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Concern and Support for the People of Japan

I know this is a very difficult time of rescue and recovery from the destruction in Japan.  The incredible power of Nature once again reveals how small and fragile humans are.  What can people in the World Cafe do to support and assist those who are displaced?  Have we heard from the cafe in Japan?

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Comment by Bob Stilger on April 24, 2011 at 9:23pm

Hello Chris, wonderful to hear of your concern.

Japan is one of my places on the earth and I've been here for almost three weeks.  It is really an extraordinary time.  The Dialog community, of which the World Cafe Community is part, is alive and well and hosting conversations as opportunities present themselves.


I'm pretty involved in a number of systems here.  You can track some of what I am seeing at or subscribe to a list I am sending notes to several times a week at  Some stories of how this work has grown in Japan is at my website:


If you are moved to offer financial support for the work we're doing to convene Japan with dialog in order to create a new future, you can do so at


Best.  Bob

Comment by juanita brown on April 24, 2011 at 1:20pm
Hi Chris,
I'm sorry I hadn't seen this sooner to let you know of how the World Cafe and Art of Hosting communities have come together in support of our colleagues in Japan. Bob Stilger, who is a long time World Cafe steward who has lived and worked in Japan for many years, is now there and actively working to sense into what can be of most support from our communities as well as in collaboration with our World Cafe and Art of Hosting friends in Japan. You can reach Bob directly through his page here to learn more about what's unfolding, although I'm not sure where on this site he's posted his reflections. I'm going to link him to his page so that may help you get a better feeling as well.

The World Cafe community is engaged "on the ground" in huge variety of settings-- which the varied stories on StoryNet might help illuminate more clearly.

I look forward to meeting in person one day soon.

With warmest regards,
Comment by Chris Highland on March 22, 2011 at 9:18am
Quite interesting that a friend of a friend passed the exact same letter to me!  It's encouraging.  Hope there are others who tell similar stories.  Thanks.
Comment by Franis Engel on March 22, 2011 at 2:08am

Thought you might like to read the sorts of personal things that are going around. This is a letter from a friend of a friend, with details removed to protect identity. This is from a woman living in Sendai, Japan where she has lived for the past decade teaching English.

Hello My Lovely Family and Friends,

First I want to thank you so very much for your concern for me. I am
very Touched. I also wish to apologize for a generic message to you
all. But it seems The best way at the moment to get my message to you.

Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed
to have Wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is
even more worthy Of that name, I am now staying at a friend's home. We
share supplies like water, Food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined
up in one room, eat by candlelight, Share stories. It is warm,
friendly, and beautiful.

During the day we help each other clean up the mess in our homes.
People sit in Their cars, looking at news on their navigation screens,
or line up to get Drinking water when a source is open. If someone has
water running in their Home, they put out sign so people can come to
fill up their jugs and buckets.

Utterly amazingly where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in
lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an
earthquake strikes. People keep saying, "Oh, this is how it used to be
in the old days when everyone Helped one another."

Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck about every 15 minutes.
Sirens are Constant and helicopters pass overhead often.

We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for
half a Day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come
on. But all of
This is by area. Some people have these things, others do not. No one
has washed For several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much more
important concerns Than that for us now. I love this peeling away of
non-essentials. Living fully On the level of instinct, of intuition, of
caring, of what is needed for Survival, not just of me, but of the
entire group.

There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some
places, Yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun.
People lining up
For water and food, and yet a few people out walking their dogs. All
happening At the same time.

Other unexpected touches of beauty are first, the silence at night. No
cars. No One out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered
with stars. I Usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is
filled. The mountains are Sendai are solid and with the crisp air we
can see them silhouetted against the Sky magnificently.

And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful. I come back to my shack
to check On it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity
is on, and I find Food and water left in my entranceway. I have no idea
from whom, but it is
There. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking to see if
everyone is OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they need
help. I see no signs Of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.

They tell us we can expect aftershocks, and even other major quakes,
for Another month or more. And we are getting constant tremors, rolls,
shaking, Rumbling. I am blessed in that I live in a part of Sendai that
is a bit Elevated, a bit more solid than other parts. So, so far this
area is better off Than others. Last night my friend's husband came in
from the country, bringing Food and water. Blessed again.

Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is
indeed an Enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over
the world right at This moment. And somehow as I experience the events
happening now in Japan, I Can feel my heart opening very wide. My
brother asked me if I felt so small Because of all that is happening. I
don't. Rather, I feel as part of something Happening that much larger
than myself. This wave of birthing (worldwide) is Hard, and yet

Thank you again for your care and Love of me,

With Love in return, to you all


Comment by Chris Highland on March 21, 2011 at 11:06am
Thanks Franis. I think you picked up on my main issue of concern, and not a word on WC about the situation. I of course realize that people in Japan have their hands full, though not all are in the direct disaster zone (and I have heard back from two people there). Facebook is ok, but not my usual choice for connecting. Guess that's one reason I joined WC as an alternative. Maybe not the best site for on the ground current events. Be well.
Comment by Franis Engel on March 21, 2011 at 2:55am
BTW, I have found that Facebook is a much better place to check in with those who possibly have been out of touch. If someone is able to get a message out and they are social networkers, Facebook is one of the first places they post that they are OK.
Comment by Franis Engel on March 21, 2011 at 2:53am

Yes, I'm concerned about this too. I am having a difficult time going about my daily routines without imagining what I would be doing if the tables were turned and I was the one having survived so much devastation.

Probably being in touch with the World Cafe is the last thing people think about who are figuring out how to keep warm, get food and water and find a place to bathe without power, shelter or resources. This is my guess that much more time will be required to go by until the Japanese World Cafe group or some of the people in the group will be in touch. Be patient.

As to what people who frequent this site can do - probably donating to a charity who are already there and offering support on the ground now would make the most sense at this time. But I guess support is welcomed whenever it gets there, no matter who is sponsoring it.

Comment by Chris Highland on March 19, 2011 at 1:34pm

OK.  I'll comment on my own blogpost, again. . .

Seems strange that an "online community" has nothing to say about people suffering in Japan.  Could it be that we would rather comment on comments, have discussions about discussion and talk more about talk?  So, I ask again, has anyone in this "world cafe" heard from the group in Japan?  (This may be my last post on TWC).   

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