Monday, August 31, 2009

Remembering Yukari Desjardins

Tonight I'm thinking of Yukari Desjardin, joyful and irrepressible.

photo of Yukari from Shalom Japan website

"I will be going back to Japan teaching Permaculture and doing the african workshops and concert, my long time wish to demonstrate physically that the permaculture living includes full of art and celebrating"

Today she was to be teaching a workshop in Osaka, Japan "Balcony Garden, creating forest in the Urban situation". Making paradise on concrete. Yukari just had this knack for making something special out of whatever was at hand.

Last time I was with her was a whole ten years ago, when we spent two weeks in Bill's Food Forest, doing that first Japanese-language PDC together, joking and telling stories as we wiped the foam off the dishes we were drying, Aussie style. But her effervescent creative presence was always popping up for me, in e-mails and stories, her excitement telling of her newest babies and endevors, and lovely permaculture projects we could be doing together one day.

Here is a video I watched thinking of you tonight Yukari. It makes me think of how precious us darn humans are, how much fun we could be having together.

Matt, you are on...

Yukari, you brought us together like this. You just wanted to, and decided to, and as one little woman in a big, big world, you did. Now we are so, so sad.


Permaculture Pathways said...

Yukari was my neighbour and my friend, I've only just heard the sad news. She still had so much to do and to give... we've lost a very beautiful and special person. Thoughts are with her family and loved ones.


Ilana said...

Yukari was so special. I think that in all the time I knew her, she always had a smile on her face. God bless Yukari, Arnaud and their lovely boys.

Ilana said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
the topless executive said...

I was still a teenager when I met Yukari. My best friend (Yukari's cousin-in-law) and I visited Yukari & Arnaud at their home north of Brisbane about 14 years ago. It was a hot, humid January. Their first child (who's name escapses me) was still a toddler and Yukari's father (who's name also escapes my mind), a dentist for Sony, was visiting them.

Yukari made us lunch and we had a picnic in the front yard. In one sitting I was introduced to; bento, pickled ginger, salted plum and onigiri. I was crazy about Japan then, so this was a significant treat for me. To this day onigiri is one of my favourite snacks.

After lunch the six of us (including baby) sat around playing many different percussive instruments. I remember thinking the baby would have a great childhood.

I wasn't conscious of it then, but what struck me about Yukari was her immediate warmth. She was absolutely accepting and open. I was very shy back then but she made me feel comfortable. Her conversation was engaging and she displayed a rare gift she made you feel like she was actually interested and actually listening to you. Whilst I can't remember her face too well, I can remember her laughter.

It was only this year that I asked my friend if he knew how they were. In fact, I had every intention to visit Yukari & Arnaud again when I found the time... not that they would have remembered me.

There's a lesson in this; don't put off visiting friends, even if they are far away.

Thanks Yukari

Katie said...

The world has lost one of the best. Everyone who new her was in awe of her love of life. She gave so much to so many, our thoughts are with Arnaud and the boys.

Cecilia said...

Sonya, Im sad for you, with this empty place in her life. Her family are lucky to have you nearby.

Thank-you llana,T.E. and Kate for your stories. Its kind of an engigma, how she got to be so bright and life-loving. I feel that If I could cultivate this way of being, my life would be like a garden. You said she seemed like she was really listening and interested in people. Thats so interesting. Maybe thats the essence of what made her so special, and fearless, and able to just go out there and do things. She lived in a world not of scary strangers, but people she had bothered to understand, and enjoy, and could maybe do things with in the future.
Im so grateful to hear these stories, and sad I have so few of my own, when we could have done so much together.

Permaculture Pathways said...

We have a community network here in Eudlo - which of course Yukari was very instrumental in helping to form - a Transition Town, so we were all getting to know each other well over the past couple of years. We had market stalls (Yukari brought food along to sell and always decorated the stall beautifully), we ran permablitzes and her and I were just on the brink of starting a food co-op here (we have 70 families signed up - I don't know how I'm going to do it now without her) - I was going to book the local hall for when she got back. We were also going to run PDCs together and turn little Eudlo into a permaculture epi-centre of learning and sharing...

She had also only just bought a popular restaurant in Caloundra and was going to turn that organic and have meals 'for everyone' raw, vegan, gluten free... always thinking of people and what they need. She really was a nurturer.

And Cecilia, it was only recently she was talking about you and your PDC with Geoff Lawton and how you both got so carried away with designing a garden with a dragon at the entrance...

Her story featured in the 2010 permaculture diary is now very poignant.


Cherie Conrad said...

The world is a better place because you have lived Yukari - May God bless your family and all those who loved you and mourn your loss - Cherie

Francesca said...

I remember the last time I saw you Yukari - it was at the uni on Environment Day. We talked about our planned trips - yours to Japan and mine to Italy. You were full of energy as usual and had many projects on your list.
I still cannot come to grips with the fact that I won't see your lovely face around anymore. That thought really hurts and leaves many 'big' questions unanswered...
Thank you Yukari for the gift of your radiant smile, your passion and love of life.

Anonymous said...

Yukari was living with my sister Tina in Brisbane in 1988 ( year of Expo). I think Arnaud was living upstairs in this shared house!
When Christmas day came around my sister phoned the night before and asked me if she could bring her Japanese friend up with her to my house for family Christmas Lunch in Dulong. Of course I said yes.I had not yet met Yukari.
After the phone call, I had a panic attack when I realised that my husband's elderly stepfather would also be present at the lunch.He had fought in WW2 in PNG and did not have a healthy mindset towards Japanese people and had made no secret of that during the time I had known him. What could I do to avert WW3?
Well I spoke to the gentleman when he arrived and gave him some time to know that he was going to share Christmas Lunch with Yukari...My sister and Yukari arrived from Brisbane and I need not have worried. What a beautiful day...Yukari sat with my children and entertained them with Origami, she helped with lunch preparations and charmed my parents and husband's mother and stepfather too. Her strong sense of what is peace and friendship was evident way back then, and my strongest and most delightful memory is of Yukari and Peter ( the ex soldier)sitting side by side, chatting and sharing a pipe of tobacco out on the verandah after lunch...maybe it was a PEACE pipe!! On that day,
Yukari wore a trendy sleeveless black cotton dress with little white birds on it and she had her little black felt hat perched on her head. We met many times in recent years and shared, meals, music, gardening tips and baby talk...I heard she was in Palmwoods to live many years later( after Kobe) and we met in the butcher shop...I looked beside me and there was Yukari in her little black felt hat!!! I will always remember her and hope that Arnaud and the boys will in time find peace. I will make my garden even better in memory of Yukari!!!

Ilana said...

That is a lovely story... I find myself talking about Yukari to many people, those who knew her and those who didn't. May she rest in peace, which I am sure she will. May Arnaud and the children find peace and happiness too.