My Japanese dad and I determined that the best translation for “Heal Japan” is “Nihon no Fukko wo Tasukeo”!
My aim for the “About” page is to tell you about where the Heal Japan EP / movement came from, but I’m discovering that in order to do so, I need to tell you a little about who I am -because the two are inexplicably entwined.
My name is Michele, and by definition, I suppose I am many things. Aren’t we all? I am, like you, a human being (wink). I am a female of Eurasian descent (50% Dutch and 50% Japanese, though born in America). Living in and consistently revisiting Japan through my formative years, I very much identify as Japanese.
my little brother and I as kids in Japan
matsuri in Takasaki
I am a “hi no uma” and by Western standards, a Sagitarrian. I am left-handed, and therefore creative by nature, evident in my interests and activities as I am a songwriter/writer, archivist, entrepreneur, photographer, videographer, aspiring documentary filmmaker and magazine publisher. I am a lesbian and a feminist.
By trade, I’ve done many things -although I firmly believe that what we do to make ends meet doesn’t begin to define who we are. In my effort to make ends meet through the years, I’ve held various administrative (office/"salaryWOMAN") jobs, have been a field case manager working with the homeless, worked client intake at the second-largest AIDS organization in America, and have worked in the public relations, finance, and legal fields. As a photographer, I've shot for various Hollywood photo agencies, a photo studio, and was the stills photographer on two low-budget films. And up until my current gig as a barista at Starbucks (because it affords me the time I need to focus on my songwriting --I’m at the Oak Park, California store most evenings, so come by and I’ll make you your latte ;), I was an editor at a Japanese magazine published here in Los Angeles.
But this - why this is even here for you to read, the music that I write, and the Heal Japan effort - isn’t about me. Before I am Michele, I am - above all else - a Christian (“watakushi wa Kurisuchan desu”), a follower of Y'shua. Americans know Him as Jesus Christ. In Japan, He is known as “Iesu Chiristo”. And as a Christian, some of us take seriously and do our utmost to follow Iesu’s directive to "love thy neighbor as thyself" and therefore care about others, actively. The word “love” (“ai”) after all, is a verb ...requiring action.
That you are reading these words now, presumably as a result of having supported this cause by purchasing the Heal Japan EP CD or Nihon wo Aisu, the single (THANK YOU), is an undeniable miracle, as the project has reached you solely on a tremendous leap of faith. (...Ok, and a considerable amount of what we here in America refer to as “blood, sweat, and tears” ...and a substantial number of prayers on my part).
yappari, Nihonjin desu!
Bottom line? The Heal Japan EP is my love letter to Japan in the wake of the events of 3/11/11.
Strange almost, I felt compelled to the extent that I HAD to do this project. 3/11/11 broke my heart. BIG. And while the world, and maybe even the rest of Japan, seems to have moved on, there’s a piece of my heart that has remained with Tōhoku -although I’ve not ever personally been to that region of Japan.
What is the day-to-day reality for those still residing there? Are their needs being met? What are their needs? Do they know - and more importantly - is it evident to them that they haven’t been forgotten?
Whatever proceeds the Heal Japan project generates will collect and be held in a fund. Ultimately, what I want most to do is to go to Tōhoku’s most affected towns personally to meet and talk to survivors and get a clearer first-hand perspective about the current state there, what the greatest needs are and from that, determine and designate those funds to a specific function -or possibly functions. --In fact, let’s do this: Once I’ve been able to get to Tōhoku to do this, I’ll post a report about my findings here on this site and I’ll have YOU, who have personally supported this effort/cause, determine where the proceeds will be directed.
This is an interactive effort that you are an important part of through your
interest and support -and I thank you for it sincerely.