Reiko Suzuki

Jessie Hellmann

Reiko Suzuki tries to persuade her family to move away from the disaster in Japan every chance she gets.

“Of course, every day I get on the phone or Internet to talk to them and I do ask them to come over here, but no they don’t,” she said. “I understand they have a job to maintain and they have homes to live in. It is hard to move away.”

Suzuki is a teacher at the Japanese school in Evansville, and is from Yokohoma, a city 30 miles south of Tokyo, Japan.

Because she cannot physically travel to Japan to help, she has taken the initiative to help out at home. She is involved with many local efforts to aid Japan including a project called “10,000 Cranes for Japan”. The project revolves around the ancient Japanese legend that anyone who makes 1,000 paper cranes will be granted a wish by a crane.

“It’s kind of symbolizing that you’re not alone,” Suzuki said. “I feel better participating in fundraisers, but before I found the strength, anything I did pretty much depressed me: going to the store, getting some groceries and cooking at home, even smiling and taking the dog for a walk.”

She said when she thinks about radiation and all of the victims in shelters in Japan, it breaks her heart. Suzuki said if Japan is going to recover any time soon, they will need to accept help from other countries.

“This is just characteristic of our nationality,” she said. “We are not good at asking for help. They do need tremendous help to recover from such a horrible tragedy.”