A Thousand Cranes

Recently, after the tragedy in Japan, a dear friend sent me the link to the blog of a wonderful lady named Makiko. Her blog is titled las 1000 grullas (A 1000 cranes) and is about following an ancient tradition. In Japan, people believe a thousand origami cranes makes your wish come true, and this goes back to a legend that says you will be granted  long life, or recovery from any illness by an origami paper crane, if you fold a thousand cranes.

A thousand cranes are held by a string and it is a common gift among family and friends. It’s traditional to gift a thousand cranes at weddings and even to hang in one’s home. It’s a wish of prosperity and a powerful good luck charm. It is also given to a new-born as a gift for wishing a long and prosperous life.

There is a sad but truly inspiring story behind the 1000 cranes. After the bombing in Hiroshima during World War II, a Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki was dying from leukemia caused by the radiations. As a wish to be saved from death, she started making 1000 cranes, but could only fold 644 before her death. It is said that her friends completed the 1000 and buried them with her, although there is another side of the story which states that in fact Sadako finished the 1000 herself. The story of Sadako Sasaki made of the origami paper crane a world peace symbol.

Now, Makiko, a Japanese woman living in Spain,  is trying to do the same for her people in Japan while they recover from the tragedy. She wants to show them support by sending them a wish with 1000 cranes made from thousands all over the world. Makiko wants to show her people how there are many around the world that support them and wish them to be well by making us be part of her culture and participate in this ancient tradition of folding a thousand cranes.

I folded my crane and also made a video that summarizes my feelings for Japan at this moment. In part what I love most from the country (animation, music, culture… and, okay, their actors too haha) what it has given me; a lot to learn. And all of these combined with Makiko’s project, which has escalated to an exhibit in Madrid… good for you Makiko, hope your people can have things go back to normal…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The song is “Breathe” by Luna Sea

The Start Of Something New

It would not be fair to say there is no tradition in my culture… none whatsoever! Because every culture has a tradition, the problem is whether we try to maintain it or not.

I find, there is a little bit of contradiction in everything I face. Perhaps because I am not an agreeable person… maybe I’m just throwing things out there! Who knows? Truth is, our traditions are dying very slowly. And to find the cause of this would be hard since its not one thing, but it varies within culture, families, and ultimately, it varies within the individual. For example, in Cuba my mother’s generation and generations before my mother’s were able to enjoy of the holiday religious traditions; Christmas, The Three Wise Men (as it was our Spanish heritage), Easter… after Castro went into power, he started getting rid of all of those things. My generation grew up without Santa Claus, and I didn’t even know there were three wise men until I was able to understand what that meant. My mom tried to keep a little mystery in my life, there was at least the tooth fairy, only that for a Cuban child the fairy was more in the form of a mice and it would pay me 25 cents for my tooth, I liked that part. It’s not that I am a religious person, and that I spend my hours at church, but keeping those traditions would have made me appreciate them more now. I live in this country, where we still cultivate those particular holiday traditions and I really could care less. Now, don’t get me wrong! My mother makes sure I go to her house for Thanksgiving, and that I do something for Christmas, at least that. New Years is for parties and couples she says, and if I wish to stay home and cry buckets because I miss the good old times -and what better time to remember than the last day of the year- she will call me at midnight and wish me good year!

I think about this, and maybe it might not seem like a big deal at this moment, but when you start incorporating small details into a bigger picture you will find that it plays a big role in the making of an individual. It has a lot to do with how we see the world and how we treat it, and how we treat others around us, ultimately these things will make us who we are. Keeping tradition is important, this I have learned. But making new traditions is also a good way of passing down good morals and values, perhaps a smarter way of teaching the new generation since the world changes and we can’t stay in one place in time forever, but we have to accept that we most go on with the world until it is our time to pass down what we have learned from it. So I say that for today, I have learned I must accept changes and try to cope with them while keeping my old ways, somehow incorporate the old with the new. I will search for my lost traditions,and I believe I will definitely find most of them, if not all. But I will also make new ones, together with friends and family.

