In a few minutes

11 Mar

In just a few minutes it will be the moment that the earthquake struck two years ago, triggering the tsunami and nuclear meltdown that devastated north eastern Japan. Over 300,000 people still live in temporary accommodation. The nation is divided on the merits of turning the nuclear power plants back on and, of course, the memories of lost ones is raw for so many, and always will be.

Thinking of the survivors once a year is, of course, not enough. But it is at least a start, as was Quakebook; a start at trying to describe what happened. After description hopefully comes understanding, and from that spring sympathy and empathy, but even those admirable feelings are not enough. From good intentions must come action, and from action we can do good.

Let’s do good.

To mark the second anniversary…

9 Mar

In a few days, it will be the second anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown. You can still download the ebook for free, or buy a bilingual hardback from any good bookstore or website. For something different, Goken, which published 2,000 paperback copies of the bilingual book, is offering up to 20 books that were returned from bookstores to collectors who are encouraged to make a donation to charity in exchange for the book. These are the last 20 of the softback available anywhere in the world. To receive a free copy, 1) follow info_goken on Twitter and retweet the following tweet about the free offer: . You have until midnight March 11th, Tokyo time. For everyone else, may we suggest remembering that there are still 320,000 people in temporary accommodation and the people of Fukushima need more than kind thoughts and good intentions once every year or two, though that’s a start, of course.

Quakebook first edition sells out

3 Dec

Bitter sweet news here at Quakebook HQ. All 2,000 copies of the original bilingual Quakebook published by Goken have been sold. Thanks to Tamio Okumura and his team at Goken, the publisher has raised and handed over ¥1 million (¥1,036,460) to the Japan Red Cross.

I have the utmost respect for Goken. They are a small publisher, mainly of bilingual textbooks, based near the heart of the Japanese book trade in Kanda, Tokyo. Countless bigger publishers passed on the opportunity to publish Quakebook, perhaps thinking it was not worth their while, not core to their bottom line or was simply impossible. Goken too didn’t need to get involved but when Okumura-san heard about Quakebook, he offered to do whatever it took to get the book into print and into Japanese bookstores. And his team agreed. The staff worked for free on the project, promoted it to bookstores and even ran ads in the Nikkei Shimbun for Quakebook. Not only that, they donated their slice of the profits to the Red Cross.

It has been an honour and a privilege to work with Goken, a sentiment all of us Quakebookers share, so it’s a sad moment to see the end of the project, even though it has been enormously successful.

If you didn’t buy a copy, don’t despair, you still can buy a hardback print on demand version, here, but the first Goken edition is history. And, of course, the ebook remains free to download here.

The Quakebook publishing adventure is over, but Quakebook’s legacy lives on; that together we can make a difference. I haven’t forgotten that lesson, I hope we never forget the survivors of 3/11.

To all who worked on the project, contributed to the book, bought a copy or spread the word, I can’t thank you enough. You made a difference.

A way you can help, one year after 3/11

11 Mar

In a few minutes it will be 2:46, the time that exactly a year ago the earthquake hit which led to the tsunami and nuclear meltdown. Much has happened to Japan since then, and much has not happened that we might have hoped for.

One thing remains true, however. The survivors still need our help. Not emergency relief, but with an understanding of their needs and the nation’s needs. They need help to recover. As a result, we at Quakebook feel that should you still wish to offer charitable donations, the Japan Red Cross, which specializes in disaster relief, is probably not the best place for your money now, one year later.

We encourage you to research charities that help survivors recover directly. There are many. Please find one that fits your beliefs. For us, there is one that we recommend, not because it is necessarily the best out there, but simply because some of us in the Quakebook team have volunteered with them and can personally vouch for their integrity and effectiveness. They are It’s Not Just Mud. Please visit their site and if you like what you see, donate some money. They will put it to good use helping restore people’s lives in Ishinomaki.

Now, I will spend the rest of the day with family in appreciation of all the things that make life worth living. I hope you do too.




Going Dutch for the anniversary

10 Mar

It gives us great pleasure to announce that Quakebook is now available in Dutch. Thanks to the hard work of Barbara and Yuko and many others involved in the project, you can download the book as a free PDF on the right of this blog and then we ask you to donate some cash to It’s Not Just Mud in lieu of payment, or as they say in the Netherlands:

Downloaden is gratis, maar donaties aan It’s Not Just Mud zijn meer dan welkom!
INJM is een vrijwilligersorganisatie die de overlevenden van de tsunami in Ishinomaki weer op de been probeert te helpen.

