Those who supported the cause No word could express how much I appreciated their contributions. Thank you.
"Smiles brightened the faces when they were told that their handmade straps and brooches would cross the Pacific," a clerk at Association to Rebuild Wonderful Utatsu wrote to me. Mr. Hane and my sister, whose collaboration made this project possible, mentioned to me the same thing. Many tsunami survivors in Japan took craft works as a way to be constructive. It helped them get out of their tiny temporary housing units and work together stitch by stitch for their future. Their handmade products are now giving smiles to Americans. Smiles truly bridged across Pacific Ocean.
Before the showing of Pray for Japan, I presented a slideshow of recovery efforts in East Japan. Sample items were displayed on two tables at the theater entrance before and after the film. Fifty six people came to see it. Out of that, only two, who were not my friends, placed the orders. However, thanks to my friends, the total sale price reached $935.
Many survivors are realizing that financial contributions are no longer necessary. They wish to get back on their feet. They also know that it would take 10 years or more to rebuild the local economy. Meanwhile, the sales of their disaster-area products give them a way to remain constructive. I learned from my project how difficult it was to explain to Americans the current needs of tsunami-devastated areas, and to make them open their wallets for the benefit of survivors.
When I gave a pink monkey to my friend's 4-year-old daughter, Sakurako, she was so happy that she handed a $10 note to me. She had saved the pocket money in the Buddhist altar in order to use it for a special occasion. She told me, "Give it to a person who made the monkey." The sock monkey was originally made by an elementary-school girl out of her father's socks in Higashi-Matsushima City. I bought a little gift for her with the precious money. My sister is going to mail it to the school girl when she returns to Japan.