Crochet in the Land of the Rising Sun

The Sendai earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, will not be forgotten any time soon, and as I viewed the images of the earthquake and the resulting fires and tsunami afterward, it was difficult for me to fathom the magnitude of the devastation and destruction.

Having grown up in California, I have vague recollections of teachers directing us to safety during both fire and earthquake drills.

For fire drills we lined up and went outside, usually away from the building and toward a fence. For earthquake drills, we moved our chairs and got under our desks. Clearly, had their been an earthquake of this magnitude with the resulting fires and tsunami, we would have been woefully under prepared for the sort of disaster that so many people faced today.

In the face of this devastation and loss, I wondered how the people of Japan will move forward from this moment and the circumstances they now face. I also thought about the contributions that Japanese artists and artisans have made to the world aesthetic and the country’s long and storied history of excellence and tradition, and I certainly hope that the rituals and routines of the past help them to build a bridge to the future.

I have never face a moment as difficult as the moment now faced by so many thousands of people in Japan, but in many of the difficult moments I have faced since I learned to crochet, I have found the ritual and routine of my craft to be very soothing, and my personal crochet aesthetic is strongly informed by the contributions of many talented Japanese crochet designers.

Boo-Boo the tiger (seen here in Times Square with Hello Kitty) owes his existence to the Japanese crochet artists who created the amigurumi aesthetic and to my youngest son who kept after me to not only design the tiger, but to complete it:

crochetbug, crochet tiger, amigurumi tiger, nyc, times square, crochetbug
Boo-Boo with Hello Kitty outside the Swatch store in Times Square

My current go-to bag for errands (done in what I think of as the Dunkin’ Donuts colors) is based on a free pattern I found at the online home of the the Japanese craft retailer, Pierrot Yarns:

granny square crochet bag, crochetbug, granny square, crochet purse, crochet tote, crochet bag, granny square bag, granny square tote
My crochet bag enjoying a cup of coffee, cream only

The fun flower bag which captures the exuberance and joy of Narumi Ogawa’s designs from her delightfully titled book, Mr. Funky’s Super Wonderful Crochet:

crochet bag with crochet circles
Your favorite you flower bag

It will take a long time for the people of Japan to recover and move forward from this disaster, but I hope that their culture and traditions (including crochet) help sustain them in the many long days ahead.