March 22nd, 2011

Ganbaré! - Coco&Me - coco and me - Japan Earthquake and tsunami relief badge in red with jpanese text


(Don’t give up Japan, go for it East-North)


First of all, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to those of you who have donated so far. Currently, as at 22nd of March, we have raised $3,160!!!!!! For the UK readers amongst you, that’s £1,943. I thank you for being so generous. I also would like to thank those of you who have blogged, tweeted, facebooked, or sent mass emails to your friends about the relief. When I set about organizing this, I didn’t expect half as much as it has achieved. And it’s all down to the generosity you have shown.


That said, the call for funds is far from over.

Currently, even after ten days since the earthquake, people in the worst affected area are still without heat, electricity, running water, regular meals or for some, no word from their loved ones. The official death toll is currently 8,277, with 12,272 still missing. Nearly 500,000 people are homeless. Japan is still very much in it’s urgent state. They are still battling to gain control over the dangerous situation at the Fukushima nuclear reactor. Worries are abound especially for harmful levels of radiation. I well-up when I see children tested for radio-activity by those masked & suited workers, it really feels unreal. When I hear that some have resorted to drinking swimming pool water & pond water…, I can’t believe it is happening in Japan.


Japan is facing a herculean task to recover & rebuild. But I know that the Japanese people have the remarkable capacity to face natural calamity stoically. In Japan’s time of great need, please let’s continue to do our best to help!


I now have a donation box at my stall. It was my first time to do it last week, & it has raised $51.68. The generosity that Broadway Market goers have shown is amazing ~ thank you!

. - Coco&Me - coco and me - Japan Earthquake and tsunami relief badge in red with jpanese text


This weekend, my friend H successfully persuaded a badge maker to make 1000 of these badges for free. The text on these tiny badges (it’s a size of a £1 coin) says “Ganbaré Nippon. Ganbaré Touhoku.”. It means something like “Don’t give up Japan, go for it East-North”. I love the simple design of just a red circle. Pin this dinky thing to a plain coloured top & it looks very stylish. I’ll be selling 50 of these for £1 each at the market stall next week, & if they sell well I might order more from her.


The Japanese word “ganbaré” is one of my all-time favorite words. It’s a difficult one to translate in to English though ~ there doesn’t seem to be a direct translation. It could mean any of these below, it just varies on the context the word is used:

try hard

hang in there / hang tough

good luck

be stronger

stick with it

do your best

don’t give up


As you can see, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, but it does have a core theme – to wish someone well & to send strength their way. Apparently, the Chinese translation to ganbaré is ‘Jiayou’, written in these symbols: 加油. First symbol means ‘add’, the second means ‘fuel’. (wiki) I like that they put those two symbols together like that. It captures the spirit of the message well.


Like I say, ganbaré as a word is special for me.

When I was about 10, I had to do a swimming test at school. It was to swim two lengths without any aid. I was one of the last ones that could do it & the pressure was on. I was so determined to do it that I came up with a repetitive song in my head “Ganbaré, ganbaré, Ta! ma! mi!”. Again & again, non-stop I repeated those words until the very end. And with that, I managed to complete. ~ Ever since then, whenever I face challenges, I magic that phrase in my head. It’s become my very own special phrase to help me zone in.


Finally, I’d like to share with you another phrase that is close to my heart. It is 一期一会 (Ichigo ichie). Literal translation is “One encounter, one chance”. It means that one must approach every encounter like as if you will never get that chance again, so excel & do the very best. It also means to treasure the moment you have.


I just want to thank you dearest readers for being so kind to donate for Japan. I think it is so amazing that you have answered to my call for help & donated on that page… Am I lucky to have you guys visiting this little blog? Yes I am.


Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tamami xxx


  1. Wow, you did amazing, Tamami ♡

    I almost cried when I saw the front page of The Independent saying がんばれ、日本。がんばれ、東北。The image has been passed on to many people in Japan! I will add some fuel myself too ;-)

    Comment by jun - March 22, 2011 6:20 am

  2. Jun cha~n!! Arigato~desu. Genki? How are you? I saw your biscuits on your blog! How delicious looking – it is also very you! ^^

    Comment by Tamami - March 22, 2011 8:26 am

  3. Well done Tamami and hang in there. Recovery is always slow but steady. Dont lose heart. Japan will emerge stronger from this.

    Comment by Swati - March 22, 2011 11:45 am

  4. Swati, thanks! xxx and yes, you’re right! ^^xxx

    Comment by tamami - March 22, 2011 11:58 am

  5. congratulations! the buttons are a lovely idea :)

    Comment by petoskystone - March 22, 2011 5:50 pm

  6. Petoskystone, THANK YOU!!!! And I’m glad you like the buttons! :)

    Comment by tamami - March 22, 2011 6:24 pm

  7. Hi Tamami! We did a bake sale at work on Monday to raise funds for Japan and altogether we made £400 which we’re donating to the Red Cross. It’s not a huge amount but we wanted to help in some way. I blogged about it so come by and have a look if you want (I’ll email you my blog url cos I don’t like visitors… very strange i know…)

    Those badges are great. I want to give my Japanese sensei one, she was very upset during class the week after the earthquake. Perhaps I’ll swing by your stall soon if I can make some time!

