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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Japanese Send Origami After Disasters - Survivors Want Food

It's an old Japanese tradition—A Thousand Origami Cranes (千羽鶴, Senbazuru) folded paper cranes (折鶴, orizuru) held together by string…(Photo above by Fabian Mardi on Unsplash.)

Apparently the belief was that if you folded 1,000 paper cranes, your wish would come true.

It has ALSO come to symbolize hope and caring during a difficult time.

And so… what happens over time a big disaster hits Japan? Thousands upon thousand of Japanese people get it into their head to make 1,000 origami cranes and send them to the place where displaced citizens are.

Let's suppose that the senbazuru maker makes a wish for the health and well-being of the survivors of a disaster, rather than wishing for a pot of gold for themselves… and they send the senbazuru to the afflicted to let them know that the people of Japan are thinking about them… do the afflicted really care?

This is the question that Japanese society is now facing.

Who gives a fug about your well wishes… send food and water and blankets!

That's the vocalized feeling issued by some Japanese folk in southwestern Japan who last week saw a record rainfall caused rivers to overflow, and landslides and mudslides to wipe out homes, kill over 100 people with many more hurt and more still unaccounted for.

While the rains have stopped, millions of people over an extended area were forced to leave their home, and have been living in shelters. There's not enough bedding, not enough food and water, and Buddha-dammit, people aren't happy, as they are worried about their losses and how they rate going to survive not only over the next few years, but the next few days.

Here's what one Japanese person had to say— @NORIhannya:
"To those who are not experiencing the natural disaster due to heavy rainfall: Please stop sending origami cranes. They take up space and are heavy, and they’re hard to throw away because of what they are. They’re not food and they can’t be sold to make money. They’re just there for the maker’s self-satisfaction. Please just donate whatever it costs to make origami cranes. Please. From someone who experienced the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.”

Wow… is this just a stark reality of modern-day Japan?

How the heck does @NORIhannya know that the people who sent the cranes didn't also contribute money or supplies to the cause?

While it is true that the origami cranes are nothing more than a symbolic gesture and take up valuable time and space, how about just appreciate the fact that Japan cares, and has sent you warm wishes of hope and care during this difficult time.
Screen capture of @NORIhannya's message, with photo showing bags of collected origami paper cranes sent as part of the recent disaster relief efforts following the loss of 100 lives due to landslides and mudslides et al.
I mean yeah, @NORIhannya is correct. Send help, not wishes… and also is correct that the people who send such symbolic gifts may indeed being buying themselves a stairway to heaven…

Or is @NORIhannya merely a cranky scrooge… or someone genuinely stressed out by the situation? Does it matter?

Is @NORIhannya just a lone gunman, or do more than a few people feel the same way. Does everyone think the paper crane thing is stupid. You can't eat it… at least send some wasabi to make it palatable.

Here's one thing to consider… people who appear to be cranky in such situations make be the squeaky hinge that gets the oil, or conversely they could piss off a lot of people who might not want to donate if their gifts aren't going to be appreciated.

And I mean ALL of the gifts. Like I said before… maybe everyone who sent a string of senbazuru also sent along a blanket or a case of bottled water…. if you don't want one of my donations, maybe you don't get any of my donations.

Yes, people do help other people. Sorta. Not everyone is altruistic, doing things for other because it's the right thing to do.

Some do things in the hope it will help themselves later on.

Oh… that Andrew is a good guy. He always helps me carry my groceries home. Maybe I'll make him a cake.

And really… maybe I was always hoping I would get a cake… or maybe I really am a nice guy and helped carry groceries because I wanted to be a nice guy… or maybe I was trying to get laid or I was scoping out her house so I could determine where the valuables are…

One things I've never got (understood), are those folk who go out and buy a bouquet of flowers and place them at a makeshift memorial where some horrible disaster has occurred.

I understand if its a friend, family or at least someone you know… but when it's for a complete stranger…

Are these people that much nicer than me? Am I a prick for thinking I am intruding while others seek comfort in the arms of strangers?

Do victim families really need you flowers or candlelight vigils? Would they prefer to be left alone or is a community disaster a community event for mourning?

I don't know.

Again… I understand informal get-togethers in small villages or towns as a means of shooing community support… but does the same still hold true in larger cities… does disaster bring us all closer together?

Does a survivor really care about the hopes and wishes of a complete stranger? Some might. Some just want to know that people care.

Just because 100 people in a neighboring town were swept away in a flood, and I only send blankets to the survivors, or donate some money… does it look like I don't care because I didn't sign a giant card or didn't attend a midnight vigil or send 1,000 folded origami paper cranes.

Even if I sent nothing, does it imply that I don't care?

Does your opinion change if I admit that while not short of voice, I am short of money?

As far as the cranky/realist @NORIhannya is concerned… maybe make sure you aren't slamming the people who sent donations AND cranes… and maybe for those of you who want to show your support… how about making the cranes, and then taking them to a local temple and saying a prayer.

Obviously the survivors of the disaster would much prefer charitable donations that could be used for food or shelter rather than symbolism… but lets just suppose you don't have a lot of money, but you did have the origami paper lying around.

For the schools that maybe did the origami cranes as an art project… yes… do NOT send it to the survivors. Instead maybe organize a charitable drive for goods to be sent over… and pay for transportation yourselves…

Okay... @NORIhannya may have something there… for those that ONLY sent over the symbolic crane hope and well wishes… how much did it cost to ship it over? You say you don't have any money to spare… but maybe the shipping costs could have been saved and instead wired to a bank account set up to help the survivors…

Andrew Joseph

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