By Gail Miyasaki
Rafu Craft Editor
Spring arrived royally with blasts of chilly temperatures, snow and rainfall up and down the Cali coastline. Alas, the weather gal predicts sunshine this week. Patience is a virtue. We await for those blue skies and rays of warmth.
Weather improvements here and abroad make each day more livable when we consider all that has taken place in Japan since 3/11. With the focus now directed at disaster relief efforts for the survivors of the destructive 9.0 magnitude earthquake, tsunami and radiation concerns, the same question pops up.
What can I do, what can you do, what can we do?
Monetary contributions are needed for the relief efforts to get under way and continue any momentum. Each one of us can offer assistance and support to help raise funds. Ask around. Get involved.
There’s been buzz about the percentage of actual money from every dollar donated that is earmarked for aid efforts vs. into the coffer of certain organizations.
Let’s hope that we will make a difference that counts. For now, we place our trust in the various reputable non-profit organizations to properly filter aid to those people in the areas who need it the most soon.
The Rafu Shimpo is accepting donations on behalf of the Japan America Society and U. S. Fund for UNICEF via the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of So. Calif. Send in a donation form along with your contribution.
Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry initiated a drive-by collection for the American Red Cross Japan relief fund outside of City Hall on Main Street. Four lanes were channeled into one and that’s where she stood collecting donations from drivers. Consul General of Japan Junichi Ihara was a co-sponsor.
My husband and I were part of a rotating dozen or so volunteers. Wearing a city worker’s red vest and holding a Red Cross donation box, we swayed signs at passersby asking their support for the earthquake and tsunami victims.
“Every dollar helps,” chanted Tiffany Ma, a Red Cross volunteer, to drivers and bikers.
My spot was on the other side of the street right in front of the bus stop. A Spanish-speaking guy in his thirties gestured from the curb and offered a few coins to place in my box.
Ten minutes later, he looked my way again. This time he plunked in a five-dollar bill. I thanked him again. One hand covered his heart and his eyes looked towards the sky above.
People of all colors, all ages are stepping up with amazing compassion and generosity to help the people of Japan.
At our downtown Little Tokyo office, an Asian man rushed in to bring his donation. He said that his three young sons, Danny, Johnny and Kenny, wanted to give their own money. Danny Lee, a second-grader, wrote: “Dear Japan, I felt sad because the sonami hit your country so I am going to give you $10 for water and food. And my brothers will give you $10, 15 and I will give you $10 . . .”
There are small acts of kindness everywhere. At Sushi Dragon in Sun Valley, the Japanese owner/sushi chef is matching the donations he receives from customers. Out in the OC, the staff of the popular Hawaiian spot, The Loft is donating all of their tips towards the cause.
Manuel’s El Tepeyac in ELA and Umani both hosted a one-day fundraiser yesterday and will donate all food sales to relief organizations.
Look for an April date for the Asia America Symphony’s benefit concert in Little Tokyo.
Do you have a story to tell? Let me know.
On a lighter note, we welcome this seasonal change that gives us longer days. Pack up those winter scarves and jackets and look towards spring fashions. Think brighter, fresher.
Time to go shopping! Get started at the annual So-Phis fashion show luncheon and boutique. Be there at 9:30 a.m. sharp on Saturday for a well-attended Asian arts and crafts boutique at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel.
Lots of eye candy—from the blingy bling to unique fashion wearables to yummy munchies. Expect to see lots of familiar faces. Really a time for socializing, evidenced by the noise level bumping up a few decibels.
A newcomer to the SoCal crafts scene is DeLynda DeLeon, who calls Napa her home. After a stint teaching at San Francisco State, she worked with Asian American non-profits. Now retired, her claim to fame are hand rolled Japanese fabric bead necklaces. Not to be missed are her washi note cards, magnets and pins.
Born in the land of aloha, this self-taught artist of 30 years wants gals to enjoy her works, so they’re priced to sell from $35.
DeLeon admits to being a perfectionist. Each bead is hand-rolled and each necklace is designed and strung by her hands. Known to be a fabric stasher when a find catches her fancy, she’ll wait until that piece feels just right for a specific design.
Her grandmother, who continued to sew clothes and quilts into her early 90s, taught DeLeon that fabric has a multitude of uses and should tell a story. Nature, color and texture as seen in Japanese fabrics, arts and pottery serve as inspirations.
Chowhounds, only a paid ticket gains entry to the fashion show luncheon hosted by ABC7 reporters David Ono and Denise Dador. Doors open at 11:30 a.m.
Saturday, April 2, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
So-Phis Spring Fashion Show & Boutique
Anaheim Hilton & Tower Hotel
777 Convention Way, Anaheim
(714) 842-0927, Debbie Chiya
Sunday, April 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Krafty Delites Spring Gift Show
Carson Community Center
801 E. Carson St., Carson
(310) 329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama
Sunday, April 25, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
A Time for Sharing Spring Boutique
1735 W. 162nd St., Gardena
(310) 329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama
Sunday, May 1, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
5th & Jackson, San Jose
(408) 241-0900, Warren Hayashi