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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international consultants. About living in Italy, the Veneto area near Venice; in Indonesia, central Java. Why we love the southeast of the United States and moved back from Italy. Our love for gardening, the botanical way. Sharing with you our manifold treasures from exotic places and even offering several at Spectrenoir:http://ebay.to/2xI69uc, for others to enjoy. As well as high end silver items from Giovanni Raspini, Italy |  google.com/+MariettesBacktoBasics 
I also do classes and consulting... too much to list here! Check out my google.com/+MarietteVandenMunckhofVedder ABOUT page, where you see my other LINKS and email address; you just scroll down.Thanks!
Love to bring back some romance and quality to the daily life of others... 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

{News from Our Sister-City Osaki in JAPAN + Join NISSAN with Donation!}

  • It was with great joy to receive an email in the morning from our YKK contact person who finally got through to the little town of Sanbongi, part of Osaki City. 
  • In July of 2007 I had the honor being one of two chaperons with six students from Dublin, Georgia to Japan. 
  • We have already contact since October 1998 and every other year we send students there or we receive students form our sister city Osaki. 
  • It is such a great cultural exchange and after a stay in Tokyo we went to the north east for a stay with our host families. 
  • That is so unique, far different from a hotel stay. 
  • We did lots of sight seeing in the north east area, visiting gardens, shrines etc. etc. 
  • The usual things one can enjoy in this great country. 
  • Their courtesy and respect for others, for nature and for life in general is something we all can learn from. 
  • They are an example to the world. Some negative news by the leftist media in regard to nuclear power plants should be put to rest too. 
  • If all those people that talk about it and help spread those rumors, would do their own homework, they would soon learn that those levels are not life threatening. 
  • On a transatlantic flight you get quite some radiation and nobody talks about that.  
  • Nuclear energy is still by far the cleanest and safest energy there is! For some facts on this subject please go here and you also can read there about the history's worst nuclear disasters.

  • This is the Miyagi Prefecture (State) with Sendai being the hardest hit. 
  • Our stay was in Osaki, more inland and that's precisely why there was not much damage compared to the areas near the coast. 
  • They did not have electricity for one week; that's why they couldn't send or receive emails prior to yesterday.

  • View from the Tokyo Tower where we first went on our city tour and harbor cruise. It was rather hazy that day but nevertheless quite impressive.

  • Here I am in front of Tokyo's Hard Rock Cafe, with a lady from YKK research. 
  • We had dinner there and the group had a blast.

  • On the roof  of the YKK research center in Tokyo before departure by train to the north to our host families. 

  • Reading from Romaji and my co-chaperon doing the English version, that's how I presented the gifts for the mayor, the chairman of their International Association and later to the manager of the Tohoku YKK plant. 
  • A dear friend who has worked and lived in Japan, provided me with this text and he did over-hear me before I went to Japan. 
  • As I'm used to speaking for groups, having been an international consultant and giving training seminars, I didn't need a microphone.

  • Here I present the gifts, that I'd purchased at our flagship department store +Neiman Marcus
  • They did provide me with their signature gift boxes as well. 
  • Japanese do appreciate high quality items.

  • Meeting my host. By the way, I got introduced as an energetic Mama...

  • The Chef from a traditional Japanese restaurant in Furukuwa. I ate whale for the very first time. 
  • With our boss, my husband and I have eaten several times Japanese at Sumire Restaurant in the +Grand Hyatt Jakarta Hotel in Indonesia.
  • We both love it very much. 
  • Eating with chopsticks is no problem for me either as I did that for years in Indonesia, while doing consulting work and living there for about 3 years. 
  • Japanese chopsticks are only shorter.

  • Each of us had to say something about our stay and our experiences, or highlights, at the Sayonara party. 
  • Also the host family got to say something about their guest(s) as some had two students and even three.

