There is a Japanese version of Facebook called Mixi.com, where Japanese mothers in Philadelphia found each other to form playgroups for their toddlers.
“It’s just a party!” said Kai Icheuchi-Feldman, 4. “Just like a party with no cake. And banana chips.”
While Kai plays, his mother huddles with about a dozen other moms around the kitchen table, organizing a fundraising blitz: a bake sale on Thursday at Temple Law School, a flea market over the weekend at Rittenhouse Square, and another bake sale next week at Independence Mall.
As the world watches Japan struggle daily with disaster, these Japanese expatriates are doing what they can–having a bake sale for disaster relief.
“Many of us–including me–had been planning to go back to Japan this summer,” said Kaori Icheuchi-Feldman. “Now the government announced the water is not safe for babies. That’s one of the things we talk about on Mixi.com.”
These mothers originally banded together because they want their children to stay connected with the Japanese language and culture. Now some feel disconnected because of the conflicting news reports coming out of Japan regarding radiation leaks.
“The media is not always right–so we don’t know what’s happening there,” said Maoki Ravenal, who has been living in Philadelphia for a year with her husband and 2 1/2 year-old-daughter . “I can’t trust anything I hear.”
Ravenal says the only help they can offer their home country is sending money to the Red Cross. The bake sales and flea market of Japanese goods are meant to bolster those funds.
Times and locations:
Japanese bazaar and flea market with Japanese goods:
Saturday, March 26, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square
Bake sale at the Bourse Building
Thursday, March 31, and Friday, April 1, noon to 2 p.m.
Flea market with Japanese goods
Sunday, April 10, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Horticultural Center, Fairmount Park