Solidarity with Japan

I think all of us know about the terrible events that have been and are still going on in Japan this moment. As little as I can do to help the people there, I can at least send thoughts and prayers to them and use my blog as a platform for non-material support.

So, during the next time, all my posts will be related to Japan in one way or another. This means that you will find Japanese music and art on here, writing about Japanese culture, and pictures from Japan. I will also cook and post Japanese recipes, and make some drawings and put them on here. My two previous posts – about what facing chaos does to us psychologically and my recreation of a Japanese dish I enjoyed at a sushi restaurant last Friday – turned out to already be a prelude to this project, although I had not planned them to be when I wrote them.

~ beautiful and very touching piece by Japanese composer Yoko Kanno ~

And I would love you to join in! It will cost you nothing but a bit of time, but please use your blogs as well to express your solidarity with Japan. Cook a Japanese dish and make a post about it (you can find a page with recipes from Japan here, or have a look at this wonderful blog), or write about your favorite anime movie (if you have one), or visit a Japanese restaurant and blog about it, or celebrate a little tea ceremony at home – whatever you want to do. Then link back to this post to let me know that you are partaking in this little project. I would love to have little lights of support all over the world via blogging.

What upsets me so much about the calamity that has struck Japan is not only the incredible suffering of the people and the ecological and cultural aftermaths that are not at all assessable yet – it is also that fact that it has hit a country for which I feel a deep love since I was very, very small. When I was a child, I loved to draw (I think I have spent most of my childhood drawing), and my drawing was influenced a lot by Japanese manga and anime art that I learned to love at about that time. During the past years, though, drawing has moved to the periphery of my life – despite a few sketches I made in lectures that I visited at university, I hardly drew at all anymore. However, I have missed it recently, and I think it is time to get drawing back into my life. So, I went to the city yesterday and bought a sketch block, a set of pens in different sizes, a penholder, and drawing ink.

I also noticed that I do not have any Japanese smileys at all – how can that happen to me?! – so it also is time for a little smiley research. Do you have any? Then please put them on your blog!

Yesterday night, I made a lovely little dinner which, although it was not based on an actual Japanese recipe, at least can be called “Japanese style”.

This is because it not only involved some ingredients that are common in Japanese cuisine, but also was seasoned in a way to be a tribute to my favorite (and also Japanese) spice mix, shichimi togarashi. This spice mix consists of chili pepper, ginger, black and white sesame seed, roasted mandarin or orange cest, and seaweed, amongst other ingredients (the exact composition can vary a little). The name means “seven flavor chili pepper”, and I used some of those flavors for the dish I made.


1 serving


  • butter or oil
  • 1 tsp fresh gingerroot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into slices
  • 2 spring onions, cut into slices
  • 1 big handful winter squash, cut into dices (I used butternut)
  • 150 g (5 oz) shrimp
  • 1/4 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1-2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 mandarin, juiced
  • 1 handful fresh (flat-leaf) parsley


Heat fat in a pan and fry ginger, onions, and squash for a few minutes, then add shrimp and fry until shrimp are done. Add chili, soy sauce, and mandarin juice and stir fry openly until the liquid is reduced to the wished degree. Mix in the parsley, serve, and enjoy.

I am off to the Asia store now, to pick up a couple of ingredients for some real Japanese cooking tonight. Meanwhile, please support my little project, post a sign of solidarity with Japan on your own blog, and link it back to this post. And please ask your own readers as well to be part of this little solidarity project! Every little light that is lit may help to make these dark days of sadness a little brighter.

~ thank you ~

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Filed under Fish and Seafood Dishes, Solidarity with Japan

41 responses to “Solidarity with Japan

  1. this is a perfect tribute series, and one I can definitely take part in. I don’t know how, but I will… :)

    I have been feeling such sorrow for those involved in this horrific tragedy, and going about daily things like blogging seem so inconsequential and frivolous. this is a way to make it less so, and to send out prayers and support in another way.

    thank you!!

    • Kath (My Funny Little Life)

      Thank you so much for your support! I’m so happy you’ll hop on board! And *I know* you can do something Japanese! I’ve seen brown rice and edamame on your blog recently, so there you already have a nice basis for a Japanese inspired dish. I’m looking forward to seeing it! (And I know my nose will be squeezed against the screen as always when I read your blog! ;))

      I can so much feel with what you said about that hollow and frivolous feeling that accompanies going for normal daily activities these days, so I’m happy I’ve found a way to do something, even if it is just symbolic.

  2. oh how beautiful! She’s an amazing composer. This week I will make soba noodles and dedicate it to japan. Thank you Kath!

    • Kath (My Funny Little Life)

      Thank you for being part of it, Lindsay! I just bought some soba noodles myself. Looking forward to seeing how you made yours! And I’m happy you liked the music! :)

  3. Phoenix

    This wonderful music is very touching indeed. Thank you, Kath.
    We started group meditations for sending some good vibes to poor Japanese people and their beautiful country.

