Seven Summits And Otsuchi’s Curtains of Love

OK, it’s settled. After posting “Everest or Rust” – all about reinforcing a habit two (physical) steps at a time – my next project is to link this er, unusual habit, with serving a greater good.

Otsuchi, a small coastal town in North Eastern Japan, was badly damaged in the earthquake and tsunami of March 11th, 2011. So much so, that just one public building, a community center on a hill, escaped destruction: and over 1,500 people took shelter there that night.

However, it was very cold and so parts of the stage curtains were cut into makeshift blankets for children and the elderly.

Now, just a year later, the world’s media has largely ignored the ‘post-disaster’ impact of ‘Japan’s earthquake and tsunami’ on the people of Tohoku.

Alas, Otsuchi’s residents and refugees cannot forget so easily, as evidence of destruction and displacement lies all around them. It’s not just the damaged buildings and vacant plots, once filled with life, laughter and livelihoods. It can also be found within hearts and minds –  in private spaces, where memories and half-remembered dreams paint painful pictures of how things were and should have been…

But they are a hardy lot, these people of the North East: and their desire to recover and restart is becoming stronger.

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances…” William Shakespeare; ‘As You Like It’

In Otsuchi, their hilltop community center has taken on added significance because local people need a place where some form of cultural activities and art can offer ‘escape’ and happiness, if only for a little while, from the world outside.

Unfortunately, those torn curtains are a constant and unpleasant reminder of terrible times… as this short video will explain.

Jeffrey Jousan uploaded the video so that others can learn of this project to replace the curtains on the stage (and upstairs too, from what I recall.) If  you can help financially in any way, then details of how to do so are below the video on YouTube.

You can also help to spread the message of this video’s existence by:

– Adding a ‘thumbs up’ to show you liked the video on YouTube.

– Emailing the link to your friends.

– Sharing the link on FaceBook and on Twitter (it’s easy to do from the YouTube Page.)

– Retweeting this post, clicking the Google+ icon, Stumbling it, or by FaceBook ‘Liking it’ .

The Seven Summits – No, Make that Eight…

My plan to help is by ‘stair-climbing’ the equivalent of the seven summits on a 28 meters high, nine-storey building, in Tokyo.

Technically, there should be just seven of these mountains – one for each continent. But when has that ever stopped humans from disagreeing about anything?

Take a look at this screenshot from the ‘seven summits’ Wikipedia page:

seven summits mountainsI’ll make it ‘easy’ on myself by ascending all eight peaks.

That works out to be 45,542 meters OR 1,627 times up the stairs.

The goal is to finish it by 31 March 2013 or sooner (starting on Monday 2 April; I’m in ‘training’ at the moment…)

All being well, and at 1 yen per meter, I plan on giving 45,542 Yen (about US $ 542, at today’s rate) to Otsuchi Community Center’s ‘Curtains of Love’ Project. Of course, they might have raised the money before I finish. If they do, well, I’ll find another project (through my contacts with volunteers on the ground) and help that one. However, their fundraising goal is an ambitious one – even though local craftsmen will provide labor for free; the amount of quality, curtain material required is quite large; and is therefore expensive.

If you’d like to donate ‘in step’ with me, please do so. Leave a comment here or contact me privately. Heck, do it anonymously, it’s the inner drive to help that really counts, not the world’s acknowledgement. I’ll post updates on this blog every time one of the seven er, eight, summits is completed.

Note for Bloggers and Other Publishers: I encourage you to repost this blog as long as the content remains unaltered, including all hyperlinks. If you translate it to another language, please include a link to this original post in English.

– Mark McClure

PS: (2012-04-07 Update: I’ll update the climb status – probably on a monthly basis – in the comments.)

PPS: (2012-11-27) Passed the 50% milestone today.
Just 811 ascents (49.8%) to go 🙂

8-Summits Stair Climb Otsuchi

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About the Author

Author: Mark McClure is a science fiction author who lives in Tokyo, Japan.

Current project: A three-book series of novels involving time travel, parallel worlds and emerging technologies. All being well, these will be published in the 2018 timeline. Visit my blog for updates: My Books

3 comments on “Seven Summits And Otsuchi’s Curtains of Love
  1. Mark McClure says:

    Completed on Fri 25th October 2013
    Cumulative meters climbed 45,556
    October’s total climbs = 75
    Total number of climbs = 1627
    Separate blog post to come later.

