I’m in love with Japan. The country, the people, the food, the music and the cinema. Before my first visit there, I told my Japanese friend how much I love her country. I don’t know how it came up but she told me I would really appreciate the aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi. Wabi-Sabi is supposedly better experienced than explained, so I took her word for it. I was eager to find out what Wabi-Sabi is all about. This was last year. Once I got there it felt like I was coming back to a home I never knew I had. It was a very defining moment in my life. I once read jet-lag was the cause of your body moving too fast for your soul. That your soul had to “catch up” to your body once you arrive at your destination. Jet-lag was not what I experienced when I arrived in Tokyo’s excitement and vigor (my 1st leg of the trip). I was ready to go! I wonder if that meant that my soul was always there, waiting for my body to catch up.
There I discovered and experienced Wabi-Sabi. Just as what my friend has said, it’s something that is best experienced. Something imperfect yet peaceful and beautiful. In the blink of an eye, my 3-week-long trip was over. I left sad but hopeful that sooner than later the universe will conspire to get me back there. Filled with joyous memories of the kindness of strangers I met, of the peaceful beauty I witnessed, of the life exploding out of every intersection and so many other things. Indeed, two months later I won a photo contest I entered. With the help of many friends, I was able to score a free round-trip ticket back to Tokyo.
Then the disastrous earthquake and tsunami hit Japan and my brain went into auto-pilot. Going as fast as I can to come up with a way to help out. I didn’t feel powerless because I knew that I would be able to find a way to help. Within hours I was emailing venues to see if one would host a fundraiser and by end of the day, with great help from amazing friends from Twitter I not only had a venue but businesses were donating items for a silent auction and every one was on board with spreading the word as far as possible to make sure that we’re doing the best we can. It breaks my heart to see pictures and videos of what’s going on. A very different Japan from the one that I know.
That’s why I encourage anyone who’s reading this to please head over to #ChiHelpsJapan and attend, donate and spread the word!
Below is a video I made from my last Japan trip.
About the Author: Sami Ari is a lover of everything Chicago, from the Chicago Shakespeare Theater to the Magnificent Mile to the Promontory Point in Hyde Park. Addicted to tweetups and meeting new people as well as seeing films and writing all about it on Samiari.net and tweeting at @samiari Always a learning sponge absorbing everything about Tech, Social Media, Marketing and PR.