So this is actually less of a review at this stage than a bit of background as due to my studies for my imminent final exams (first one is tomorrow!) I have only read the first handful of stories from the book but even still it has been an emotional roller-coaster ride. The book represents a fantastic collaboration of passionate volunteers willing to contibute their own time and talents for free in order to raise funds for the Great Tohoku Earthquake Red Cross Appeal and it comprises almost 100 contributions by Japanese and foreigners alike all of whom were in some way affected by the disaster. So far I have read the first 8 of these stories and such are the pure emotions encapsulated in them that it has been a struggle to hold back the tears. There are heart-breaking accounts of those directly affected and emotional pledges of support by many who hold Japan close to their hearts. Below I have attached an extract (I hope that is OK!) written by an aged 80+ gent from Sendai which is endearing as it demonstrates the strength of mind of the Japanese and instills confidence that things will get better.

Thing to realise above everything else I think is that whilst the TV coverage (somewhat thankfully due to the high levels of inept reporting) may have died down in your part of the world, the struggle continues for those affected by the tsunami and subsequent Fukushima nuclear challenges, please do what you can to help! I personally recommend buying this book, not only because ALL of the funds go directly to the Japanese Red Cross and not just because numerous people have sacrificed their time and efforts to produce the book, but because as well as directly helping the victims the stories will help you gather a greater understanding of what is really happening in Japan. Please buy #Quakebook and check out the website detailed below for more information on alternative ways to help.


In just four weeks, the 2:46 Quakebook project has turned an idea first voiced in a single tweet, into a rich collection of essays, artwork and photographs submitted by indivdiuals around the world, including people who endured the disaster and journalists who covered it.

2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake contains a piece by Yoko Ono, and work created specifically for the book by authors William Gibson, Barry Eisler and Jake Adelstein.

The Kindle ebook is available to buy from anywhere in the world at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. You don’t even need a Kindle. Just go to the order page and download (for free) a Kindle reader for your Mac, PC or smart phone.

Learn more about the project here

Stay up to date on the latest news using the twitter hashtag #quakebook or through the news updates below.


Extract from #Quakebook – Encouragement

Photo by Kiyomu Tomita
Photo by Kiyomu Tomita

It’s been a nightmare of a week. I pray that everyone afflicted in this terrible disaster will soon wake up from this bad dream, but I don’t have any words of comfort. As an old man with an old wife, I’ve put up with a lot this week. But it’s nothing compared with the lives of those staying in shelters. Now things have settled down a little, I will attempt to convey the thoughts of the many other elderly people I have spoken with.

For us old folk confused by the scarcity of information, the radio has been our most reliable source of news. Many of us oldies are familiar with the radio and listen to late night broadcasts, with batteries that last a surprisingly long time. While we can use ordinary mobile phone functions, we’ve barely been able to operate emergency functions. Batteries run out as we fumble with our phones and the vast majority of us have given up trying to use them.

Very few people of my generation use the Internet in the first place, and as power is needed to get online, we haven’t been able to use it during power cuts. Even if we connect to the net, we’re poor at finding the information we want. Naturally, we can’t watch television during blackouts.

While we have inadequate access to information, we can ask net-savvy people living near us to get this information for us. For this reason, we are grateful that mobile phones and the Internet provide information. We rely on one company to provide our home with television, Internet and telephone services. While we feared that the infrastructure might have collapsed, the services were quickly recovered. We are thankful for this.

The strength of our generation is our experience. While this disaster is unprecedented, similar experiences such as postwar chaos, oil shocks and the 2005 Miyagi earthquake have kept us prepared. Many people also had stocks of emergency supplies. I pray that old people who are sick or weak can quickly receive medical attention. But rather then telling healthy old folk that you will support them, it would cheer them more to say that you’ll strive to get through this together.

To be honest, it has not been comfortable for people aged over 80. Lining up for hours to get water or do some shopping chills us from the tips of our toes up and gives us back pains. But seeing young mothers of small children patiently waiting for their turn and the impressive qualities of young women who use just a calculator to total up the bills for many customers’ shopping, gives me the strong conviction that this country will not break under these circumstances.

It’s been a while since my wife and I shared activities and fulfilled our respective roles. Our children have encouraged us and this has led to a reconfirmation of our family bonds. We’ve also received much encouragement from unexpected people. I’ve lived for many years. Night has always turned to day and rain has never failed to cease. Conditions have greatly improved during this week, and will get even better next week. This is a manifestation of the fighting spirit of someone born in the first decade of the Showa period. We need to stay strong.

GRANDFATHER HIBIKI Sendai