easy desserts & recipes: a bittersweet confection remembering 3-11-11
Last year, Japan experienced one of the biggest natural disasters. Last March 11, 2011, 15,782 people died from the Great East Japan Earthquake and the resulting tsunami. As of this September, 4,086 are still missing. For anyone who has been a part of such a tragedy, I can only imagine that everyday is a struggle to pick up the pieces of your life and go on living. I found myself contemplating “giving thanks” when it was Thanksgiving this past year. Although Thanksgiving is a holiday is predominantly celebrated in the United States for the end of harvest season, hence being thankful for the good harvest. I believe that Thanksgiving, in a manner of speaking, should be a universal holiday where people can celebrate by being thankful for whatever good fortunes they have experienced in life. New Years is more widely celebrated all over the world. For the many people who live in Japan, I myself included, we are extremely thankful for having survived the tragedy. Words escape the scenes I’ve witnessed, almost like the aftermath of war. Although what I experienced is nothing compared to what those in North East Japan went through in the Tohoku Region. The problem is still ongoing and people are still displaced, and I can't imagine what they have to live with. We are living in fear (hence selling our house, too close to the ocean.) Although I knew this was a possibility and having gone through so many earthquakes, little, big, medium sized, as they happened here every day, the next time the ground shakes, it still jolts me out of what I am doing because it's that constant state of "how big will this one be." I try and estimate each quake by the shuddering of my surroundings, and the intensity of the motions matching the pounding of my heart. For pure mental sanity, I can't bare to hear or watch the news anymore when people start mentioning quakes. The Tsunami warnings that were going off and blaring here was eerie, it sounded like those Tornado warnings or those World War II sirens. Even though we had a drill the other day, I felt on edge. Last Thanksgiving, in a country that does not celebrate this holiday, I was, and will always be thankful for this precious thing called Life that I sometimes take for granted. I will be thankful for the people that have been saved and those who helped in the relief efforts. I will be grateful for the love that surrounds me, lifts me up, and blunts the edges of fear. This is a New Year! I choose to represent my adopted country Japan with Wagashi. A traditional Japanese Sweet Confection.