"And the nominees are…"

13 Feb

Well, Quakebook for one.  Seems a supporter from within the Quakebook Community has nominated our humble endeavor for a prestigious Prix Ars Electronica 2012 award, in the Digital Communities category. Exclamations of “Wow!” didn’t begin to cover the varied and delighted reactions among the Quakebook staff when we heard this news. We are all pretty excited, since the very last things on our minds when we put this charity project together were fame and glory.

But the recognition sure is nice.

Anyway, we’ve put in the required entry paperwork to have our nomination confirmed and the merits of the Quakebook project considered for this Ars Electronica honor. But it will be a little while before we know anything. The Ars Electronica jury meets to evaluate award nominees in late April, and winners won’t be notified until mid-May. The actual awards will be presented in Linz, Austria on the very last day of August. You can learn more about the awards and the Digital Communities category by clicking on the links above, and news about the awards and other Ars Electronica activities and events is available here.

Keep your fingers crossed for us, folks. And, as always, thanks for the support.

Japanese-English hardback Quakebook available worldwide

4 Nov

In response to the many people around the world who said they wanted to order the bilingual Quakebook, thanks to the Herculian efforts of Tim Burland, Tamio Okumura, Goken publishers and Lightning Source printers… I’m delighted to announce that the bilingual Japanese and English edition is now available in the United States on Amazon right here and Barnes and Noble right here for $19.99 or less.

And what’s more, you can order the book from any bookshop in the world, just quote the ISBN – 978-4-87615-422-7, though this might take a little while, you would be doing business with your local shop and would avoid any shipping fees.

Though there are print and distribution costs with the print-on-demand hardback, as always, no money goes to anyone at Quakebook from this. All profits go directly to the Japan Red Cross, no one at Quakebook touches a penny.

So now you know what to buy your folks this Christmas, right?

Our Man in Abiko once again hides his face in public

12 Oct

(graphic courtesy of Eurobiz Japan)

It has been a little while since #quakebook got some attention from the internet media stream. But we’re pleased to report that within the last twenty-four hours the book and Our Man in Abiko have been the subject of two very nice interviews from two, count ’em, two different online sources.

The first one, “Accidental Hero”, is a feature-style interview with Our Man by Aimee Weinsteen for Eurobiz Japan. Ms. Weinsteen, one of the editors of #quakebook, has done a fine job of prizing some details out of Our Man about the book and his life which you may not have read before. You can read the Eurobiz interview here.

Another #quakebook editor, Joanne Greenway, was instrumental in getting this interview with Our Man published by the Embassy of Japan in the U.K. Again, this interview piece contains some #quakebook-related tidbits with which you might not be familiar.

So click on through and give these two pieces a read. And thanks to our two colleagues who helped get #quakebook just a bit more attention.

You would think such a day would tremble to begin: Remembering 3/11 from Britain [Essay]

1 Oct

Of course I was not there as such, I was probably asleep when it occurred, physically speaking. Since I live in Britain and it struck at 2:46pm. However, I remember quite clearly a Facebook link or Twitter feed, informing me that a 9.0M earthquake had hit Japan, soon after people were calling it the ‘Great East Japan Earthquake’. Everyone was googling ‘Tohoku’. I remember staring at my computer as it if it were the Oracle at Delphi, I knew my loved ones were ok, they lived in a completely different part of Japan, yet I needed that confirmation.

I was staring at my Blackberry, waiting for the Gods of Wifi to assure me that all was well, and finally a chime and click later the Oracle answered my prayers, I knew all was well.

Days later, as with that other September 11th, the news died down in the UK, which is why I started this blog. But this is my abiding memory.

Michael Gillan Peckitt

Hardback Quakebook available worldwide with free shipping

30 Sep

Yep. Just like the title says, thanks to the efforts of #Quakebook Agent Provocateur Tim Burland, The Book Depository in London is stocking the hardback of the English language version of 2:46 Aftershocks – Stories from the Japan Earthquake.

The beauty of it is, they will send the book free to anywhere in the world. At under $13 a copy, I think we have a winner.

Sign up and order your copy right here.