Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Life after the March 11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami

In Honolulu's last remaining daily newspaper - and its name says it all - news of the aftermath of this devastating earthquake and tsunami is now relegated to page 20. To learn the real scoops, as we say here in Hawaii, I still turn to the Sendai-Honolulu Journal - the account of a local family, separated by geography and circumstance, and how they are coping in Japan and Hawaii.

But I have a new must-read, the Yamato-Damashii Diaries. Yes, you are seeing right - this is a mixed martial arts website. I know nothing about this sport, but I do know that the Inoue brothers - racquetball and martial arts experts - are from Hawaii. Enson lives in Japan, owns MMA gyms, and is now on a mission to help survivors of the earthquake and tsunami in a hands-on fashion, armed with a black Hummer and soon, a radiation suit. Ian Lind's blog is where I found out about the diaries.

Yamato-damashii means Japanese spirit, but you can extrapolate it to mean Japanese fighting spirit, which won't allow you to give up.

What do the people in evacuation centers want? Shoes or footwear - many have only the clothes they left home with - as well as cigarettes, sushi, sweets and someone who cares. MMA writer Daniel Herbertson is along for the ride, so far they have been to Taro, Rikuzentakata and Minamisanriku, and what they find is gritty, horrifying, and some of the most visceral writing about the present situation in Japan that I've encountered.

Please start reading at the beginning, and tell me what you think.

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