On March 14th, 2011 at 4:50 AM we tweeted “Prayers for Japan…please read and RT(retweet) www.raannt.wordpress.com Stop for One Moment!” We had previously written a post about pausing for a moment throughout our day, wherever we were, and thinking or praying for the people living in the devastation resulting from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Within a few moments, we received the comment “thanks so much!” from @show2104 a fellow Twitterer. In that moment, we were greatly humbled, the world became a lot smaller and the miles between Indianapolis and Japan seemed a lot closer.
In that small moment…our world stopped. Because between the tweets and news about teen Rebecca Black’s viral song or Charlie Sheen’s insanity, a small friendship was formed via the world wide web between two guys in Indianapolis, Indiana and Shoji Toyashima, a 33 year old guy, much like ourselves, far away in a town in Japan we had never even heard of before we looked at his profile.
Shortly before our conversations began, the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima, Japan suffered catastrophic damage due to the earthquake and tsunami which had hit only days before. We Googled the distance and found that our friend in Nagaya was only 262 miles away from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant…almost the same distance from Indianapolis to Chicago; a drive we would make on a Friday afternoon for a weekend away.
Suddenly the tragedy in Japan became very real, we felt very small and this world far, far away seemed so much closer.
We followed as people criticized Anderson Cooper for his in depth investigative reports and we were astonished as we tweeted about the tragedy that we received comments such as “What did Japan do for us?” It made us very sad. And we realized, had it not been for Twitter we would never have met Shoji or possibly taken any personal interest in the devastation in Japan past making a donation to the Red Cross. But this was personal and we felt it was important for Shoji to share exactly with our readers what it felt like to be in Japan during this crisis so we could all take it more seriously, care a little more about each other and realize that we’re all joined by the human experience not divided by our differences. (We are printing his responses exactly as they were texted to us and even though the language barrier has been difficult, we find a beauty in our attempting to understand one another.)
Did you feel the impact of the earthquake and the tsunami and if so how did it feel?
Yes,I did. There was 3M .and the grand was shaked slowly side to side by earthquake .
What is the aftermath like now? How are people in Japan dealing with the destruction from the earthquake and the tsunami?
That’s very cruelty.they r spening very hard time at shelters.the tsunami dispossessed everything .
How are people reacting to the radiation levels at the nuclear plant?
People in radius 20kms already escaped,and in 40kms prohibition go out.
Are people scared about the nuclear plant and how it could affect them?
Yes,we really scared about it.but the electronic company didn’t tell us truth.and just media notify the happening,that makes us amazement.
Are people in Japan hoping people from around the world will help them and does Japan need help right now?
Yes really ,people in TOUHOKU and KANTOU need help a lot.
How would the people of Japan like the United States to help?
We have no words to thank you for your help.
What is it really like what we are seeing on the news?
I’m not living there. I’m not sure.but the earthquake disrupted their transportation systems.the biggest street has just mended in this week.
Any messages from Japan?
The victims need help a lot. gonna check the details,and show you.
Since our conversation with Shoji, we have remained in daily contact and have now come into contact with new friends in TOUHOKU and KANNTOU, the cities Shoji told us were most in need of help. And maybe we can do no better than reaching out and making some of these people feel not so alone, forming lasting friendships and sharing the truth about what is really going on and how others are being affected. Just today, Shoji shared with us that he is good “but there r aftershock in Fukushima a lot this morning.” He also told us, “In Tokyo, the electronic problem is huge. The supply of electronic is not enough by Tokyo electronic company. In Tokyo, KANNTOU sometimes someplace has a power failure.”
Last Saturday we attended The Midwest Fashion Week Gala Event to benefit The Indiana Down Syndrome Association. We were unsure of what to wear until we realized one commonality we all have is our need for clothes; one of the major necessities needed during times of natural devastation and tragedy. The realization at the pettiness of our need to find the appropriate clothes led us to make tee shirts made with the flag of Japan to further the message “We all wear clothes. Fashion unites us One love for Japan.”
In the coming weeks while this tragedy is dealt with, it is our hope that our readers will find their own truth and utilize their own talents in whatever possible to bring awareness, not only to Japan, but to the commonalities of the human experience. And while some criticize the social media resources of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, these are all ways we can reach out and find new friends and not shy away from just wanting to get to know someone better.
We are social reviewers and we will continue to interview celebrities, review openings and fashion shows and expose the truth when we find something to be wrong with the way people are treated. That has been our mission from the beginning. We have made that our job. But whether our jobs are doctors, lawyers, teachers, chefs, waiters, bankers, newspaper editors, fashion designers, models and yes…even social reviewers, we can all stop for a moment, smile at one another and realize we are here but for a moment. And no matter what we do, who we are, who we love or where we live…we just aren’t that very different.