Japan Candlenight Tour part 2

Slow Mother Blog

Candlenight tour part 2

I’ve been reflecting again on visiting Japan to commemorate the first anniversary of the ongoing Fukushima disaster and the thought that keeps coming to my mind is: ‘We are thankful for small things.’

There were so many moments of connection through laughter, through sharing our deepest feelings, through singing together, through being present in the moment - making friends with strangers on a train. Little things.

In Hakodate, Hokkaido I met Peter Howlett for the first time after over 10 years of ‘connection’ through the Sloth Club. It was like meeting a long lost brother - feeling welcomed into a family of like-minded Earth carers. He’s a very good Sloth; full of humour and light-heartedness, finding common ground to work on positive solutions with a wide range of people from businessmen to artists, reconciling the contradictions of ‘making a living’ to support his family while challenging the dominant systems of thinking that have created the environmental and social crisis. In the space of 50 short hours, in between radio interviews and presentations, we visited wind turbines, had music jams and business meetings – we even had lunch at a ‘fastfood’ hamburger chain that pledges to purchase only local produce for its menu and employs mostly mature age women to provide employment opportunities for this age bracket.

It seemed to be the small things; the coincidences; the spontaneous actions and loving responses that has woven such a strong community spirit together building a foundation for the common good. One of those stories was about a local tree that was to be cut down to make room for a highway extension. No-one had really even noticed the tree until the highway plan and an archeological survey brought Peter’s son to visit the area which (coincidentally?) was very close to their family house. Peter noticed a very large tree in the tiny grove and promptly discovered that it was the largest one left in all of Hokkaido – the horsechestnut tree of Nanae – and the community successfully rallied together to protect it.

I picked up a small piece of bark that had fallen onto the snow blanketed ground below and carried it back to Tokyo, keeping it in my pocket as a talisman bringing it along to all the events, holding it in my hand to be remember...Life - and the way we connect with each other to protect it.

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