New mural “Stillness” by Yu Yu Shiratori at MSA Annex in Tucson

MSA Annex is at 267 S. Avenida del Convento, west of the I-10 (between Congress St. and Cushing Ave.). This mural is on the north facing metal fence around the Annex.

“Stillness” by Yu Yu Shiratori, courtesy of the artist
“S t i l l n e s s” explores the moral foundations on which our society is built upon: care, fairness, loyalty, authority and sanctity. When we actively choose to pause amidst a difficult situation and to investigate these elements within ourselves, we begin to create room for change. When we see the discomfort, prejudices, contradictions we hold within ourselves, we are better suited to understand how it shows up in the world. A hand that plants seeds can nurture generations of beautiful growth, yet the same hand is capable of neglect and destruction. Society constantly oscillates between social growth and regression, and as individuals we have the ability to practice stillness in movement.”

Yu Yu painted this mural during the hot summer month of June, 2020, during the COVID 19 pandemic.

“Stillness” mural at MSA Annex, with “A” Mountain in background, courtesy of the artist

1000 Cranes, 1000 Dreams project at Yume Japanese Gardens started May 6

The 1,000 Cranes, 1,000 Dreams Project

UPDATE 6/28/20: All 1000 Cranes folded and donated, thanks to Tucson community, during COVID Spring/Summer 2020.

“Yume has launched a signal community project to provide hope and healing to hearts frayed by the coronavirus. It’s called 1,000 Cranes, 1,000 Dreams.

The project takes its name from the meaning of Yume in English – “dream” – and from the graceful and elegant Japanese crane, said in fable to live for 1,000 years.

Fruit of its mythically long life, the Japanese crane enjoys hope in a happy future. Our mission is to instill a similar healing confidence in all who participate in 1,000 Cranes, 1,000 Dreams. Our means to achieve this lies in the Japanese tradition of Senbazuru, according to which those who devote time and effort to make origami cranes see their most heartfelt wishes granted.  

We invite you to join 1,000 Cranes, 1,000 Dreams, to shrink the darkness of disaster and brighten the light of your well-being.

To take part, we ask that you and as many of your family members and friends as you may persuade each make at least one origami crane and contribute it to Yume. This is not an amusement to distract you from a perilous pandemic. Rather, it’s a profound act of love and generosity toward others, and of authentic care for yourself. You’ll find that participation in a meaningful collective creative achievement opens an avenue to personal restoration for you.

Link here for video instructions on how to make your crane:

Birds made of any paper without images can be mailed to the Gardens at 2130 N. Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ, 85712, or dropped in a box inside the parking lot gate.

When Yume reopens – we’re temporarily closed in the interest of public health – your origami birds will be displayed with hundreds more all across the Gardens. You’ll see cranes fluttering in our wisteria and pines, perching on boulders, flocking on bamboo gates and fences, and flying from stone lanterns to stone water basins. 

More about Senbazuru and the Japanese crane

Strings of origami cranes are often hung in Japanese temples and shrines. Offered to friends, a collection of cranes implies a wish for their prosperity and good health, and given to newlyweds, it expresses desire for their lasting happiness. Because the Japanese crane mates for life and guards its nest with especial vigilance, it symbolizes conjugal devotion and fidelity, as well as protectiveness of family. This has won it wide use in Japan as a decorative motif on wedding kimonos and nuptial sweets.

Feathered mainly in snow-white plumage and with a red crown, Japan’s native crane likewise incarnates purity and beauty. Able to balance perfectly on one leg and yet react with lightning agility to snare a frog or fish or escape danger, it similarly models emotional control and vital energy, qualities that made it a common crest on warriors’ helmets in the age of samurai, who saw in the bird inspiration for loyalty, honor and strength. And with a nearly six-foot-long span of strong and sheltering wings, in Buddhist circles the Japanese crane figures as a protector of the weak and transporter of souls to the highest levels of enlightenment.

Lastly, the Japanese crane is a disciplined, powerful flyer, and in flocks it wheels across the sky as member of a purposively moving community of supportive and loyal companions. What better bird could there be to embody the nature of 1,000 Cranes, 1,000 Dreams? Join us, and find wings of your own to loft you to hope and healing.”

Otaku Nation Japanese hobby shop moved to new location

Japanese hobby import shop Otaku Nation has moved during this COVID Spring outbreak to a larger location at 2900 E. Broadway Blvd., Suite 134 (in middle of the shopping complex, on southside of Broadway, west of Country Club Rd.) They are open for curbside pick up and delivery, just call (520) 207- 6885. Check their website for Japanese imported items, collectible cards, stuffed toys, etc. Former address was 3919 E. Pima St.

UPDATE: Otaku Nation re-opening on May 8, with strict rules such as mask wearing for all customers & staff, limited time in store, social distancing. Read more on their FB page:

From their website:

“Otaku Nation is a hobby shop where you can learn about tons of different engaging hobbies from Japan! We carry all sorts of items here, from collectible figures to home goods, wall art to art supplies, model kits, manga, anime, board games and more!”

Otaku Nation AZ logo

Children’s Day doll display at Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures cancelled

Prior to this coronavirus outbreak in Arizona, the Mini Time Museum of Miniatures, 4455 E. Camp Lowell, had scheduled their annual Children’s Day doll display for April 7 to May 17, 2020. However the Tucson Mayor’s E.O. has postponed non-essential businesses to stay closed till April 17. AZ Governor then issued a new proclamation for business closures till April 30. I just got notification that this exhibit is unfortunately now cancelled.

Regardless, you an still fly your koinobori (koi wind kites) on May 5, 2020 to celebrate Children’s Day and Boy’s Day in your family. Honor the boys and children in your family, Japanese style even during this unprecedented time. Happy Children’s Day/Boy’s Day 2020.

koinobori on display, to fly on May 5 for Children’s Day/Boy’s Day