful volunteers from D.O.G.S. and yours truly:-)

Seeing what one group of determined animal lovers could do and knowing JCN's dire need, I approached another group of animal advocates here, Okinawan American Animal Rescue Society (OAARS). They put on a stellar performance too and were able to raise the poundage of the donated litter.
Receiving donations from OAARS

On behalf of JCN I would like to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your effort and while I know the kitties are going to be thrilled with their spectacular toilet options, I can guarantee that you have friends for life in the volunteers who were so close to that messy messy situation.You guys literally swept them away the edge of the abyss:-)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I've never really been a coveter of  brands and logos to the disdain of my fashion concious students. (Thank goodness the pooches and purries don't judge). But last year was different. Last year I got a T-shirt that I wanted to frame.That blue mud covered, at times drenched T-shirt made me fill with pride each time I saw it.It represented mine and countless others` team work on behalf of the Tohoku displaced pets. That T- shirt is still being worn by some, but not me. My next trip up I'll be wearing another set of colours. A T-shirt belonging to a group who are still in Inawashiro, who are still pulling animals out of the restricted zone (5 puppies last weekend) and who have been there this whole time.I'm excited to head back up and honoured to be a small cog in their awe-inspiring machine.
here's their link:
A puppy in a polar bear costume:-)
Any mainlanders have space in your homes and hearts for a a puppy or two?:-)

Friday, February 24, 2012

In other news

Before I went up last summer I put out an apppeal for yukatas and jinbeis for Miyuki.  A wonderful lady who helped Jackie and I around Higashi Matsushima shi in May. She and a friend set up a Smile campaign to gather festival clothes for the the summer gatherings in her small seaside town. The teenciest tiniest backwater in Japan can't call it self a village unless it has a festival during the hotter months. It is a wonderful season to be in Japan and you could most likely festival hop the length and breadth of the country. One beautiful imperative to these community events is the yukata. Usually a light unlined cotton version of a kimono. It is informal yet traditional and quintessential female attire for firework viewing.The male counterpart is the jimbei. Also made from light cotton but more somber in colouring. There are darker coloured Yukatas for men too but I have really only seen those at onsens and not at festivals.

The Principal bought two entire sets to donate.
So Miyuki asked me, a non-native, if I had any festival attire knocking about the place, I didn`t. However, there would be nothing to prevent me from putting the word out, which I did.Lucky for me the word was heard and the wonderful students I teach up in Kadena rallied around and pestered their peers, parents and part time job colleagues. They were able to round up 27 Yukatas and jinbeis. There were mulitple donations of essential accessories too. Zori/geta, (wooden sandals), obi (belts). I covered the shipping and with other donators contributions combined, I sent up 10kilos of traditional clothes.

I wanted to get a special one for Miyuki as she had been so kind to us before so when I volunteered in June I brought one up especially for her.Friends in Tokyo and Chiba rallied around and contributed to Miyuki`s drive and I realise that I never acknowledged all of these wonderful people here. So please forgive me for being remiss in my gratitude. Thank you for making these Higashi-Matsushima-ns Smile.
Happy ladies:-)

Kasetsu jyutaku resident gets his Jimbei.
Looking pretty:-)