Support Kumamoto, Japan!

Recently, we were shocked and saddened to learn about the large earthquake that hit Kyushu, the southern most region of Japan.  The epicenter of this earthquake and hardest hit city in the region is the city of Kumamoto, Japan.

Kumamoto is the hometown of long-time TGS member, Sachi Itabashi.  Many of you know Sachi – and visit our store to spend time with her contagiously cheerful personality and generous spirit.  We have a message from Sachi – about her hometown and what you can do to help Japan.

Thank you for reading.

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(Photo above: Sachi on our patio.  Photo below:  Sachi’s grandmother’s 100 year old birthday gathering – all of her family members in this photo are being affected by this earthquake right now)

Sachi:

“A large earthquake has attacked Kumamoto-prefecture, a city in the southern part of Japan, on April 14th.

Kumamoto is where I grew up and also where my friends and family members live.

Fortunately, my friends and family are safe, but many of their homes have been seriously damaged, or even completely destroyed, by the M7.3 earthquake.

My parent’s home is still standing, but the structure is cracked, furniture is knocked down and broken, and items are scattered throughout the house.  It was very shocking to see in photographs from my parents.

Many of the water lines going to houses have stopped, and food has become scarce at many locations.

In fear of large aftershocks, many people, including my parents, sister and her two-year-old son are sleeping in cars or spending days at large city facilities.

People living outside of Kumamoto are trying to help by bringing food, water, and blankets, but it is still not enough.

Living outside of Japan, it is hard to understand the situation without images.  Since the earthquake hit, my family and friends have been sending me images to show me what they are seeing everyday.

Where we used to spend time after school (taken by friend):
kengun1 (1)

My childhood friend’s house where I used to hang out (taken by friend):
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My friend’s neighborhood – it was very difficult for her to take this photo (taken by my friend)ryoko1

Our historic Kumamoto castle sitting in the city center, and is natural for everyone to see it while walking through downtown (image from bloomberg):
Kumamoto castle bloomberg

Aso mountain where we used to go on most weekends to enjoy their local dishes and magnificent view (photo from national post):aso mountain

Historical Aso shrine (photo from yahoo):
aso shrine

One of my favorite place to visit when I go back to Kumamoto, the international mingei (folk art) museum has also been affected.

However my family and friends have all been saying:
”We are fine! As long as we are alive, we can rebuild our town. No one can destroy nor take our memories!”

The people of Kumamoto believe in being a happy, cheerful and fun people.  It is part of our city pride. So, it is extra devastating to see this destroyed town when we are actually a town that is very happy:

Please support these strong minded people and our hometown rebuild.
I believe rebuilding their symbols will help them bring back their smiles sooner.

We will have a fundraising event on the TGS patio May 14th and 15th.
100% of proceeds will be donated to help Kumamoto.
I will go to Japan in late May and will bring all the donations directly to city of Kumamoto.

Please support us to help my hometown!

*A special thanks to my friends who have contributed the photos of their homes and neighbors during the difficult time.