Please forgive me if the next update or two are a bit off the usual topics related to presentations, design, creativity, etc. As you all know, at 2:46 pm last Friday Japan received it's biggest earthquake in its recorded history. A devastating tsunami hit many towns and cities in Northern Japan a few minutes later. We're now in day-4 of the rescue and recovery phase; each day reveals that the devastation and loss of life is even worse than feared. Thousands have died, tens of thousands are still missing and feared dead. Parents have survived the quake and tsunami only to learn their children are gone. Children escaped only to learn that their parents did not. Virtually everyone lucky enough to survive in the devastated areas has lost a friend or a loved one, in addition to losing their home and their belongings. In some cases entire towns were washed away. What are the residents to do? The pain must be unbearable. The pain is shared by every single person here in Japan. Our hearts are with the people of Tohoku and our prayers go out to them.
When I first moved to Japan 22 years ago I lived in the Shimokita Hanto in Northern Japan and stayed in many small towns and fishing villages that are quite similar to the ones that were destroyed in the Tsunami near Sendai. I also visited Tohoku University many years ago and visited Sendai several times in those early years. Sendai is a lovely small city surrounded by beautiful nature. Japan is my favorite place in the world; I love this land and this culture so much. It's a special place like no other. That's why this country will be my home for as long as I am alive. And to see its people suffering up north now is too sad for words.
You can help
Japan does need your help. One of the easiest ways to help is to make a donation through the Red Cross. You can also apparently (in the USA) text “Red Cross” to 90999 and $10 will be automatically charged to your phone bill as a donation. If you have an iTunes account you can very easily make a donation that way. I made another donation through the Japan iTunes store today to see how it worked and it could not be simpler. Apparently in the case of Red Cross 91% of the money goes directly to assisting people in need.
I want to say thank you to all the people who sent a note or a tweet, etc. to make sure we were OK in Japan. I am touched. Yes, we are fine. We live in Nara which is in Western Japan near Osaka. We are about 600km from the epicenter. We did indeed feel a very large quake, but there was no damage here. Once again thank you to everyone around the world for your kind words and concern. Please do what you can to help Japan and her people recover from this disaster. よろしくお願いします! (Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.)
Note: The AP photo above is of a 4-month old girl who was rescued by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and reunited with her father. There is so much bad news and so many terrible images, I just wanted to put here a reminder that some people are being saved and there are some good bits of news from time to time. See the whole story here. The title of this post (頑張ろう東北! 頑張ろう日本!) roughly means "don't give up Japan/Tohoku" or "hang in there Japan/Tohoku" etc.