7th Year Anniversary of the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: My Quest for Healing Lead to a Music Video Collaboration.
It all started with one of life's setbacks.
In September 2015 I lost a major source of income, and began looking into digital marketing. I bought a few programs and followed the instructions diligently. Despite my best effort, the more I learned, the more there was to learn. When nearly two years passed, a friend told me I should teach Japanese. He was sure I would be successful. I once made good money teaching Japanese, but that was when there were no free apps. Today, people can learn a language online by themselves. Teaching my native language on the Internet seemed to be the last straw to overcome my current life's setback. The good news was that I had at least accumulated some knowledge of digital marketing which included social media. In July of 2017, I began the journey by creating my business page on Facebook and started posing daily Japanese lessons. I knew I was good at teaching Japanese but had no idea how this would turn out.
Magical moments happen as a result of trust and patience in uncertainty.
How could a music-video collaboration by a language teacher and student on Facebook happen? It happened at one of those times when you don't quite know where your life is taking you. When you follow your inner guidance faithfully and take action everyday, eventually your life starts to take better shape. Suddenly, something grand happens as a result of diligent work.
When I started my Facebook page on teaching Japanese, as my last hope to turn around my life's challenge, I knew I would post something inspiring and educational DAILY. I also wanted to include Japanese culture as well as the language. I wanted to be present as a teacher to answer questions from students. It was a lot of work. As I got more involved and started to see students engaging from around the world, I realized I was on a mission for my country, educating and supporting those who love Japan. At this point, I saw a divine plan of my role in this lifetime unfolding in front of my eyes.
God works in mysterious ways. (Self-discipline is watched over.)
We hear this expression often as a cliche, but when we experience it, we realize it may be true. We are always where we need to be for a much larger orchestrated picture of life. And your life is no longer just yours.
I was born multi-talented, especially in music and language. I am a performing artist as well as a healer. When Japan was hit by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, I wanted to fly to Tohoku and volunteer. I wished to go around the shelters and sing for those who were in deep sadness of loss…loss of homes, loss of belongings, and loss of their loved ones. Mortified that I couldn't, I realized how much I loved my country and cared about her people. Since then, the quest for my life's mission has been for Japan and has not stopped. I asked myself "if the opportunity to sing for the people in Japan comes, am I ready?" The answer was not 100% yes, so I renewed my commitment to my vocal gift and began an improved daily practice. In the wake of the 5th anniversary of the tragic event, I created my YouTube channel dedicated to Japan. I also created a new website expressing my mission for Japan (yukikotakemoto.simdif.com) so I could be found by those who want to collaborate.
While being a guiding force through the language teaching, an interesting conversation between a student and I began by texting. He introduced himself as a composer and lover of Japan. At that time all he knew about me was a teacher of Japanese language. Being a musician myself I was curious to hear his music. I asked if he had a YouTube channel. He did. When I clicked the link and heard his latest composition, I found I liked his style. I could imagine myself choreographing modern dance to it. I wrote him a compliment and shared the link to my YouTube channel as a vocalist not expecting any special feedback. To my surprise, the next day, I received a long response from him telling me how he was moved by my videos for Japan and that my voice was touching his heart to tears. I was humbled and thought maybe he had not heard many singers. I thanked him and went on with my day.
A few months later he contacted me to share his new composition. He wrote it to help deal with a difficult personal situation. He wanted me to contribute my poem in both English and Japanese to complete his work. The music started with a quiet sadness and the sadness grew, but ended with a powerful triumph. It was a very profound piece of orchestrated music. As I listened to it over and over, the words that came out from my heart were about healing the hearts of the Japanese tsunami survivors who lost their loved ones in the disaster. I could see in my mind's eyes that his song would perfectly fit with video footage of Japanese people going through the hardships yet rising once again, like a phoenix from the ashes. We exchanged our similar thoughts. It was mid February. The anniversary of March 11th was approaching. I expressed my wish to create a special tribute video and send it to Japan on March 10th. As I submitted my poem to him I also shared the work previously done that was similar to what I envisioned. He was touched by it and expressed his resolve to do deep research and get back to me.
Imagination is the true magic carpet.
