Thursday, April 28, 2005



One of the stacks from the 1999 Tokyo project during 12 days of collection.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Environmental Memory

I went to an inspiring lecture by David Suzuki (, renown scientist, environmentalist, broadcaster and author at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco tonight. When asked about where he got his motivation to do his work on the environment, he said, "I feel desperate." And then he added, " We are not leaving the same planet for our grandchildren."

Mr. Suzuki told us about how, as a young person, he and his family went fishing and could catch fish within 10 minutes of throwing out the line. Now, he said, there are no longer salmon derbies, festivals around catching salmon, because there aren't any around. There are no more fish like the way he experienced it as a child. The thing is that there also seems to be no "environmental memories," no clear picture of what the environment was like for our elders. These stories are not being told and passed on.

I remember when I learned that almost all the trees in the Tahoe area are second and third growth because they were clearcut between 1860-90. There were historical photographs on the ferry boat showing the logs piled up in the lake. I was shocked to realize that the trees I grew up seeing were so young. I also took note of how the Washoe people, who hold Tahoe as a sacred place, mourned. And, of course, they too were brutalized. But they still retain their environmental memories.

I am thinking of how waribashi production consumes millions of trees every year. US junk mail consumes 100 million trees a year. I don't think I know how to hold a picture of that many trees in my mind. I wonder if I will get to see it.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Waribashi anxiety

Hello everyone! Its so late its morning. Just got the first couple of pages of the website up. Here's my first blog entry.

I have anxiety about disposable chopsticks. In 1999, before I went to Japan, they were just stats, shocking ones and huge numbers, but still just numbers. Then I saw how many used ones I could collect that were going straight to the landfill. Eleven little noodle shops in 12 days. 15,000+ waribashi. Here is a photo of one of the stacks.

So now, The Waribashi Project will be launching collection on a much bigger scale within the next few days. So stay tuned...