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March 11, 2011 - 2022❤️

March 11, 2011 - 2022❤️

Mar 12, 2022

March 11th, 2022 marked the 11 year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011.

Japan is my home country; however I had lived in the U.S. since 2002 and just moved back at the beginning of 2011 due to my loss of a job as well as a work visa.

I was sad that I had to change my life for the uncontrollable reasons at first.
But, the disaster changed everything.
I thought that I was there for this event.
Was I shocked? Yes.
Was I devastated? Yes.
Was I powerless? Yes.
Did I have a sense of urgency to help people in the region? Yes!

My hometown Fukuoka is far from the disaster-stricken area, so I was safe from all of the damages.
But also, I never visited the region nor knew anyone from there.

I did a lot of research to find a way to help people directly and several months later, I was in Iwate, Japan as a volunteer for a non profit organization, which provided a space and classes for students to continue learning in.

In the U.S., I was Assistant Director and Instructor in public education department at an art college as well as a practice artist in socially-engaged art.
Creative and innovative mind was needed when the community lost everything and needed to re-build from scratch for a better future.
Education was crucial for the next generation to also involve in the recovery and revitalization with knowledge and skills for resilience, sustainability and hope.

I continued to work with people, adults and youth, in Tohoku after I moved back to the U.S. as an instructor, research associate and co-coordinator for Y-PLAN TOMODACHI Leadership Program at Center for Cities + Schools at UC Berkeley.
I've also created artworks as well as practiced my conceptual and socially-engaged art work for a caring, connected and joyful community.

I created these watercolor paintings with waves as the very first artwork after I moved back to the U.S. in 2013 in memory of the event and people who were forced to change the way of living everyday.

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