- Norman Vincent Peale
Magic moments of manifesting an idea under divine inspiration
We only had three weeks. He was in Algeria and I was in New York. I had no idea how I could manifest what I saw in my mind in such a short time. But I felt it was important to set the idea in motion. I kept practicing my voiceover and teaching myself how to record my voice onto my computer. A few days passed. I received a text from him. He wrote how excited he was to complete a video with his music, and all his friends liked it. There was a link for me to click. I didn't know he could make a video so quickly. I was nervous but anticipated being moved. I sat down, took a deep breath, and tapped the video play button on my iPad. Soon after the beautiful music began, I gasped when I saw my name against a background of beautiful scenery of Japan. As the video continued to unfold, showing images of the earthquake and tsunami and the people affected, my empathy turned into an experience of despair. My heart kept pouring grief and I couldn't do anything but cry. Due to the beautiful music, there was a sense of peace and beauty. The exhilarating effect of the composition led to a feeling of triumph as I experienced the corresponding footage. It was the most astonishing music video I ever saw. I could not stop my tears from the beginning to the end. The footage used is the excerpts from the videos previously shared on the internet. When I checked to see the originals, there was no comparison to the highly tuned artistic skill of music video editing that his work exhibited.
Now the poem to be added was my message of consolation and hope for the survivors. I had to figure out where each word fit in the image of the video and the music. All the footage selected was a perfect fit with my poem. I had technical challenges but was satisfied with my third recording with Garage Band. I sent it over to be mixed to the music video. This is not all we needed to do. There was more. He was a student at a university with limited internet access and a demanding curriculum to follow. I took charge of translation and creation of subtitles in both English and Japanese. After he edited the subtitles in, he had me "ok" each caption by showing me the screenshots one by one. We did this all by texting while I was working at an office job. Once the collaborative video was finally done, I needed to create an introduction video along with my greetings to the Japanese audience. I had to practice my script, create subtitles in two languages, and then learn and use new editing skills to make the video the way I wanted. We diligently worked days and nights for three weeks. I had to stay up overnight to edit my intro video. Finally it was uploaded to my Facebook timeline at 6:40 am on March 10th, which is 8:40 pm in Japan, the night before March 11th.
I am not an expert in social media, I only use Facebook and Youtube. I knew how to advertise on Facebook but not on YouTube. I tried it but YouTube declined my ad. I spent $100 to boost (advertise) my video post on Facebook to the Tohoku and Tokyo areas (affected by the disaster.) In my Japanese greetings and the introduction to our collaborated video, Rising Sun, viewers are guided to click the link to go to YouTube. Not many people actually clicked, but my boosted post reached over 20,000 people in Japan with 10,880 video views and 25 shares. This was great, but the sad part was that very few people in Tohoku saw it. Most viewers were in Tokyo. I learned that many people who went through the disaster avoid watching videos that remind them of the event.
When losing your loved ones it takes years to heal. That is why I wanted to create this video. Our purpose of this collaboration was to send our love and healing to those who still suffer, and we also wanted the world to remember what Japan went through. I hope someday the survivors regain the courage to watch the Rising Sun. On a larger scale, the video is for everyone. There is a beautiful message in it for all. Here are some of the comments we received:
" こんにちは/こんばんは.. I just want to express my gratitude for what you did. I really love your video tribute. As I watched it yesterday I couldn't help but cry. People of Japan are a real treasure, strong mind with a heart of gold. I sincerely congratulate you for making this beautiful video. It inspires us to realize that once you fall you can always stand up." - Ann Dejaresco
" I can't stop watching your tribute video to the 7th anniversary of the earthquake! So beautiful! " - Christopher Williams
" I watched your video again. It was such a difficult experience for Japan. You presented it in such a beautiful way. I think many, many more people should see it. Kudos to you and Madjid for a creation well done." - Dotti Anita Taylor
" I really loved the video. It was sad and peaceful at the same time. Thank you so much for making the video. I think all of you did a fantastic job. I have watched it about 20 times. Although what happened to Japan is so very sad, you put this together with very good taste and pride~~ Thank you for that! " - Mary DeBernard
Magic is something you make
It was a magical three weeks. An idea from the spiritual realm was ready to be brought out to physical existence and was calling for our hands to help bring it to life. All creative expressions start with an idea. It is our duty as humans to undertake the task, by following inner guidance and taking action, and to manifest it into a tangible form for the benefit of all.
Please watch the next two videos to experience the results of our magical collaboration.
Yukiko's greeting and introduction to the Rising Sun video
The Rising Sun
Thank you for watching. We'd appreciate your comments.
© 2018 Yukiko Takemoto