Just after the earthquake, nearly everyone I spoke with said that they were fine and the only damages were broken dishes. About a week later I got the idea to collect the pieces for mosaics. But as soon as 10 days after the quake many friends I talked to said they had already sent them to the trash!

About 2 weeks after the quake I started to advertise my interest in collecting shards to anyone in the area, but sure enough, a large percentage of people had already sent them to the “Clean Center,” where non-burnable trash is recycled.

Discouraged but not willing to give up, I began calling Clean Centers in Tsukuba and Kasumigaura cities. They were more than willing to let me in to sort through trash, so I scooped up a volunteer and headed out there. The Tsukuba Clean Center had already ground the glass and ceramic into sand! Imagine my relief when a few days later we went to the other clean center and found several piles to dig through!

We found many broken dishes, beautiful colored glass, and some old dishes that people had thrown away. I think this stash, coupled with donations from people who weren’t so efficient in recycling their broken dishes, will be a great start.

In the future, we will need to have more collection drives and/or buy tiles to break in order to fulfill the demand for materials.

I’m very sorry that the mosaics cannot be created from actual debris in Tohoku, but perhaps people who make mosaics can include personal items or beloved broken things to make them more personal.

Hope to post some photos soon…


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