  • One last photo with my host family and off we went in the morning, by train back to Tokyo. 
  • Another adventure was that a Typhoon was striking Japan and our Delta flight was delayed by one day and the hotels in Tokyo were overbooked, so we had to split up our group. 
  • During the train ride I made up my mind though, that we would depart that very day instead. 
  • +Delta airlines handled it great as we got it done over the phone and by mentioning that I had to get my six minors back home safely. 
  • The problem was that there were two holidays in Japan, thus flights already overbooked. 
  • Also the fact that the group would be split up was not something I liked. 
  • We got out, running to the gate and having to skip lunch but that was okay. 
  • The Typhoon hit and there was an earthquake with a mini Tsunami
  • Nothing compared with this monster Tsunami... but who would know in advance? 
  • Parents were all pleased to see their son/daughter back safe. 
  • I'd emailed my husband Pieter and our YKK contact person who organized everything in the US as far as informing the families. 
  • My last email read: 'If you don't hear from me anymore; that means we are in the air' and also forwarding our flight numbers to them...

  • Back home in Dublin I could present our mayor with the new flag from Osaki as several towns had merged into Osaki City.

  • Only one year later, in 2008, we could welcome a Japanese delegation back to Dublin. Under Police escort they are being met at the Interstate (Autobahn/Autostrada) and a big welcome sign is on the overpass.

  • Here we are with our house guest; one of the chaperons.

  • Together with two other membes of the International Commitee I did join these Japanese students  on a trip to Savannah and to the beach... HAPPY TIMES!

  • Let me end this post with this nobel act by +Nissan as they donated $ 1,000,000 and will match again the next $ 500,000 in contributions. Here is (was) the link for donating and I hope that many of you will join me! Thank you! ありがとうございます on behalf of our Japanese friends that need us more than ever...


  1. Wat fijn, dat het goed met ze gaat, daar in Japan! Het is verschrikkelijk allemaal!
    Fijne dag nog!

  2. Hallo Mariette,
    du hast im Laufe deines internationalen Lebens so viele Kontakte in der Welt gefunden. Ich bin voller Bewunderung, welche Länder ihr schon bereist habt und dort nicht nur als schauende Touristen, sondern als aktive Menschen tätig wart. Die Geschehnisse in Japan haben wohl alle Menschen betroffen gemacht und bringen neue Impulse zur Beurteilung der Lage in jedem Leben.
    Schöne Grüße, Johanna

  3. Hallo Marietta,

    vielen Dank für deinen lieben Kommentar und herzlich willkommen auf meinem blog.
    Du hast ja schon einiges in dieser Welt gesehen alle Achtung, in den USA war ich auch schon mal für 4 Wochen, weil Verwandte dort wohnen.
    Viele liebe Grüße, Rose

  4. That was such a great post to read Mariette! What a wonderful experience that must have been and Japan must be very close to your heart now. Thank you for sharing this:)

  5. Hi Mariette, you've certainly lived a very blessed and adventurous life. So glad to hear that your friends are well. A teaching couple with two small children left our school this past year for a teaching post in Japan. They were able to leave on Wednesday to go back home to Canada. We received a couple of email updates from them and you could tell that it was quite a stressful time, especially all the after shocks. Not everyone can leave though, everyone else must stay and deal with what is going on now. Such a crazy time. I hope you are having a good weekend. It is time for me to head to bed. I've had such a headache the whole day so time to get some rest before heading back to school tomorrow. Take care! Tammy

  6. Mariette, a lovely story and I am so glad they are all safe.

  7. Liebe Mariette, welch eine Erleichterung , welche Warmen Freundschaftsbande sprechen aus deinen Zeilen und Fotos...
    Herzlichst Anett

  8. liebe mariette,

    ich bin immer wieder fasziniert von der vielfältigkeit und deinen reisen, deinen kontakten. danke für diesen wunderbaren bericht und die bilder, die alles noch wirklicher machen.


