As the First Anniversary Approaches

You may recall that last year, after the Great Tohoku Earthquake in Japan, I participated in the publication of Quakebook, the first Twitter-sourced book that compiled stories of the quake. Besides spreading a message of hope, Quakebook allowed people to digitally download the book, with 100% of proceeds of sales going to the Red Cross.  It was a privilege to get to know the people involved, and the book was a remarkable success, both in e-book and eventually in print format as well.  Thousands of people bought the book and the money collected by the Red Cross was staggering.

That book was Twitter sourced, and it was stories about the quake.  Now, a year later, we need to examine the effects of the quake and how every-day life in Japan is forever altered by the experience.

To that end, coming out this week will be the one-year-anniversary follow-on book, published by Abiko Free Press.  This is not a book for charity.  This is hard journalism by professionals who examine, analyze and synthesize the experience through various lenses to achieve a modicum of clarity regarding the spirit of Japan since the quake, as well as a bit of what we can expect in the future.

It is, in short, becoming a work of staggering genius.

I am again involved, thanks to the great folks who are producing the book, and it is again a privilege to do it.

There are lessons out of 3/11 and we aim to find them, and embrace them.  Stay tuned for more information.

#Quakebook – Bilingual, Physical Book On Its Way

It has been my privilege to work with a talented team of writers, editors and other assorted heroes on the Quakebook.  If you don’t know about the Quakebook yet, please go to the website and have a look and consider buying it.  It’s a Twitter-sourced compilation of stories from people affected – emotionally or physically – by one of the worst natural disasters in history. As of today, it’s available via the Amazon Kindle and Sony e-reader.  What’s exciting about the publication is that 100% of sales go directly to the Red Cross for earthquake/tsunami relief in Northern Japan.  Amazon and Sony waived their normal percentages so the most money can go directly to the people who need it.

In other exciting news, Quakebook will be available very soon as a physical book and it will be bilingual, Japanese and English.  It’s available for pre-order at Amazon Japan and I’ll circulate the exact publication date when it’s announced.

Artists and writers such as Yoko Ono, Jake Adelstein, William Gibson have given pieces to the Quakebook, but that’s not the only reason to read it.  The contributions to the book are heartfelt and real.  Each one is beautiful and heart-wrenching at the same time.  This is representative of the spirit of a people who will rebuild and return.  It’s a testament not only to the way the Japanese feel about their country, but the way foreigners feel about – and fall in love with – Japan.

Please help buy purchasing a copy – electronically now, and physically later.  It’s a small price for a great gift.  And as an extra bonus, spread the word.

#Quakebook

Here is the cover of Quakebook

Right after the earthquake of March 11th, one man, simply called @OurManInAbiko on Twitter, put out a fledgling idea to the Twitterverse.  His dream was to put together a book of people’s experiences surrounding the quake, and publish it, with the proceeds of every sale going to relief efforts in Northern Japan.  The universe replied to him with enthusiastic passion for the topic.  Within a week, he had a huge number of submissions and even some celebrity support.  He got help editing the submissions from a dedicated few people who have such experience.  But largely it was his effort, and his vision, and his direction that made it happen.  (Well, he admits to having a supportive wife and family!)  Once he got the ball rolling, it really took off!  In two weeks he had all of the submissions together and began the process of editing it into final form.

Less than three weeks after the horrific events, I’m pleased to tell you that the book will be published first online shortly, with a print version available soon too.  As promised, all proceeds from the sale of books go directly to the Red Cross for relief efforts.

The title of the book is 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake and already the media coverage has been terrific.  It’s been mentioned in several Asian papers, including a huge excerpt in the Japan Times, and even in a Wall Street Journal Blog and the Huffington Post.  It’s a great cause and it’s going to sell millions.

You can pre-order your copy of the book here.

I have a piece in the book, and I’m honored to have done a teeny tiny bit of editing for it.  Just knowing that it’s out there and that people have come together and worked so hard for this project is humbling.  I am in awe of this group of dedicated humans.

Social Networking is amazing.  I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but I thought I’d reiterate it for emphasis.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it was the great sociologist Margaret Mead, who said, “Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Japan has been made stronger by the mere existence of this group and this book.  Please not only buy it, but tell your friends too.