I was born in Tokyo, as was my mother; a college housemate lives there now, writing for Reuters, as do my cousins, who work (currently non-stop) for the American Embassy. There are writers I care about who live in Japan, like Literary Mama’s co-editor for fiction, Suzanne Kamata, and one of the contributors to the anthology I’m working on now. Luckily, no one I know has been hurt by the quake and tsunami, but of course tens of thousands of people have — I can’t bring myself to look up the latest numbers, they are so devastating.
There are tangible things one can do to help those in Japan, of course — give money; shop at a Bakesale for Japan; read for Japan — but I am a strong believer in the power of prayer — or good wishes, or positive thinking, whatever you want to call it. So I was so pleased when a school parent organized a wishing tree project at school. She arranged for the donation of a Japanese maple, one of the kindergarten teachers made the blank tags, and students, faculty, staff and parents have been adding their wishes every day. Here is a tiny sample of their many sweet wishes: