Even those of you not working in Japan and interacting with the country on a daily basis will probably remember that big disaster thing that happened almost a year ago. All the horrifying images that came out of the country, the sadness of all those lives lost, homes destroyed. And then of course, the neverending nightmare that is the Fukushima power plant. The thing that you might not be aware of is that this tragedy hasn’t exactly ended. Things in the north are still in shambles. All those people who were forced to leave their homes because they lived inside the exclusion zone around the power plant? They’re still not allowed back in, and it’s looking like it’ll be a very long time before anyone gets to live in that area again. It is definitely not over.
I’m not writing all this to start your Wednesday off with a big old downer, but to remind you that you can support relief efforts and read some great Japanese literature thanks to March was Made of Yarn, a collection of writing from amazing authors translated by superstars, and edited by Elmer Luke and David Karashima. With stories by Yoko Tawada, Mieko Kawakami, Hideo Furukawa, and even a short manga story by the Nishioka Kyodai, it’s a fantastic collection and a good chance for all you monolinguals to read some of the awesome stuff coming out of Japan these days. If you don’t believe me that it’s awesome, go read these reviews. Total strangers on the Internet would not lie to you.
And the royalties all go to the Japanese Red Cross, who have done amazing work helping people get back on their feet in Northern Japan. So buy the book, feel good about yourself and get lost in some good writing.
(Or just donate directly to the JRC if you feel like you just want to help!)
UPDATE: If you need more persuading, think of the 326,000 people who are still homeless.