The need for participation, compassion, & community in the classroom (and lecture hall)
Fall down seven times, get up eight: The power of Japanese resilience

頑張ろう東北! 頑張ろう日本!

Baby 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.


Thank you

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.



I'm sending good thoughts to you and the people of Japan. Take care!

Anita James

Glad to hear that you and your family are OK!

Leigh Elliott

Hi Garr, glad to hear you and family are safe. Also thanks for the tip about iTunes providing donation service, will check it out.

gail m. murphy

Be safe Garr, we send loving thoughts to you and everyone in Japan.

Don't forget 'Doctors without Borders' .. Give to these doctors and nurses that are first responders to medical needs of the world.


You have been an inspiration to my work as a teacher, my thoughts are with you in this truely testing time. Stay safe, glad you and your family are well.


Thanks Gail. Yes, I think 'Doctors without Borders' are coming here. Thanks, everyone.

BTW, We just had an earthquake between Tokyo and here in Nara. Not near Sendai. Scary times, the earth seems unstable right now.

John Zimmer


Wishing you and everyone in Japan quick and safe passage through this difficult time and happier days ahead.

Below are two links for your readers: the first for donations via other reputable organizations; the second is Google's very useful resource page for the Japan earthquake and tsunami.


John Zimmer

Sorry. Here is that second link:



Here's another group that gets just a little more out of the donations than the Red Cross. LDS Humanitarian Services is usually among the first on the scene and the LDS Church absorbs the overhead cost, meaning that 100% of all donations go directly to those who need it.
Thanks for what you are doing. I hate to see this happen to a country I love so much!


Hi Garr,
I've been tuning in to your blog, writings and works for years.. it's always inspiring to read presentationzen > your advise on life, composition,.. i shall carry it with me for the rest of my life.

I pray for safety of You and your family.

wm/ malaysia

Jim Dickeson


The pain is shared by every decent person here on Earth. Good to hear from you since Friday.

Nara! I've never been to Japan (shame, will change soon), but my wife's family is in the Kobe/Osaka area.


Prayers your way.

Roger C. Parker

Dear Garr:
Thank you for taking the time to update your friends and followers around the world.

I immediately thought of you when I first learned of the earthquake last week.

What a terrible event.

Anja @eyesonnature

So pleased to hear you and your beautiful family are safe. We are only just coming to grips with the earthquake in Christchurch. What is happening in Japan is beyond comprehension. The people of Japan are in our thoughts and prayers. - Anja (Wellington, NZ)

Brendt Evenden

Dear Garr,
Glad to hear you and your family are safe and well.
Like many around the world watching the devastation in Japan we sit and feel helpless, looking at the faces of those who have survived and being barely able to comprehend the magnitude of suffering being experienced in Sendai and elsewhere. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them and we will do what we can financially.
A natural disaster like this reinforces in me the very real notion that we are all on this world together, that superficial ideas and differences like "race" are a myth and, most of all, that we are all suffering sentient beings needing compassion and support.
Be strong Japan, the people of the world see you and hear your pain.


Why is the title in chinese?

Jerry Weissman

Hi Garr,

So very glad that you and your family are safe. How devasting it is to see the human tragedy that has befallen your chosen home.

All my very best,



While I don't want to downplay the tragic nature of the event, it is also an opportunity to be creative. They now have a new once in a lifetime chance to start from scratch in rebuilding. A perfect platform for creative thinking. I actually wrote an article about it here:

I've been told that the Japanese culture has much "songen"... meaning dignity and strength in times of trouble.

Praying for all of Japan's residents. There are small miracles within the horror... I've heard several stories of children and adults being found alive after days of being trapped.

Peace and love..... om shanti, metta, om mani padme hum _/|\_

orjin krem

Be strong Japan, the people of the world see you and hear your


Our thoughts and prayers are with you all

David Hughes

Hi Garr,

You may not have seen but here are a couple of communities working to support Japan - and

Thoughts are with everyone....

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