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:
I’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