    • Kath (My Funny Little Life)

      Oh, that’s an amazing idea! I think that will definitely do something! I’ve been sending thoughts to Japan during my meditation as well. And I’m so happy you liked the piece I picked for this post! I just found it when I was looking for music to go with this post. I new the composer before and was thinking about another piece by her, but then I found this one and thought it perfectly expressed my feelings. :)

  4. I think this is a lovely idea, Mido. The people of Japan are suffering through tragedy on such a large scale, I can’t imagine how it must be to live there at the moment. It has, however, been heartwarming to see the world’s reaction and the help that has been offered, and how the Japanese people have pulled together through the tragedy. There are no words for what they are going through, hopefully the situation won’t worsen further, as some have been predicting.

    I’m going to look into making a Japanese meal tomorrow – I had sushi for lunch today.

    • Kath (My Funny Little Life)

      Yay, that’s great! There are a lot of lovely vegetarian Japanese dishes as well! And you’re so right – the suffering is far from being conceivable. :(

  5. This is such a great series. You are so thoughtful to do this.

  6. ajh

    What a wonderful idea! Will think about how I can join in too!

    • Kath (My Funny Little Life)

      Thank you, Andrew! I hope you’ll find something. Like, 50 miles of biking for Japan? That would be something for you, no?

  7. it’s pretty incredible the weather we’ve been experiencing lately on this side of the world. flooding in Australia, quakes in New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia…i think of it as a reminder to be thankful and how life can change in a moment’s notice.

    p.s. will you be sharing your drawings with us?? :)

    • Kath (My Funny Little Life)

      Yes, it’s just incredible. It teaches us to be thankful. And yes, of course I’ll share my drawings. I also want to share my piano playing, but the (about 100) takes I’ve done so far weren’t worth to be posted. ;)

  8. Allie

    Loved the music. I hope for all the best for Japan in their time of need.

  9. What a brilliant idea, I look forward to reading more of your Japanese tribute posts! One of the teachers in the school I work in was there for the quake and has still not returned home (he is fine though!). It hit awfully close to home.

    • Kath (My Funny Little Life)

      Oh my goodness, it’s such a shock if it directly affects somebody you know! 8O I’m so glad he’s safe!

  10. I haven’t been able to think about Japan since it happened, because I cry very easily, and then my nose stuffs up, and as you know I’ve been having panic attacks since the surgery. I know the numbers, the statistics, but couldn’t listen to the human interest stories or view the suffering on television or the computer.

    I’ve been feeling better the last day or so, so tonight, I turned on public radio and listened to a special about one of the cities that was completely destroyed by the earthquake. I cried, tears flew, my nose ran and got stuffed up. I breathed through my mouth and took it all in. The horror, the sadness, the unimaginable pain and suffering of so many.

    I will join you.

  11. Jos

    You’re such a thoughtful person :)
    And I didn’t know you also like manga/anime..haha…I looove anime/manga..maybe I’ll post up some anime/manga that I used to love

  12. Well said! Um… written! I’m having trouble processing the whole thing, to be honest, especially so close to the NZ quake that has really affected me. I can’t even BELIEVE the images. :(

    Too funny about your anime-obsession! My colleagues’ daughters are full-on into manga, too, and I hear way more about it then I ever imagined I would…

    As for Japanese solidarity through the interblog, Keiko is a Japanese woman living in the UK; her pics are nothing short of phenomenal, and I owe my matcha baking fetish to her matcha opera cake… this is just a WOW:

    • Kath (My Funny Little Life)

      Wow, Keiko’s blog is amazing! So perhaps you have time to make a little matcha-something from her blog? That would be so great!

      I can totally relate to what you’ve written about processing trouble of th recent events. I was very shocked when I learned about the earthquake in NZ, especially when I got to knew that a friend of mine was *directly* in it, and now Japan is just too much! You know, Japan goes very close to my heart … :( I’ve spent the past week with a kind of exhaustion expression. I was totally numb and blocked emotionally, and many things came up … But it’s gradually getting better now, fortunately.

  13. Des

    Events like this are so painful to watch, because you instantly connect with all of those innocent people. I think your idea of recognizing/celebrating Japanese culture in some capacity is an excellent one.

    • Kath (My Funny Little Life)

      Thank you, Des! Will you join? I’m sure there’s some excellent Japanese artwork you could put on your blog! :)

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  15. I think what you’re doing is lovely. I, too, have really wonderful memories and associations with Japan, so I look forward to yoru next few posts :)

    • Kath (My Funny Little Life)

      Thank you, Hannah! I’d love if you wrote something about your memories on your blog as well! :)

  16. what a thoughtful sweet post, I love the emoticons, so cute!

  17. kim

    I think it’s a beautiful thing to see all human kinds join together to help our fellow brothers and sisters in needs. I think sometimes Mother Nature has a unique way of teaching us a lesson.

    • Kath (My Funny Little Life)

      It’s interesting you say that – I’ve thought the same. Would you like to join in? You cook a lot of Japanese dishes anyway, so you could devote of them to the people in Japan. :)

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