  9. What a post dear Mariette and what
    a touching experience.
    I'm so glad hearing your Osaki friends did not report heavy damages.
    Love your Tohoku's casual look as
    well your posh hometown outfits. Unhappily I cannot sing in tune with
    you about eating whale yet I'm ready
    to forgive & forget.
    Hugs & kisses from a gusty Tuscan day!

  10. Auch ich kann immer wieder nur staunen, wie weit Du schon überall herumgekommen bist, liebe Mariette! Tolle Bilder und Einblicke in Dein Leben zeigst Du uns hier!

    Und ich habe bei mir schon geantwortet, möchte das hier aber gleich noch aufgreifen.

    Ich glaub' allerdings nicht, daß es eine Sache der links gerichteten Medien alleine ist. Denn Atom geht uns alle an, nur leider bleibt das bei den meisten lediglich ein LIPPENBEKENNTNIS oder ist bestenfalls einen Blog-Beitrag wert, ist also lediglich der Wunsch der Vater der Gedanken ... dort, wo jeder Einzelne von uns sein Konsumverhalten in der Hand hat! Denn wir verbrauchen ganz einfach zu viel, in vielerlei Hinsicht, wie ich es ja schon öfters darzustellen versucht habe. Aber - davon abgesehen, beziehen wir nur ca. 20-30 Atomstrom hier in Germany. Was auch daran liegen mag, daß der alternative Strom so nicht speicherbar ist bis jetzt, z.B. der aus Windkraftanlagen. Der Rest wird ins Ausland verkauft!

    Die Atomenergie ist meiner Ansicht nach schon noch anders zu bewerten als bspw. die Emissionen durch Autos und Flugzeuge, wobei alles natürlich zusammenhängt.
    Denn im Falle eines Super-Gaus wären weite Landstriche auf Ewigkeiten hinaus unbenutzbar mit SOFORT für uns unumkehrbaren Folgen! Und das sind für den Menschen an seinem Körper ganz haarsträubende schnelle Folgen!!!

    Bei den Verkehrs-Emissionen sind das eher Langzeitfolgen, die nicht einmal genau absehbar sind, die sich aber ggf. renaturieren lassen, wenn wir das in den Griff bekämen, was wir aber nicht werden, da keiner verzichten will! Alle wollen weg vom Umweltdreck, aber bitte nicht zu Fuß! ;-) und vor allem ohne eigene Anstrenung und Veränderung!

    Würde der Mensch nicht so unglaublich rastlos und sogar gegen sich selbst egoistisch und unvernünftig sein in seinem Verhalten, müßte vieles gar nicht erst sein! Von den vielen Autos und damit zusammenhängenden Fahrten einmal ganz abgesehen. Aber die Flugzeuge sind noch die schlimmsten Emissionsverursacher - auch weil deren "Treibhaus"gase so unmittelbar in großer Höhe in die Stratosphäre gelangen und dort die Ozonschicht schädigen. Es ist wirklich ganz unglaublich, wieviele Flugzeuge ich nur an einem einzigen Tag am Himmel sehe. Als ich Kind war, sah ich an einem Tag HÖCHSTENS nur 1 oder mal 2 Flugzeuge und das war noch eine Sensation! - Was für ein unglaublicher Unterschied!

    Und von all dem anderen, was nur fürs Wegwerfen produziert wird. Denn wir haben es nur für eine kurze Zeit, dann nämlich landet es unweigerlich auf dem Müll!

    Würde vieles politisch anders, nämlich in diesem Falle tatsächlich links und damit weniger Kommerz orientiert geregelt, ginge so Einiges gerechter zu und dann hätten wir die vielen sinnlosen Autofahrten beispielsweise von Bayrischer Milch nach Niedersachsen und umgekehrt oder die vielen Pendler, die keine Arbeit mehr an ihrem Heimatort finden, erst gar nicht in dem Maße oder überhaupt nicht.

