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Message from Venetia


Dear friends in Japan,

I would like to tell you about "Peace one day."

It was founded in 1999 by Jeremy Gilley. Jeremy is an actor, turned film maker who led a campaign to establish an annual day of cease fire and non violence around the world. He founded Peace one day, a nonprofit organization. His objective was to simply institute a day of peace around the world on the 21st September every year.

In 2013 approximately 280 million people in 198 countries were aware of Peace day. This has resulted in many people behaving more peacefully on that day.I think this is a very simple idea that we should also have in Japan.

It would be so wonderful for everyone to have a day when people would promise to be nice to each other in the family, at schools and in the work place.This organization is impartial and independent of any government, politics, corporations or religions.

I think it helps people to realize how wonderful it is, when everyone surrounding them is trying to be peaceful just for one day. A day when there is no violence, a day of understanding, a day of peace in each family around the world.When I first heard of this "Peace One day", it made me smile and want to tell friends and family about enjoying a day of harmony. Even it's for just one day, it may help people to want to continue.

If you think this is a good idea, please pass this message on for me.

Best wishes to you all,

Venetia

P.S. Maybe September 21st, Peace day in Japan could become a public holiday!



Peace One Day

Jeremy Gilley is an actor turned filmmaker, who in the late 1990s became preoccupied with questions about the fundamental nature of humanity and the issue of peace. He decided to explore these through the medium of film, and specifically, to create a documentary following his campaign to establish an annual day of ceasefire and non-violence.

In 1999, Jeremy founded Peace One Day, a non-profit organisation, and in 2001 Peace One Day's efforts were rewarded when the member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the first ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on 21 September - Peace Day.Peace One Day's objective is to institutionalise Peace Day 21 September, making it a day that is self-sustaining, an annual day of global unity, a day of intercultural cooperation on a scale that humanity has never known.

To support this goal, and inspired by a 70% recorded reduction in violent incidents on Peace Day 2008 in Afghanistan (source: United Nations Department of Safety and Security), Jeremy launched series of Peace One Day coalitions, each with a lead partner: the NGO Coalition; the 'Reducing Domestic Violence' Coalition; the Student Coalition; the Faith Coalition; the Media Coalition; the Corporate Coalition; and the Schools' Network.

In 2012 Jeremy approached global consultancy firm McKinsey & Company to support Peace One Day in analysing the results of Peace Day that year. This process resulted in a report that found, across the world, approximately 280 million people in 198 countries were aware of Peace Day 2012. For Peace Day 2013, due to activation on the day by every sector of society around the world, McKinsey & Company recorded a 68% increase in the number of those aware of the day - that's 470 million people. Of that number, approximately 1-2% (4-8 million) behaved more peacefully in their own lives as a result, improving the world for thousands of others.

In 2014 the Peace One Day Report supported by McKinsey & Company found that over 1 billion people were exposed to Peace Day messages. Of those exposed, 610 million are now aware of the day, with an estimated 10 million people behaving more peacefully on the day as a result.

This progress has created a solid foundation for taking the message of Peace Day to 3 billion people by 2016. Through our own initiatives and collaborations with various parties, Peace One Day continues to encourage organisations and individuals take specific actions to reduce violence around the theme: Who Will You Make Peace With?

In 2014, due to the generous support of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Peace One Day launched a 3-year project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes region of Africa for Peace Day, 21 September. The goal of project is to raise awareness of Peace Day and encourage all sectors of society in the region to stand together in the name of peace on 21 September. We hope to see a significant, measurable reduction in violence in the region on Peace Day by 2016 at the latest.

Peace One Day is impartial and independent of any government, political persuasion, corporation or religious creed. Through a multi-platform approach, Peace One Day utilises different tools to raise awareness, advocate for Peace Day and engage the global community in its broad observance.



Living with Schizophrenia a brain disease

It's been four years since Julie my daughter became sick. After Joe my grandson was born, Julie who was then 24 went into a deep postnatal depression where she began to have auditory hallucinations. She was hospitalized for a month at Kyoto University hospital and that became my first encounter with schizophrenia. At that time the doctor reassured me that she would recover and told me that in Japan it happens to one person in a thousand after having a baby. They gave her anti-psychotic medicines and after a month released her from hospital on Christmas Eve. The doctor told me that if her condition remained stable for a year and she had no more hallucinations, she would eventually return to normal.

