90 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disaster can tear lives apart and bring people together.
I'm in no way an objective reviewer of this book since I contributed a piece to it and I know many of the people who brought it together. On March 11th at 2:46 pm, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, followed by massive tsunami devastated Japan and nuclear reactors in Fukushima Prefecture. The estimated death toll is expected to reach 40,000. It is a tragedy of such magnitude...
Published on April 12, 2011 by Jake Adelstein
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well intentioned, but not very good reading
I'm sorry to say that my view of this book is aligned with many of the other 1 to 3 star reviewers--the stories (being really short, some of them only 1 paragraph) get a bit boring after a while, because they don't have much depth.
Maybe they shouldn't have much depth, since the whole book was thrown together in a week as a collection of really short viewpoints...
Published 8 months ago by kkkwj
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90 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disaster can tear lives apart and bring people together.,
This review is from: 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake (Kindle Edition)I'm in no way an objective reviewer of this book since I contributed a piece to it and I know many of the people who brought it together. On March 11th at 2:46 pm, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, followed by massive tsunami devastated Japan and nuclear reactors in Fukushima Prefecture. The estimated death toll is expected to reach 40,000. It is a tragedy of such magnitude that it's hard to wrap your head around it. Numbers are numbers. They have no face; it is hard to feel for figures. Quakebook tells the story of this earthquake and the aftermath in art, essays, short memoirs, and photographs. Each story is moving its own way. There are accounts from those who directly suffered, those who were left in limbo waiting to find out if their loved ones were missing or dead. There are stories of those who could not but help leave Japan after the earthquake as well. Some of the essays are painful to read. The piece "Positive" is simply about one man watching a news broadcast of a rescue attempt going badly and how he could not watch the rest. If you read it, you'll understand why. There are some thing we do not want to know but perhaps should know. That's for each person to decide. It is not only a book of mourning; it is a book of hope. The book came into existence because one man felt like he could not stand by and do nothing. This book began with his idea and took shape through the hard work of many others. People made enormous sacrifices to make this book into a reality.
Amazon went to great lengths to ensure that all proceeds from this book go directly to the Japan Red Cross, which aids the victims in Japan in many ways. They are not taking a single cent. It is a tremendous act of corporate altruism.
The writing quality in the book is uneven. There are typos as well--the book was rushed together while the memory of the disaster was fresh in the minds of people and also because there are many who still need medical aid, food, blankets, support right now, not months later. Some entries are poorly worded but the sentiments are heart-felt. Yes, there is disparity in the quality of the writing. This is to be expected; this is not a book written by professional journalists or novelists.
These are pieces from Japanese citizens, foreign residents, bystanders, witnesses, journalists,artists, and people who are tied to Japan in often nebulous ways. What they have in common is a love for this country, Japan, and for humanity. All proceeds go to charity.
I'm very fond of Japanese proverbs and there's one that sums up this book quite beautifully. "Nasake wa hito no tame narazu". It's difficult to translate but what it means is this: the kindness we bestow on others benefits not only them but in some ways ourselves as well. I've often felt the best way to mourn the dead is to help those who remain. Reading this book is one way to do it.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very touching account of a great disaster,
This review is from: 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake (Kindle Edition)I followed the events that led to the creation of that book from TV and from the Internet. As the book was written by people who experienced the quake, tsunami and nuclear event, I find it very moving when reading.
In each page, in each testimonial, in each picture, I feel the pain and the hope of all. It is not a book you can or need to read from cover to cover. Browsing is also an alternate way of reading.
Reading this book is also a way for all to fund the Red Cross of Japan.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope for Japan,
This review is from: 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake (Kindle Edition)It may be premature to call this ebook a phenomenon, but it has long succeeded the level of mere amazing achievement. What began as the efforts of one man to chronicle the short stories of those who experienced the Great Eastern Japan has grown into a global community and movement to raise awareness of the people affected and how we all can help. This is not an easy read. However, if you want to come closer to understanding the moment Japan's trajectory was forever altered, you need to read this book. More importantly, if you want to understand more about the remarkable spirit of the Japanese people, you need to read this book. What can you do to help Japan recover - read this book.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazed,
This review is from: 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake (Kindle Edition)I am amazed by the quality of the writing and powerful emotions this book evokes.
This is more than just a collection of stories to raise money to help those affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami. This book is also a snapshot today's world and the power of social media.
This book came together so quickly; people around the world contributed to this project via technology. A month (almost to the minute) after I heard about the great quake, I was able to download this book to my kindle. As soon as it downloaded, I sat and read the entire book. I couldn't put it down. It's very powerful to me to think of how the book was produced and make reading it all that more poignant.
The quality of the writing is excellent. These are first hand accounts by people who experienced the events. The photos and illustrations show clearly on my Kindle 3. There is an interactive menu (which is always good). The only improvement I might suggest, is to make it so that one can flip between stories using the 5-way controller.
I would recommend this book to everyone. It's the first item to receive a 5 star review from me. In my opinion, it's worth far more than that.
