Nozomi Project Blog

Nozomi Project's Story from the TedX Stage!

Nozomi Project's founder and director, Sue Takamoto, was invited to speak at the TedX Waseda event on July 2. The event's theme was "Ripples to Waves" and Sue's task was to share how the idea of creating something beautiful out of broken pottery has turned into a five-year-running social enterprise employing 13 women, training them to craft beautiful jewelry. She also called listeners to choose together to see beauty in their own brokenness.

At Nozomi, each team member names a line of jewelry after someone who is important to her. Many of the ladies have named lines after their daughters or mothers; one named a line after her sister-in-law (Rumi) who was lost in the tsunami of 2011. In her talk, Sue weaved together the stories of three women who are either currently working at Nozomi, or have worked with us and moved on to fulfill different dreams. She gave a glimpse into how each woman found beauty in her own brokenness. 

Sara's grandfather is an unsung hero from 3/11 - when the waters were rushing in, he threw his wife and his grandson, Sara’s brother, onto the safety of a passing firetruck.  He did not survive the 30 feet wall of sea. Sara’s mom finds healing by working every day with broken pottery that she makes beautiful. 

You can view the Sara collection here.

Mika couldn’t leave her home for about a year because of severe PTSD and depression.  She was able to slowly come to Nozomi as she was able, finding through that process a place of healing and wholeness.

You can view our Mika collection here.

Misa's mom was Sue's shyest mom friend on the school yard, struggling with the challenges of a son with autism.  Over these 4 years of working at Nozomi, she has gained so much dignity and confidence.  She says her worldview has been changed - she recently shared at our staff meeting how she used to view autism as a curse;  now she sees what a blessing her son is to her and her family.

You can view our Misa collection here.

You can hear what some of the attendees had to say about Sue's talk here.

And in Japanese here.  

We will let you know next month when the talk comes out on YouTube!

Great job, Sue!

Chance to Receive Ishinomaki Coffee!

 As we remember the triple disaster that struck Japan 6 years ago this month, we are excited to introduce Ishikawa Coffee Company and give our support to a fellow local business. We are currently sending two Ishinomaki coffee filter packs to our first 100 customers*! Watch for beautiful, new designs this month and take advantage of this chance to drink some delicious coffee, blended right here in Ishinomaki! (*with online purchases of over $20).

Ishikawa Coffee Company owner, Mr. Ishikawa, takes care to choose only top quality, fresh coffee beans from around the world to skillfully blend in his shop. He says what he likes most about the blending process is being able to take different types of coffee and create new and unique tastes. 

When Ishikawa Coffee Company first began, they were operating out of a 107 square foot building. The company has grown through word of mouth and now has its own coffee shop that serves simple dishes and delicious desserts in addition to their on-site blended coffee, which is also sold at 2 other locations in Ishinomaki.


All of the coffee gift packages include a picture of a famous place in Ishinomaki paired with an "Ishinomaki" special blend (written in Japanese characters).

We hope you'll take advantage of the chance to get this free gift, enjoy a cup of coffee, and feel the love from Ishinomaki!  As always, all proceeds go to the Nozomi Project women and the continuation of the project. 

Shards, Brokenness & Hope Six Years Later

We are coming up on six years of the triple disaster that washed away half of Ishinomaki.

We are frequently asked if we still have broken pottery left to use for making our Nozomi jewelry.  And the answer is yes!  We still have crates of pottery gathered by hundreds of volunteers during the first few years; we are also receiving boxes of broken or unwanted pottery from nearby neighbors, friends, and second-hand shops in the area. 

Recently, one of the sons of a Nozomi team member was out playing in a field by his home and came home with a bag of broken pottery.  "Mommy!  I found jewelry!'  

He carefully washed each piece and laid it out on a tray for the Nozomi staff to make into something beautiful.  Each time it rains, hidden pottery becomes unearthed, constant reminders of both the tragedy and the hope that has emerged since.  

Those pieces are now being cut, ground, shaped, and remade into something beautiful.  

While each rainstorm brings new reminders of an unforgettable tragedy, it also brings hope.  Beauty in brokenness.