Hopeful, we returned home and began to cope with this disease. I, as probably most people, didn't understand what was happening to Julie. I was filled with concepts and fears and was in a state of denial that Julie, my own child had got this sickness! On the surface it's difficult to see how she is, and most people assume that the strong medication must be causing her to be uncommunicative, distant and in a daze all the time. She was having trouble in understanding people talking, and was having problems with her memory.

Julie as a little girl had been a sweet, good natured child, happy to help anyone, she was loved by everyone. She was very pretty, liked to dress up and go dancing with her older sister Satya. She wasn't very academic and had problems with reading and had a 'short memory'. I was unable to find a school in Japan, that had a 'special needs class'. So she went to a boarding school in New Zealand, where they had special classes for children with dyslexia. After graduating, she returned to Japan and worked for a while in my husbands Indian restaurant, and at the age of 22 left home to live on her own in Kyoto.After an unfortunate encounter with her first boyfriend, she got pregnant but she made the decision that she wanted to have the baby, and raise the child on her own and so I said I would help. Joe, her son is a darling little boy and they both now live with us in Ohara. Julies disease worsened and the symptoms of schizophrenia developed.

The name schizophrenia comes from German, meaning the splitting of the various parts of the thought process. It is a disorder of the brain and affects the limbic temporal structure. This is the part of the brain which filters the normal sensory input. Microscopic studies show there is a decreased number of neurons in specific brain areas or abnormalities in the arrangement of the cells. It affects one in a hundred people and it strikes at random and is unrelated to interpersonal events of childhood or adulthood.

The normal brain is like an enchanted loom which takes the threads of experience and weaves them into the fabric of life. For persons who are afflicted with schizophrenia the loom is broken. For the families, blame, shame and guilt magnifies the tragedy of the disease. It is one of the most under researched and misunderstood diseases and it has taken me four years of reading medical reports and taking care of Julie to even partly understand it. Many friends concerned, suggest that maybe yoga or brown rice, Chinese herb doctors, lavender or even Tibetan shamans maybe able to help. Some people suggest to her that she should stop taking her medicine. This she tried twice, one time resulting in acute psychosis and a one month stay in hospital and the other time she became catatonic unable to move and hallucinations.

So I've decided to write a letter from Julie which explains to everyone how she is and how she feels. She is not able to write herself and as the limbic system is affected, cannot reason logically very well. So I'm going to be her voice, her heart. We spend most of each day together, so from my own observations and from the few words she sometimes share with me I will write.

If we can understand this disease, it brings it from the realm of the occult to the daylight of reason. Life's journey is always in a state of change. I have learnt to be more patient and understanding.I have learnt acceptance of the disease. This helped my heart to release the pain I feel.I'm trying to have a sense of humor about it and an appreciation of the absurd!I'm trying to keep a family balance. Everyone needs tender loving care around me.No expectations, no disappointment a young master once told me in India. How right he is.

【Before a relapse】
1) The single most common cause of relapse is not getting enough medication a little extra medication in the early stages of relapse will frequently abort it and get the person back to baseline.
2) Each person with schizophrenia has their own particular symptom pattern when relapsing.
  Julie's are
   @trouble sleeping
   Arestlessness
   Bbeing tense and irritable
   Cnot wanting to go out to eat
   Dhibernating in her room not wanting to eat meals with the family
   Ehearing voices and getting afraid
   Fno appetite

