Normally, I follow the journalist's creed not to become part of the story. But when a library employee told me people commented that they enjoyed the recent display of Japanese items, I thought I'd supply some background.
The Cuyahoga County Public Library Mayfield Branch has a display that rotates monthly and showcases a particular culture. I wrote about it way back in January and mentioned that my mother-in-law lived in Japan for several years as a child and has many interesting things that could be displayed.
So, for the past month the display case has held items I gathered from among my mother-in-law's collection. I would imagine that the things that most people would be curious about would be the small models of Japanese houses and businesses.
These models were commissioned to show people here what life was like in Japan. My mother-in-law was living there because her father, a Baptist minister, was doing mission work. He had a Japanese artist build the models to show people who supported the mission.
The display also featured dolls, school backpacks, a Japanese drum, a wig and wooden shoes my mother-in-law wore. All of these were made and purchased in Japan, which made it curious that the dancer inside the music box had a very light skin tone. Maybe it was made to be sold to tourists.
I encourage library patrons to share their cultures in future displays – this month's featured country is Slovenia. While the library has what it needs for Slovenia, I'm sure they could use items for other months and I can attest that they take good care of whatever is loaned. It's also kept locked, so you can safely share your heritage with other patrons.