    Jan x x x

    Comment by Jan - March 23, 2011 10:54 am

  8. Hi hi Jan!!! Woohoo!!! Nice one Jan on the cake sale! And the Jp flag idea? It made me smile^^! V. creative. – As for wanting your blog to be private, I totally understand! I guess you’d feel more free to write to write what ever you want right? ^^ Let me know if you ever want me to keep a badge aside for you.
    All the best on this sunny day, t xx

    Comment by tamami - March 23, 2011 4:20 pm

  9. hihi Tamami,
    many congrats on the fundraising!! hope it continues to grow :)
    thanks also for keeping the page going….its been an eventful week for me but i was thinking of you all the time and finally got my act together today and donated, yay!! :)
    take care, xoxo

    Comment by little chan - March 23, 2011 7:16 pm

  10. Little chan! Hello~!! Thank you for donating for Japan! I hope all is well!? Warmest regards, Tamami xx

    Comment by tamami - March 23, 2011 7:54 pm

  11. Tamami~My heart broke as I read your previous post…but I am heartened by the spirit of the Japanese people. Is it possible to mail one of the beautiful pins to the states? I would cover all costs and then some…I’d proudly wear it and translate for everyone who asked. I have been out of town, but now that I am back, I am donating on your page. Thanks so much for doing this and your continued efforts. Love to you~Diane

    Comment by Diane - March 24, 2011 4:29 pm

  12. Hello Diane!!
    First of all, thank you for your kind donation!!! What you say about the Japanese spirit, this event really re-confirmed what I am always proud of, how strong we can be, actually, as well as the spirit of all the kind people from around the world, who have reached out to help. We live in a wonderful world don’t we! – Re: badge, I’ll be very happy to send it to you – free – consider it a gift since you’ve let me use your photograph & also for giving me sound advice! Besides, postage should be cheap anyhow! Please email me your address. You’ve still got my email address right? If not, let me know, & I’ll send you another email! t xx

    Comment by tamami - March 24, 2011 6:41 pm

  13. SENT! xx

    Comment by tamami - March 28, 2011 1:25 pm

  14. hello tamami-san,

    it’s wonderful and encouraging to see your fundraising going strong – there is so much we need to do now and things are overwhelming, but we must ganbaru and pave our way to re-build new nippon…

    on another note, i thought i’d write you regarding something you mentioned in the comment you left on my blog a little while ago, but i couldn’t find your email address here. would it be okay if you sent me a quick note to my address so i can email you in return? thank you!

    best of luck with your initiatives – thank you for doing it all. cheers!

    Comment by chika - March 28, 2011 5:36 pm

  15. Hello Chika san!!!! How wonderful to hear from you!!!! I’ll email you later tonight!!! Thank you!!!! ^^
    Tamami x

    Comment by tamami - March 28, 2011 7:04 pm

  16. Hello Tamami!
    I just received the beautiful pin in the mail- how quickly it arrived! Thank you for the sweet card…loved how it was “personalized” inside!
    Thank you so much! I will wear it proudly!

    ~Diane xxx

    Comment by Diane - April 3, 2011 12:20 am

  17. Diane!! Oh I’m so glad it arrived in one piece!! I didn’t have bubble wrap & was not sure if the tissue would do…! And yeah, my daughter wanted to join in… xx

    Comment by tamami - April 3, 2011 8:23 am

  18. Hello, Tamami!

    I’m a big fan of your blog. I love baking! Congratulations on raising so much money for Japan relief efforts!

    I’m a Japanese-American music therapist, and I’m helping out my music therapy colleague Yuji Igari in Sendai. If you could pass along this info about our fundraiser, I would truly appreciate it. The link to our Facebook page is here:

    Mary Hayward and I are hosting Kenji’s Light of Hope, an online art sale. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to The Igari Music Therapy Research Center, supporting their mission to provide music therapy to individuals with developmental disabilities and the elderly in the quake-stricken area of Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.

    Our Etsy art sale will open on April 25, 2011. Drop by at

    Featured artists, musicians, and crafters include: Alice Cohen, Phil Franklin, Sam Henderson, Tim Hensley, Emily Hochman, Donanne Kasikci, Nigey Lennon, Naoki Mitsuse, Celeste Moreno, Marisela Norte, Richard Sala, Christine Shields, and Yoshiko Yeto. Buy some amazing art and help the survivors of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Please spread the word to all your friends and family!

    Igari MTRC is creating a project site; we will post a link to this when it is ready. Follow us on Twitter and Tumblr for updates on the art sale:!/KenjisLight

    Comment by Yoshiko Yeto - April 16, 2011 4:23 am

  19. Hello Yoshiko san! Sorry for the late reply – Your comment went into the ‘consideration’ pile because of the links!
    I’ll spread the word to my friends! good luck!!!!! xx

    Comment by tamami - April 18, 2011 3:52 pm

  20. Konbanwa, Tamami-san! Thank you so much for posting the info about the Kenji’s Light of Hope art sale for the Igari Music Therapy Research Center in Miyagi Prefecture. Please do tell all your friends about the fundraiser. Our Etsy store opens on 4/25, and we will have some truly beautiful pieces. Here is the flyer: Also, Yuji Igari made a wonderful video about how his clients with disabilities were affected by the earthquake and tsunami:

    Tamami-san, I hope to visit your market stall one day and buy lots and lots of your marvelous desserts! In the meantime, I will just have to settle for trying out your recipes. Thank you for your incredible efforts to support Japan relief efforts. Gambaro Nihon!

    Comment by Yoshiko Yeto - April 23, 2011 4:58 am

  21. Yoshiko san, good luck with the etsy shop!!!! Plus the fund raising!! Ouen shitemasu! xx

    Comment by tamami - April 25, 2011 8:38 pm


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