【"Try to understand me" a plea from Julie】
1) Sometimes when people speak to me my head is overloaded, It's too much to hold at once. It goes out as quick as it goes in. It makes me forget what I have just heard because I can't hear the words long enough. It's just words in the air.
2) It's terrible to be touched.
3) Sometimes it's impossible for me to concentrate on even as simple a task as walking from my house to the bus stop. Fear comes I feel as if the wind is coming to capture me or the cars are trying to run me over.
4) I find it difficult to sort, interpret and respond and so it's hard for me to put my clothes away in the right drawer or make the correct response to someone. Sorry if I forget to say Hello or Thank you.
5) I have to give all my attention when people speak to me, so please speak very slowly and don't be hurt if I don't respond on a bad day.
6) It's hard for me to relate to people so sometimes I hide in my room when you visit my house.
7) It's easier if I stay still. If I do something like go for a drink of water. I have to prepare each detail in my head = find cup, walk over, turn tap, fill cup, turn tap off and drink it. I have to build a picture before doing it.
8) I can't understand abstract ideas such as proverbs. I am not able to reason logically.
9) It's difficult for me to take a bus, follow directions or plan a meal.
10) Sometimes my mind pauses and closes down for a while.
11) I sometimes hear voices that are whispering to me or telling me something. When this happens, I block them out with music or the radio or both!
12) I often ask people the same question. Mum tells me that is the fifth time I've asked her, but I don't remember that.
13) I often feel depressed and sad and lonely, I'm afraid friends won't understand me and think me strange. I love being with my brother Shuji. He understands me.
14) I sometime stumble, or spill things. I am sorry I'm so clumsy.
15) I like to do chores slowly, and need a rest sometimes in the middle of the task. People tell me I'm lazy, but I'm doing the best I can.
16) I like to do things in rituals in a certain way which maybe strange to you.
   @washing up
   Awashing the bath
   Bemptying the rubbish
  Don't try to change my way it upsets me.
17) I repeat sometimes the same action over and over again. For example I do this, when I check that the gas knobs, are turned off. You may think it's strange but it makes sense to me.
18) I had moments of insight, when I started to get sick. I felt as if something inside of me was going strange. I asked Mum to take me to a doctor to have my brain checked.
19) I find it hard to read anymore, just picture books and Hiragana menus. Please don't ask me to read something difficult.
20) I can't follow a movie that doesn't have a simple story. I like to watch music TV or kids cartoons. The news is hard for me to follow, too many difficult words. So please use easy words with me.
21) I used to be a very tidy person but now it's hard for me to tidy my room. I'm happy when my sister Satya comes and cleans up my room.
22) I'm happy when I have enough energy to take a shower and wash my hair. Most days I feel too 'busy' to do this.
23) I need someone everyday to remind me to brush my teeth, change my clothes and take my medicine. Mum or Dad gives my medicine to me every night for I easily forget to do that.
24) Some people tell me I should stop my medicine, do meditation and I'll get better. It's not true, I stopped twice and I got very bad again, went crazy and had to go back into hospital for one month. Please don't tell me to do this.
25) Stress is not good for me if someone shouts or is angry with me. I start feeling unwell and start hearing voices again.
26) Don't be afraid of me. My personality hasn't changed since I've got sick. Don't worry if I act strangely. I'm not dangerous.
27) If I have a daily routine and a predictable schedule I feel better. Don't let me sleep all day.
28) I don't like being alone in the house. If Mum goes out for more than three hours, I start getting scared. So I keep telephoning someone to calm me down.
29) Ask me one question at a time. Two questions confused me.
30) Also give me one direction at a time. If I forget to do something. Remind me gently and I will do it.
31) Don't be sarcastic when I say "I've seen a snake in my cupboard". Just tell me, "I know you think they are there, but maybe its because of your illness, you are seeing it".
32) I like to be with people sometimes, but don't worry if I'm not speaking to you. I just like to be there.
33) Sometimes I'm cold and ungrateful forgive me I don't mean to be.
34) Try to stay as unflappable as possible. It helps me if you are calm when I'm having a bad day.
35) I need solitude and structure. It helps me to feel a sense of order and that life was predictable.
36) The smell of lavender or mint makes me happy.

【The side effects of my medicine】
1) Taking anti psychotic medicine makes my mouth very dry. So I have to keep drinking lots of liquid. I went out to the pub the other day and ordered 8 glasses of water.
2) It makes me dizzy sometimes and I get blurred vision.
3) It also makes me gain weight! Oh no!
4) I love to drink coffee coke, but Mum tries to keep me to two cups a day otherwise it reduces the effect of my medicine.
5) Same for wine and beer, I wait until 6 pm to have a glass with Mum, "Shouldn't drink more than two", she says.
6) Even though I'm sick, I love life and I love Joe my little boy.
7) The smell of lavender or mint makes me very happy.

(written in 2004)