easy desserts & recipes: a bittersweet confection remembering 3-11-11

Wagashi a Japanese Sweet Confection Remember March 11th 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. Wagashi a Japanese Sweet Confection Remember March 11th 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.
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  • January 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm //

    Heart warming post, I’m glad to have found your blog and will look forward to checking more of your post. Beautiful pictures also!
    Take care and thanks for stopping by Foodness Gracious..

    • January 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm //

      Thank you Gerry for commenting, so glad that you came by to say “hello”, it’s great to meet you as well!

  • January 5, 2012 at 9:11 pm //

    I can only imagine how scary it must have been to be in Japan during all those scary events last year…but i”m so glad you’re okay and staying positive! We really should all give thanks every day.

  • January 5, 2012 at 10:58 pm //

    A lovely way to remember and beautiful dessert.

  • January 6, 2012 at 2:14 am //

    Maintaining a sense of gratitude amongst such great loss says a lot about your heart … your compassionate tribute touched me deeply. The beautiful food you prepared and your photos definitely showed honor.

  • January 6, 2012 at 7:32 am //

    A beautiful tribute… I have “forgotten” about this event, and thanks to you, I am reminded..

    • January 7, 2012 at 9:43 am //

      Thank you Anh, that means so much.

  • January 6, 2012 at 11:52 am //

    Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your experience. My region in Upstate NY recently experienced devastating flooding. Just this past weekend my husband and I were discussing our flooding and we also brought up the tsunami. Simply can’t imagine. Please know that even though we are far away, our thoughts and prayers are always with you and your country.
    P.S. Your Wagashi are gorgeous.

    • January 7, 2012 at 9:43 am //

      Thank you for reading Rebecca, I can’t believe it will be almost a year since March 11th. I was surprised how much flooding there was in NY (my home town) from the most recent hurricane, I didn’t realize upstate was affected so horribly, I Hope everyone was able to recover.

    • January 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm //

      Thank you so much Stephanie!