Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaBloPoMo Day 3: Thinking of Japan

NaBloPoMo Day 3. In Japanese, there is a word - "mikka bouzu (三日坊主)" - for someone who starts something new but gives up after three days, like a monk-in-training (bouzu) who gets tired of reciting chants and gives up his training. I'm hoping not to be a mikka bouzu. Let's see.

This is a pic from earlier this year, when I participated in the Bake Sale for Japan in the LA area, to fundraise to help victims of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. Hard to believe it's been well over six months since then.

I remember following the news when it happened, and also the blogs of many Japanese bloggers whom I have been reading for the past eight or so years. The magnitude of the devastation was just incomprehensible to me.

After checking to see if family and friends were okay, I was kind of at a loss as to what to do. Yes, I can donate money but I didn't just want my measley donation to go to some random rescue efforts. I wanted to do something meaningful, as conceited as that may seem.

As often happens after a major disaster, after the first couple of months, the news and fund-raising and awareness-raising efforts seem to have declined steeply, particularly in the LA area (I enviously read of my Northern Cal friends organizing and attending various fundraising craft and food fairs...maybe they were going on around here and I just didn't know).

I then talked with a friend who was trying to organize a large-scale fundraiser. She is friends IRL with several Japanese blogger/professional photographers, who have volunteered at disaster sites and have photos from those areas. My friend wanted to showcase those photos, to bring a sense of reality to the disaster, to show people that it's not just something we watch on TV, that people like us are still, even today, living through its aftermath.

I hope to help in this effort, and to help continue to raise awareness of the needs. There are worldwide efforts by the Red Cross and other worthy organizations, to be sure. But I wonder how much help is reaching people in small towns? How much help is really being provided by corporations donating excess inventory and getting tax write-offs?

As a close friend often says in emails - More soon.

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