Chip-In for Mr. Matsumura

(a note from our friend Nanci Caron)

Dear 500 Frog Friends,

As you know, Deb Buckler, founder of “500 Frogs,” has followed Mr. Naoto Matsumura’s work and has sent a specially decorated frog to him, in honor of his steadfast resistance against a system that abandoned the animals left behind in Tomioka.  When I learned about rescue efforts happening within Japan, I became affiliated the Hachiko Coalition. I learned more about Mr. Matsumura and some wonderful groups helping the animals there.  The story of Mr. Matsumura’s solitary existence and dedication to the animals against all odds, however, spurs us to want to contribute to HIM personally.  We also have a way to give him 100% of the money we collect…. directly!  Our beloved Anne Thomas has once again offered to help!

Would you please consider making a small donation to Mr. Matsumura through my new Chip-In website?  I humbly ask for any affordable amount… perhaps only what you might spend on a cup of coffee or soda. The animals will benefit from ANY amount.  Even more importantly, Mr. Matsumura might feel uplifted and supported by the number of people who care enough about him to donate, or send a signed note or card.  My contact info for all of this is on the Chip- In website… including a mailing address if donating online does not appeal to you.

Thank you all!  Here is the link for the Chip-In Fund and my contact info:


Nanci Caron

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The Senior Folks Need Our Love, Too

Just wanted to give everyone a quick update on the 500 Frogs project!   I am again preparing to send yet another ‘batch of beautiful frogs to Anne.  This time, however, there will only be 50 and then another  50 shortly after. Anne plans to deliver these special frogs to some of the senior and older folks who were forced to leave their family farms that they have lived on all their lives. They will never be able to return and most of them can not thrive in the make-shift cardboard shelters set up for them by the government.  They miss their animals (most of which are now dead), their land and crops that have been in their families for generations. Many of these older folks are simply giving up and dying a “lonely Death”.  It is terribly, terribly sad.

News of our 500 Frogs project has gotten around and some of the folks who take care of these older folks have asked if they could have some frogs.  So we are going to send this next batch of amazing frogs to them. Hopefully it will bring them a little joy to be able to hold a beautiful little frog that came clear from the other side of the world just to be with them. If any one wants to paint more frogs, just let me know. The project is still going strong!

Here are 2 videos I hope you will watch. The first one is a “Thank you” from Japan and we can take special pleasure in knowing that we are part of the reason they are saying “Thank You”.

The other clip is about the fellow in the city of Tomioko… the lone hold out guy who stayed back to take care of the animals that had been abandoned. He is sure a rebel! I do believe that if I was in his shoes, I would do the same thing. No way could I leave my horses and animals to starve. I could not go on living in a room in a city, knowing my home and cats and my life was left to die.  We actually have made contact with Naoto Matsumura! We sent him a special frog, some nuts and some organic chocolate berries and a nice letter!

Lone Holdout

Many Blessings to all who have been a part of this wonderful project.
Much love ~

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Frogs On Display

Last month, Anne took another batch of frogs to be given to our Japanese friends. I apologize for not getting the pics on the blog sooner! They certainly are adorable. 🙂

Sorry my camera is not great, so these shots are not as clear as they might be. But just to let you know all your critters behaved so well and shone their best to be chosen first! People loved the woven bags! The others, too, of course. The matching of bags and frogs is perfect!!!

All is always so impressive!!

Love, Anne

(pics taken Dec. 2011)

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We’ve Been Published!

THIS is pretty exciting!  I just received the following letter from the publisher of Anne Thomas’s new book, “Letters From The Ground to the Heart”.  500 Frogs has been included!  I am so honored. Once again,  another miracle we have all been part of. Anne’s lovely book will go to help so many people who’s lived were affected so terribly by the Tsunami disaster….I SO love seeing ‘regular people’ doing amazing things to help others. Never doubt the power of people who care!

Many Blessings ~ Deb

Dear All,

David, you know of me from previous contact; Deb & Randy of 500 Frogs, and Cate
of Wishes on Wings, you don’t know me (yet 🙂 – however, I’m emailing to share with
you some exciting and I trust, welcome news…

Shortly after what is now known as The Great East Japan (Tohoku) Earthquake and
Tsunami, I received a portion of one of Anne’s letters here in Connecticut (USA) from
a friend in the UK. I was so struck by the power of her writing, I managed to get in
touch with her and suggest that her wonderful letters be collected in a book, proceeds
from sales of which would benefit survivors of these tragic events. As a writer/designer
et al, I lent to the effort by editing, writing the Foreword for, and designing the cover
and text of this labor of love.

“Our” book is at last a reality. Letters from the Ground to the Heart (Paperback Edition,
228 pages) is self-published and has just become available online at:

Book Website & social media links:

‘Letters’ will soon be available at Amazon and barnes & Noble as well, at selected book
stores, and as both a hard cover w/dust jacket edition and e-book, as well.

David, our sincere thanks for the use of your your translation of Miyazawa Kenji’s poem,
Be not Defeated by the Rain, which, although written almost a century ago – is more
relevant than ever, due in no small part to recent events – and for which you are of course
gratefully acknowledged in the front matter credits.

And Deb, Randy and Cate, we are delighted to be able to share with you the fact that
Letter 28 (pages 139-145) is dedicated to telling readers about your wonderful efforts –
in fact, a hand-painted resin frog and a short blurb grace the back cover!

We hope you will be kind enough to avail yourselves of copies, and that you will also
help spread the word. As the one year anniversary of these events approaches, we
who have been, and remain close to relief efforts, know that people there are yet in
extremely dire need – thus and if anything, we need to redouble our efforts.