    Nearly there now…
    Cumulative meters climbed 44,800 (98.4%)
    October’s total-to-date is 48 (calf injury)
    September’s total was 71
    August’s total was 8 (heat and ex-Japan)
    July’s total was 8 (heat and ex-Japan)
    June’s total was 78

    May’s total was 45 (left knee issue)
    Cumulative meters climbed to date: 38,780 (85.2%)
    Starting to heat up on that staircase.

    April’s total was 74.
    Cumulative meters climbed to date: 37,520 (82.4%)

    March’s total was just 40. (Two weeks’ holiday…)
    Total completed 1246 (76.5%); 361 (23.5%) to go.

    February’s total was 91.
    Total completed 1226 (75.3%); 401 (24.7%) to go.

    2013-02-04 Mon:
    January’s total was 151 (a monthly record – by 9!)
    Total completed 1135 (69.8%); 492 (30.2% to go).
    Total monthly climb in meters: 4228
    Even at 150/month it will take at least 3 months (Feb,Mar,Apr) to finish. The goal was to complete by Mar 31st.

    2012-12-28 Fri:
    December’s total was 142 (a monthly record – by one!)
    Total Completed 984 (60.5%); 643 (39.5%) to go.
    Didn’t make December’s goal of 175 ascents or better but only 16 more to reach 1,000!
    Total monthly climb in meters: 3976
    Climbs resume again from Jan 7th. Happy hols!

    2012-12-03 Mon:
    November’s total was 141 (a monthly record even though was ill for 4 of the days, and did zero climbs.)
    Completed 842 (51.8%); 785 (48.2%) to go.
    Passing the half way mark felt good.
    Achieved November’s goal.
    Total monthly climb in meters: 3948
    December’s goal: 175 ascents or better… phew, need a sledge and reindeer 😉

    2012-10-31 Wed:
    October’s total was 140 (this is also a monthly record)
    Achieved September’s goal
    Total completed to date: 701 (43%)
    Number remaining: 926
    Next main goal: Break 50% (813 remaining)

    2012-09-28 Fri:
    September’s total was 133
    Total completed to date: 561 (34.5%)
    Number remaining: 1066
    Next main goal: Break 1000

    2012-08-31 Fri:
    August’s total was 46
    Total completed to date: 428 (26.3%)
    Number remaining: 1198
    Next main goal: Break 1000

    2012-08-03 Fri:
    Heat and humidity hitting the forecasted plan rate.
    August is likely to be lower still because I;m away for a few weeks.
    Going to be a busy last three months of the year…
    July’s total was 59.
    Total completed to date: 382 (23.4% of total)

    2012-07-03 Tue:
    For June, I completed another 83 of 1627 ascents.
    Total completed to date: 323 (19.8%)

    2012-06-04 Mon:
    For May, I completed another 130 of 1627 ascents.
    Total completed to date: 240 (14.8% of total.)
    That’s approx 7.4% per month and translates to 13.5 months for the challenge.
    However, the goal’s to do it in less than 12 month…

    Some hot, sweaty climbing to come in the July-Sep timeframe .

    2012-04-30 Mon:
    For April, I completed 110 of 1627 ascents (6.8% of total)

    2012-04-09 Sat:
    Completed 11 of 1,627 ascents (0.07%).
    Getting warm on the staircase.
    Each ascent/descent cycle takes 3 minutes.

  2. Sharon Davis says:

    What a wonderful idea! Thank you for helping the people of Otsuchi. Fukkatsu Otsuchi!

    [Sharon, Every little helps, and I’ll also get to know a staircase very well!

    I had a look at Fort Bragg’s people have been very generous in their support for Otsuchi. Thank you too!


  3. Mark McClure says:

    Update: Thanks to readers who have shared this post via FaceBook, Stumbleupon, Twitter and word-of-mouth.

    I’ve a few other ideas to give the ‘Curtains of Love’ project a wider audience and will share when/if appropriate.

    ‘Stair-climbing’ practice continues this week. Did 10 sets today of 3 x 3 climbs + 1 climb on the way into the building. Once up-and-down the nine floors takes 3 mins; so that’s 30 minutes of exercise too!
    The daily goal’s to hit at least 10 ascents daily… or approx 200/month.

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