Bringing the light further into our hearts!
The Earthquake and tsunami
First of all, as a Japanese citizen and on behalf of a Japanese company I would like to thank the many countries, institutions, and people who have given their loving support during this unprecedented disaster caused by the earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku area.
The encouragement and helping hands from everyone who shares the pain as if it is their own have physically and mentally supported the people directly affected by this disaster. The cheers of "Tohoku, don't give up!" and "Japan, don't give up!" have brought us closer together and have become our motto in overcoming these difficult times.
And these same words, "Tohoku, never give up!", and "Japan, never give up!" have become the words that lift our spirits half a year later.
Strong Heart at hard time
Something is sprouting which is helping many people climb over this wall that has alienated them. New tides can bring change the world. Even with awareness to help out our friends in need, the consoling of those who have become powerless and the trust that people will support us from afar, there is still a fear that can't be wiped away. Ｔｈｅ victims have the mental strength and a battle-tested fortitude to forget about themselves and send their thoughts and prayers to those facing harder times. We must learn from the struggles of the past, and in times like this we are supported by faith and tradition.
I believe that this is one ordeal that we can overcome.
Half a year later, the harsh reality has sunk in with 20,000 lives lost in the disaster and 87,000 people taking refuge. Times continue to be tough but many people have surmounted the difficulties and started a new life with the help of friendly encouragement.
A new Bondage of the people
Even though schools are not at 100%, all have re-opened and the cheerful sound of children's laughing is gradually coming back. Many mutual bonds are formed as if people were called together to help each other out by the children's laughter. With the powerful roles played by volunteers, the idea of people connected by the active participation and wanting to do something for someone in need is already expanding across the nation and bringing people together.
There have been acts of kindness like people buying famous products from the affected areas and active visits to those areas by celebrities in music, sports, the arts and television. Moreover, many areas that have been affected by disasters in the past and received help are returning the favor, connecting everyone in diverse ways. The varieties of aid have ranged from giving shelter to the victims or sending them goods to helping out entire schools.
Invention of new Fund
And it should be specifically noted that small businesses which endured catastrophic damage are receiving funds from individuals. Essentially the funds are for venture business purposes but these support funds are starting to play a larger role. The source of the funds originates from many people sympathizing towards the small companies, and the sympathizers act as investors. The individual support is collected and it forms a bond between the investors. They are not looking for money back, their return on this investment will be when the small companies get back on their feet and the investors are able to enjoy their products again.
This system is made up of investors who kindly watch over the restoration of the company, and in return, they can experience the road to recovery together. Of course you can help out by going through a public organization, but this new, unique style of aid is faster, and it directly connects you on a higher level with the victims.
Another difficulty we face is the nuclear power plant problem at Fukushima, 250 Km to the north from Tokyo. Our energy policies rely on nuclear power for 50% of our energy as it is supposed to be good for the environment. Voices for fundamental changes to these policies are increasing. This has become a warning not only to us, but to the rest of the world. The amount of effort to stabilize Fukushima is still lacking. However, the first step of cooling the reactor is on track with the help of other countries. We can only pray for a swift resolution made part by the tireless efforts of all the people involved.
Now, bills aimed towards using new energy sources have passed through the DIET. This will bring in a new chapter in our history.
|A sign that reads"Tohoku, Never Give Up!" on a road near Hida-Takayama||A poster that reads "Japan, Never Give Up!" in Gujo-Hachiman|
FIFA and Nadeshiko Japan
This is far from depressing news.
In the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany, the national soccer team dubbed Nadeshiko Japan played the heavily favored host country Germany in the first game of the elimination bracket. After a long, hard-fought battle, Nadeshiko Japan came out on top in extended time. After the game I received a message from my friend in Germany congratulating me on the win and wishing the team best of luck for the rest of the tournament.
Next came Sweden, and after that Japan played the top team in the world, the U.S., a team that Japan has never beaten. The game went into extended time and Japan ended up winning in penalty kicks in dramatic fashion.
Towards the end of the match, Homare Sawa who once played with some of the United States players, made an extraordinary last ditch play with the ball that couldn't be taught in any practice. I felt like it was destiny for her.
Including Sawa, 7 of the 20 members on the team play for Kobe which had been hit by a big earthquake in 1995. There is no doubt that the players were thinking of the affected areas while playing. The banner they held up reading "TO OUR FRIENDS AROUND THE WORLD, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT" didn't only express their feelings, it also expressed what everyone in Japan wants to say to the world. It helped give courage to everyone, especially the people in the affected areas.
I can feel a little change in Japan. There will still be tough times ahead but by gradually overcoming these obstacles we can play a larger role in the international community than we have before and little by little try to pay back all of those who have helped us out.
Koa glass will also never cease to challenge and do our best to contribute, through the glass production activities, to the people around the world.
VIN to Blog
As for the blog, after 1 year the beloved booklet VIN will be put on hiatus, and new topics will be brought up every month as a communication tool regarding glass bottles.
We continue to introduce our stock of glassware as a part of our company's specific direction. Topics on the glass, glass containers and the contents of the containers collected from not only throughout Japan, but all over the world, are introduced.
Looking back at this blog transmission and the sequence of events that led up to it, our thoughts lead to the vastness and deepness of glass, and we can't help but feel the historical and cultural pressure from the glassworks we shoulder.
Glass, something fascinating and in depth
The unique world of clarity in glass has especially continued to fascinate us. I wonder what attracts us so much to this transparency of glass.
Light produced from the sun, oil candles or electricity highlights the form of any object. Lights corpuscular and fluctuating characteristics are sometimes reflected by an object, but other times they pass through the object.
High transparency glass shines bright in light and the light that reflects between the surface and inner part of the glass a countless number of times is a beautiful sight to see. The light that passes through the glass illuminates the contents wrapped up inside the glass like a beautiful Madonna on stage. The glass in the background then becomes the stage setting for this play.
The light and glass co-star in a pageant which makes the viewer' heart flutter, hence the fascination we who make a living with glass and those involved in the arts have with glass.
Just like light being a source of energy, glass is a gift sent from the heavens and gives breathes its first life in the fire where it is made. I wouldn't go as far as saying that light had magical powers, but we feel blessed because we can devote ourselves to creating a new world of glass and light.
In the time of René Lalique when craftsmen carefully made each individual glassware by hand, a semi-manual production system was introduced with a metal mold which launched the popularization of perfume bottles. The collaboration of the perfume bottle and the perfume lit a fire in the hearts of those with abundant imaginations and that fire burned furiously. It became more accessible, and from then on a new evocative world was created.
An even newer world is opening for us now with the use the automatic machines we have today.
We hope to be able to share the liveliness of glass with more people, building a stronger relationship with them.
Moreover, being fascinated by, and adoring glass, we as a company, and myself as a member of this company hope to play an active part in the Japanese and world glass industry.
That is our mission in these times.
Koa Glass Co.,Ltd.