Japan changed my life – utterly and certainly for the better. I lived there for only a couple of years, but the effect my experiences there had on me transcend such a paltry measure of time. Japan, Tokyo, my friends – Becky, Mayumi, Iwao, Kazue, Junichi, and so many more – have become landmarks on my inner topography. I miss walking my neighborhood streets in Tokyo in a way I’ve missed nothing else – except home.
When I heard about the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami, my heart literally hurt. So much destruction. So many lives lost. I remember how bemused I would be when there was an earthquake while I lived there – any earthquake at a good distance from Tokyo, mind – and my family and friends reached out to me with great concern because they were unsure of the geography. I know the geography. I know how far the people I know stood from the epicenter of this terrible event, but it didn’t matter. Especially since distance wasn’t as helpful in the face of an earthquake that measured 9.0 on the MMS. Part of Honshu (the main island of Japan) was moved almost eight feet. The tsunami destroyed entire cities. Collateral damage certainly reached as far as Tokyo, as in the oil refinery fire in Chiba. There is an ongoing concern with Japan’s nuclear reactors.
My friends are all safe, for which I am exceedingly grateful. However, it is a bittersweet thing – for all that I rejoice in my loved ones’ safety, I can’t help but think of all those lost, and homeless, and devastated.
I am moved by the charitable response that has swept the world, and especially by the harnessing of the Internet to generate donations for the aid of Japan and other areas affected by this catastrophe. I can’t turn around without finding a new way to give to Japan, and I thank the world for that.
If you haven’t helped already, and if you have the means and desire to contribute, I hope you’ll consider a few of the ways below:
Papaveria Press, purveyor of brilliant books, is donating all proceeds in the near future to Doctors Without Borders.
Genre for Japan will be auctioning prizes (related to the SFF and horror genres) for donations.
Writers for the Red Cross, while not specifically geared for Japan, is raising money for the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which will be assisting recovery efforts in Japan.
If you participate in any fandoms, you may like giving through one of the following – get something cool, and help Japan at the same time!
help_japan: A series of fandom auctions, from fanfic to artwork to care packages.
japan_calls: Auctioning celebrity voices to raise funds.
fandomaid: Another series of fandom auctions.
helpjapan: Deviant Art’s auction group, mostly of arts and crafts.
These are just a few ways you can help; like I said, you almost can’t turn around without falling over a new way to donate. This is an amazing thing, and I hope you’ll search your pockets or the couch cushions for even some small bit to chip in to one of those charities.
Now, let’s close close this post with another amazing event that has arisen in the wake of this tragedy: Hideaki Akaiwa named Badass of the Week. The silly honor is not the amazing bit – just read the story and see! (Warning, though: contains language.)