Here’s hoping that ‘Letters’ helps reignite global empathy and an outpouring of concern
that results in renewed donations – as well as awareness of your own, wonderful efforts!

Best & Warmest Regards,

Brian Penry
(& on behalf of) Anne Thomas         
Penry Creative, Inc.
240 Saw Mill Hill Rd.
Guilford, CT 06437-1019 USA
+1 203.605.8501

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Christmas Cheer

From our 500 Frogs Family to yours ~ Have a Merry Christmas!

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Mr. Naoto Matsumura and 500Frogs

by Anne Thomas

Deb Buckler of California started the 500Frog Project right after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku Japan. Her wish was to give hand painted frogs to children who had suffered during the disaster. “Kaeru” means “frog” in Japanese, and also “come home” and “change”.  Deb’s “Kaeru” endeavor has been very successful. Hundreds of people from all over the USA and parts of Europe have decorated frogs. And they have been given to children in both Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures. And more of these very moving donation days are lined up for the future.

Deb’s concern for people goes well beyond that of children. She is an animal lover as well. So when she heard of the commendable work being done by Naoto Matsumura in Tomioka Town in Fukushima, she wanted to reach out to him also. In April 2011 Mr. Matsumura was featured in several foreign newspapers for his courageous efforts for the animals left behind when people were forced to evacuate from their nuclear infested town. Mr. Matsumura refused to leave, despite warnings from the authorities. “How can I leave the animals behind?” he queried. “They need to be fed. The cows need to be milked. I have to stay here for them.”

Thanks to his selfless devotion to animals, Mr. Matsumura has become quite a hero among animal lovers worldwide. And because of that, plus his doing this alone, Deb Buckler wanted to be sure he, too, got a frog. In a recent e-mail she said, “I am SO touched by his resolve and strength of spirit to hold his own like he does. He has true courage of his convictions and I am impressed at his bravery to stay there in that town all by himself. I would love for him to know that the rest of the world knows he exists and cares about what he is doing. I really believe in honoring even seemingly small things like this, which are so meaningful.”

Then she asked me if I might be willing to find Mr. Matsumura to give him a frog. I love plunging into the unknown to explore the possibilities that often awaken there. So, I agreed to go. I was not sure how to go about finding Mr. Matsumura, however, since he was in the very center of the No-Go Zone around the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. I chatted with a kindred soul, Mayumi, about this and we ended up deciding to go together to see what we could do.

I wore my oldest clothes, just in case we would have to destroy everything we had on after venturing into such a dangerous place. But Mayumi had checked on the Internet and found that Tomioka Town’s City Hall was in temporary quarters in Koriyama City. She thought we should start there. That sounded reasonable, so I agreed, although I was not sure they would even admit that Mr. Matsumura was there. After all, he had defied a government order to evacuate.

We found the metal shed acting as the city hall, and much to our amazement outside was a logo with a bright green frog as its motif. There was also a frog windmill outside. Of course, Mayumi and I immediately sensed that things were working in our favor.

And indeed they were. Every person we spoke to was very attentive to our story. “Mr. Matsumura is famous and very respected among foreign animal loves,” we explained. Finally we were able to talk to a very warm, caring woman in charge of helping to locate people from Tomioka Town. “Of course we know Mr. Matsumura,” she said to us. “He used to be in Tomioka Town helping the animals. But now someone else goes there to try to do that work. The animals have become quite wild and we are trying to find ways to deal with them. Now Mr. Matsumura goes around the entire area, but he is no longer in Tomioka Town itself. I have his cell phone number. Let me see if I can reach him.”

She tried several times, but was not able to get through to him. So we left our phone numbers, the bright red frog and a letter for him. She promised to give the frog and letter to the man who often sees Mr. Matsumura so he could deliver it. And she also said that she would call us back to let us know the final outcome of this little venture.

Mayumi and I left pleased. Even though we had not actually given the frog directly to Mr. Matsumura, we both felt sure he would eventually receive it. And of course, we hoped he would feel touched by the concern and respect so many foreigners feel for him, a man who lives true to his own convictions, no matter what the world tells him he should do.

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Frogs With Far Reaching Effects

Our latest batch of 103 frogs have now arrived in Fukushima, Japan! Anne and her friends will be traveling to a school there to help hand them out to the kids next week.
This continues to be such and amazing and heart warming project. So many
frogs still coming and going around here! I know that the love and
compassion that each little frog carries is going to have far-reaching
effects on generations to come. I can’t thank you all enough for your
continued support! I wish you could see all the loving notes and wonderful
pouches, all hand made from the heart. Very, very cool.

As some of you might remember, I had a personal quest, to get a special
frog to a lone man in Tomioka named Naoto Matsumura. This man chose to stay
in this town when the government ordered everyone to evacuate, so he could
take care of the animals left behind. Defying the government is not a
‘normal’ thing to do in Japan, so Mr. Matsumura has had to stay hidden for
the most part.

Read his story.

I am so thankful to Anne for traveling the 2 1/2 hours from her home in
Sendai to try and make a connection with this man, so we could get a special
frog to him. I now have an address I can send things to that will see to it
he gets them. I wanted to honor and acknowledge his bravery and resolve to
stay there and care for as many animals as he can all by himself. It is
amazing, but most of the folks outside his immediate area have never heard of
him. But clear over here in the USA, we have .

Anne wrote a great article about her trip to Tomioka…she doesn’t
drive, so she had to find someone who would drive those 2 1/2 hours, just to
find this fellow for me! I am so floored!
MANY thanks again to all who have participated in this miracle.
Much love ~


(stay tuned for Anne’s article)

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