Japan Earthquake

Prompted by the many children who have all witnessed the sad and shocking events unfold in Japan recently, we are going to fundraise to support two charities working in Japan in the following ways.  Firstly, we will be hoping that the audiences of “Oliver” will be so impressed by the free performances (and bar) that they will be happy to make a donation at the end of each matinee or evening performance. Similarly, we hope that Pre-Prep parents who attend the Mother’s Day Services in the Chapel on Thursday 31st March will be similarly moved to donate. Finally, Friday 1st April will be a non-uniform day for all children and staff and we are asking for a £1 minimum donation.  The money raised from the “Oliver” and the Mother’s Day services will go to Rotary International (www.rotary.org) who provide “shelter boxes” and “aqua boxes” (please Google them for more information).  The non-uniform money will go to a charity supported by our Karate instructor Julia Turley who has personal and direct links with Japan. She will also arrange a Karate demonstration for the children on Friday 1st April. She sent me this message yesterday:-

Please find a personal message from the Grand Master (World Leader) in Japan.  I spoke to him at length yesterday and fought so hard not to break down……and failed. But I am encouraged by the wholehearted offer of support from our stakeholders/partners.  As Soke says in his message, “A sad heart is warmed by company in sorrow” and I am encouraged by your commitment to our effort.  I am most grateful, thank-you so much. Julia Turley, Chief Instructor, Shorinjiryu Renshinkan Karate Do  www.renshinkankarate-england.org.uk   “On March 11th 2011, just as many people were eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring, the earth suddenly heaved,  reducing towns and villages to rubble in an instant.  The waves bore their fangs and became a tsunami, swallowing beautiful harbour towns along 400km of our coastline in one gulp.  We are aghast at the nightmarish landscape that even makes us doubt the existence of God.    Over 9000 precious lives have been stolen, and well over 10,000 people are buried under the rubble, their where-abouts unknown. The enormous magnitude 9 earthquake and the tsunami have snatched away dear homes, torn apart beloved families, and obliterated towns and villages.  Our hearts ache at the sight of those searching desperately for their children and relatives here and there among the mountains of rubble.  Plunged back into the cold of midwinter, the shivering victims huddle together in cavernous, unheated gymnasiums. Yet despite the harsh conditions of life in the evacuation shelters, people support each other patiently, without grumbling or complaining.  On March 14th, I received confirmation that Shihan Watanabe, head of the Sendai branch, is safe. It was a brief,  emotional phone call, and my heart ached when he choked through his tears that he was still looking for his mother who had been swept away by the tsunami. We still do not know if the students of the Sendai branch are safe.  All we can do is to join you in praying for their safety.  In addition, students in Fukushima, Chiba, Ibaraki, Saitama, Kanagawa and Tokyo are having to tighten their belts, whist dreading more aftershocks. To make matters worse, the radiation leak from the Fukushima nuclear plant brings the fear of another disaster.

‘A sad heart is warmed by company in sorrow.’  Like faint warmth in the cold, hope grows in the midst of hard-ship.  I am grateful for the warmth and kindness of branch head Julia, of all the UK Renshinkan members, and of the people of your country.  I am certain that the messages of compassion and shouts of encouragement for Japan from the Renshinkan family all over the world will reach the hearts of the victims, and will give them the strength to  recover.  On behalf of everyone affected, and as a Japanese person, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.   The recovery of the affected region is also the recovery of the spirit of the Japanese as a people, whose hearts have been lost to an extravagant lifestyle.  One of Renshinkan’s themes is “kokorozashi”(kindness), and I plan to mobilize the concerted efforts of Renshinkan to start fund raising activities in Japan for the relief of the earthquake victims, calling on our fellow Japanese to “hang on in there!”    Please give as generously as you can!

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