    Aber darin nehmen sich heute selbst linke Politiker nicht viel mit ihren Artgenossen, den Konservativen .... es geht in erster Linie um das, was die Wirtschaftsbosse wollen. Der einfache Bürger hat da schlechte Karten, einzig über Wahlen etwas zu bewirken...

    Und dann noch die Endlager (ich weiß wovon ich spreche, denn wir wohnen in nicht so weiter entfernung von der Asse!) Was da von Seiten der Politik gelogen wird, wenn es um die zahlreichen Krebs-Fälle geht!

    Es ist aber schon so, wie ich ja auch schrieb, daß die Herstellung der Solarmodule und anderen technischen Mittel zur Energiegewinnung immens energieaufwändig und auch teuer sind. Würden wir mehr überall einsparen, bräuchten wir nicht so viel Energie. Aber zur Umkehr ist eben niemand freiwillig bereit, das tut der Mensch bestenfalls dann, wenn er durch Naturkatastrophen mit brachialer Gewalt dazu gezwungen wird. Traurig aber wahr!

    Mir tun die Japaner unendlich leid und das was wir tun können von hier aus tun wir selbstverständlich.

    Liebe Grüße

  11. You had a fantastic experience in Japan. I'm sure that in your heart there are many emotion in this moment. But now, have you notices your friends? We must help them as we can.

  12. Lieve Mariette,

    Gelukkig dat het met deze mensen goed gaat. Ik kan mij voorstellen dat jij vol spanning op nieuws hebt gewacht. Het is toch verschrikkelijk wat daar gebeurd is...

    Ik vind dat je ook respect moet hebben voor andere landen en culturen, maar misschien komt dat omdat ik nu zelf in een ander land woon. Ik las dat jij walvisvlees had gegeten, hoe vond jij het? Wij hebben het 1x geproefd maar vonden het niet zo lekker.

    Fijne week,

  13. Hi Mariette,
    I am happy your friends are safe.That must have been a very interesting experience for you to go to Japan.
    I agree that Japanese people do set a good example for the rest of us.
    Over the past fifteen years we have enjoyed many visitors from Japan doing home stays and garden tours and we are always impressed by their politeness and enthusiasm.
    I pray they can rebuild and move forward.

    Take care,

  14. Hi Mariette,
    What a wonderful post and story of your experience in Japan.
    I so enjoyed all your pictures. You have such a big heart and such a giving wonderful lady. I loved seeing the welcome overhead on the highway.
    Understanding and visiting other cultures is very special. We had an exchange studio from Sweden for one year and it was an amazing time.

    Our prayers are with Japan each and everyday.

    Thank you for stopping by and your get well wishes.
    Good luck in my giveaway!

    Love to you dear friend,
    Celestina Marie

  15. Lieve Mariette,
    ich kann mir sehr gut deine Gefühle vorstellen; für dich ist Japan nicht nur ein Land "weit weit weg", sondern ein Land, in dem Freunde leben, ein Land in dem du gewesen bist. Der Gedanke, dass so vieles dort zerstört wurde, ist sehr, sehr traurig.Doch ich freue mich mit dir, dass deine Gast-Familie wohlbehalten ist und du endlich Nachricht bekommen hast!
    Alles Liebe, Traude
    PS: Oh, und du bist auf den Fotos immer enorm schick gekleidet!!!

  16. These pictures and your words are very impressive, Mariette. Priceless experiences!

    Did you see the super moon last Saturday night too? It made me think of Japan (all though the Japanese symbol means a sun).

    Have a lovely Monday xxxx

  17. Oh wow, dearest Mariette, I'm so impressed! You have been blessed with all these experiences of living in different countries. Your heart knows no geographical or cultural limits, because you are a good soul, always seeing beyond the facade, always helping others and promoting the goodness on everyone-- everywhere.

    I loved the story and the photos. And by the way, you always look so stylish. You are a beautiful, classy lady, with a big heart.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for your lovely comment.

    (((( hugs to you and Pieter )))))



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