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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.