And at the risk of sounding cheesy -I’m afraid I already have- I will start by bringing back the essence of a friendship in the form of a tradition, or a new tradition just formed right now, as it has been our sort of ritual -my friend’s and mine-  to express our feelings through drawings or writing as a way of communicating to one another instead of talking… perhaps a little far-fetch for the start of a “new” tradition. But I cannot change the world, I can only change myself and those around me.

Our Friendship

"Our Friendship" Ink

Fake Parade

I decided to take vacation the worst time of the year. I say this because after my days off,  thurs and fr the biggest news that had the world in horror was Japan’s earthquake followed by Tsunami, and now the explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. I was very upset, and I’m sure my feelings don’t amount to the feelings of those affected and families and relatives of those affected, also friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends… what I’m trying to say is that I am no one compared to some one who is Japanese and not even from the area affected to say the least. Everyone is affected, everyone is saddened by this, because is a matter of decency having regards for human lives. So it got me thinking that we are not all lost when it comes to morals and ethics, we are not all lost when it comes to having a little bit of perspective. Then, I also thought about myself and where I stand when it comes to all of these things, do I still have all of these or am I full of crap? Why am I the person to always point out things to others? Is not very ethical to pick and point when you are not so perfect yourself, I don’t want to do that anymore but it seems to take over me.

Reading blogs about what happened, I found many comments, some amusing, some sensible, and some very out of touch, like for example some girl had said how the tsunami could not have had a worst timing because it hit while people where at work and so on… when is it EVER a good timing for a tsunami? while they are at church? that way we save time? Yeah, you will always find those type of comments. And you have to read that and laugh, and just think she is probably very young and just not thinking right because I was there once, and I probably did something along those lines (I hope not) There was also another thing that caught my attention; why there was no looting in Japan while there was looting in New Orleans and other cities that at some point in time were affected by disasters or war. My boyfriend had a very simple answer to that one; he said the tsunami washed everything away so there was nothing to loot. But lots of people were agreeing that Japan is an incredible nation that stays together in solidarity under this circumstances like no other. One word; tradition.

“There is a lot more to the soup than just salt” (my own saying, you like?) But, it is my understanding of this matter in particular, which has escalated to a bigger problem in my life recently, with a particular somebody, whom I dearly love, that tradition has been lost in our side of the world and that we have been constantly losing sight of what is really important in our lives. I felt like our world was turning into A BIG FAKE PARADE. Things as simple as paying a little bit of courtesy for someone have gone out of the window, and when I look at my life and where I come from I have to admit there is no freaking tradition to follow, there is no songs, no sayings from grandma, no… no nothing. An entire generation of nothing. Luckily I had lots of good teaching from great people that are now dead, like my grandmother Melba whom I never got to meet again… I miss her so much. Basically, I want to understand what are we turning this world into? Facebook? what is it for? Displaying your life from 8am till midnight, or finding friends and playing games? Maybe both, or maybe you just want to play philosopher and post quotes all day. WAIT! I play freaking CityVille all day, I admit it, but I don’t post my life on facebook I’m not a celebrity and don’t plan to be one. Fake Pared? I think yes!

I have come to rant about many things from tsunamis, to facebook, to traditions that are now lost forever… and how full of crap I must be. But driving from my mother’s today I saw something truly amazing, and then I realized I was wrong about one thing. Watching the perfect sunset confirmed something very hard to admit, what was turning into a fake parade was not the world, but us… I drove frantically through the back streets that separate my mothers house from mine, parked halfway in my parking lot -my boyfriend sure would love that- climbed  my horrid stairs, from which I’m sure I will fall sooner or later one of these days; out of all the days in the world to deliver a package -and to do it the right way- the post office decides today is the day, I got the package inside and ran past a bunch of hungry cats -trust me is not a pretty sight- to the back door that leads out to the terrace, where I can take a picture… it was gone, the sun was gone!