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There are few things more painful than rereading old posts.

(Major kudos to the people who struggled through some of my earliest posts on here, some of which I’ve had to actually remove because of their poor quality.)

Just putting a note up here to say that while a lot of my study has taken a backseat due to personal problems, I am mostly choosing to do a lot of it in my own time and privately. I think, like a lot of people, I got seduced into presuming my content and experience had some kind of default merit, which is definitely not the case. I also got schooled pretty hard from some very experienced people about what a monumental task I was undertaking with learning Japanese. And that I had enormously underestimated the amount of time and effort it would require to get anywhere close to my goals.

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The following is a press release from the #quakebook website. This book is a beautiful product of technology and humanity coming together in a more intimate and immediate way than ever before. 

Tokyo, Japan — In just over a week, a group of professional and citizen journalists collaborated via Twitter to create a book to raise money for Japanese Red Cross earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. The book will be available for download via Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader ebook platforms within several days. One hundred percent of revenues will go to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

The 98-page book, titled 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake and known on Twitter as “#quakebook”, is the brainchild of a Briton who lives in the Tokyo area and blogs under the pseudonym “Our Man in Abiko”.

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それは日本の心ですね。 (via Distant land)

桜 / Sakura

Image by . SantiMB . via Flickr

Courtesy of Our Man in Abiko, this brought tears to my eyes. It is a sweet moment of pause amid the flood of terrifying news stories, and I just had to pass it along.

In my self-education about Japan, I have seen so much drama regarding politics, finance, foreign policy, national history etc etc that it’s easy to lose sight of why I fell in love with a country I’ve never even visited. This kind of post reminds me.

NB. I’ll write something reflecting on the past few days when I can; right now I just haven’t been able to yet. If you have questions please ask. Sitting around the dinner tables earlier half darkness, watching the latest press conference about exposed fuel rods at Fukushima Dai-Ni power station 247km north of here, I asked the gathered Japanese house-mates what they would do if the problems there worsened. One of them replied that their family l … Read More

via Distant land

Earthquake & Tsunami message

image courtesy BBC

It’s impossible to get a full scale of the disaster yet – on the one side there is the devastating news footage of fires and floods, and on the other are the proofs that Japan’s civil engineering has kept so many people safe. Judging by my twitter feed alone, it would seem that most people are reacting with calmness and efficiency to such a wild and destructive act of nature. An 8.9 is simply inconceivable to someone like myself who has never even felt an earthquake before.

I wanted to use this post not just to reach out to the people I’ve gotten to know through this blog and Twitter,  but also to join in on the fundraising efforts for the aftermath of the quake and tsunami. I have always used the Red Cross for my donations, mainly because I trust them and I know that funds are shared. Either visit your country’s Red Cross website or if you have a phone contract then text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a donation of $10.

However, as a pro-equality and LGBT friendly blog I want to equally promote Doctors Without Borders. As my few regulars will know, I don’t use this blog as a platform for my own personal beliefs but I do reserve the right to put all the options out there. Disaster relief is never as simple and straightforward as many of us would hope, and some people have their specific preferences. It’s pointless to get caught in controversy: just help out in a way that you hope other people might do for you if your world suddenly fell apart at the seams.

Needless to say that while I am talking mainly about Japan, funds like these will most certainly be needed for surrounding countries – especially the recently stricken New Zealand. My husband and I live a pretty spartan existence, but we always try to find something to give in cases of natural disaster.

If you live in Japan or have any better methods of donating, please let me know in the comments or on Twitter @katiemuffett and I will update this post to point people in the right direction.

My thoughts and wishes are with everyone affected by this disaster.

Updates (in chronological order): this set of images has been making the rounds on Twitter and seems to best illustrate the impact of the quake, especially on Sendai

Nicholas Kristof wrote this superb piece about Japan’s response to crises for the NYT.

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Tobias Harris (@observingjapan) sent this link where MIT students have set up a blog about the Fukushima nuclear plants – a must see for those who are subjected to the fake diagrams and ‘fallout maps’ currently making the microblog rounds. No excuse for misinformation in this day and age.