Well done everyone who contributed to this project.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proud to be Part of this Effort,
This review is from: 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake (Kindle Edition)I'm amazed at the speed with which the creators of this moving account of the Touhoku quake were able to put the book together, proud to have contributed the foreword, and grateful to Amazon for ensuring that 100% of the proceeds go to earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan. As I say in the foreword: "If my books have been love letters to Japan, this one is more an SOS." Thanks for heeding it.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With Tears of Joy,
This review is from: 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake (Kindle Edition)To actually experience a magnitude 9 earthquake is an unimaginably terrifying thing. Those few moments of heart-stopping fear are burned forever into my mind. But I was in Tokyo and, when the building stopped bucking like an out-of-control fairground ride, I was able to walk home and hug my wife and baby.
Thousands in the North East were not so lucky. Their stories didn't all end with tears of joy.
As the true horror of the tragedy began to unfold before our eyes, there was a need to find a way to fill that void - this book was the result of that yearning expressed by so many, so often in 140 characters or less. It was uplifting just to watch it unfold and grow on twitter from the germ of an idea into something amazing.
This is not just some charity book. The works in here are touching and empathic, they will transport you through those dark moments of horror and back into hope for the future of this beautiful nation.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A drop in the bucket of disaster relief,
This review is from: 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake (Kindle Edition)As a member of the Quakebook team of volunteers and a contributor of an article to the book, I undoubtedly cannot be objective in my review. I would, however, like to offer a little insight into the work behind the scenes an address a couple of concerns you may have.
What began as a simple tweet and post from fellow Japan blogger 'Our Man in Abiko' quickly blossomed into something much bigger, with articles and offers of assistance pouring in from people around the world. Initially being an English-language, net-based project, I was concerned that the content would come entirely from the community of foreigners living in or around Tokyo. I'm glad to see that this is not the case. While there are indeed many stories from an outsider's perspective, both from people living in Japan and from others who observed the tragedy across continental borders and seas, there are a healthy number of accounts penned by Japanese people themselves, including some stories from the worst hit areas of Fukushima and Sendai.
Grandfather Hibiki from Sendai writes "[R]ather then telling healthy old folk that you will support them, it would cheer them more to say that you'll strive to get through this together." There are similar heartfelt accounts from the younger generation. May Arai from Kamakura tells us that she was happy to be able to attend her graduation ceremony, even despite it being in the middle of a blackout. The staff from Soso Bureau in Futaba, one of the cities closest to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant pen their thoughts and hopes for the future. And one man, Yuichiro Ito from the city of Kesennuma, Miyagi talks about finding 260,000 yen in cash amongst the rubble.
One might also criticise the book for not offering more flexibility in where the money is donated to. With such a time-sensitive project, the aim was to get something out there that could benefit people in the stricken areas as quickly as possible. Many people feel utterly useless living thousands of miles away from the disaster scenes, but want to do something. The decision was made to simplify the process and donate all proceeds to the Japanese Red Cross. Substantial efforts were made and we succeeded in convincing giants like Amazon to waive their fees when selling the book so that it could be a true item of charity.
The goal then has always been to provide some help to those in need and buying the book is just one small way to do that. With the aftershocks still arriving day after day and the situation at the Fukushima plant still serious, disaster relief efforts look set to continue for many months ahead. I would encourage everyone to consider their own unique ways of contributing, even if they cannot do so financially.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond good and bad,
This review is from: 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake (Kindle Edition)Like Jake Adelstein (the guy right below me) I'm not objective about this book. Even if I didn't have personal reasons to relate to it though, I'd still find it an extraordinary work. "2:46 Aftershocks" (or #quakebook as most people on Twitter know it) is a time-capsule of the day that changed the history of Japan in a way only comparable to August 15, 1945; more so, it's a testimonial that even in these extremely corporate times, the Internet can still be the grounds for something must bigger and nobler than branding and financial growth.
The book can't (and shouldn't) be judged with the standard criteria of what constitutes a good book (although it's still a very good book and a fascinating read) in the same way that Alfred Eisenstaedt's "V-J Day in Times Square" can't be judged with the standard criteria of what constitutes a good photograph. I'm not sure I can tell why to someone who hasn't read it; spare something less than 10 bucks and find out yourself. And yes, all $9.99 go to the Japanese Red Cross for the 150.000 people who literally can't even afford to bury their dead.
Hands down, one of the most important things on the Internet today.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twitter's place in community activism cemented by this project,
This review is from: 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake (Kindle Edition)I appreciate the full disclosure from Jake Adelstein and others who were involved in this project. These are credible people with big hearts and their reviews are worth noting and should not be ignored out of fear of some conflict of interest. Nobody is making a dime off of this and we all need to focus on the task at hand: helping the victims of the devastating quake and tsunami that ravaged NE Japan. This humble review is slightly more impartial, as I don't know any of these people in person, at least not yet!
For me, 3/11/11 also quickly became a frightening day as of 2:46 pm. I was at home in my apartment, where I do most of my freelance work. The shaking was like nothing I'd experienced in Japan before in my almost five years here. And it started to seem like it would never end. From the 23rd floor, while swaying all over the place, books falling to the floor from shelves, cupboards and drawers swinging open in the kitchen, I could see hundreds of people gathering in the streets, looking quite panic-stricken, and it wasn't over yet. I felt scared for my life, to be honest. Then came the aftershocks. It was nerve-wracking. My cats bailed on me and I felt I might die alone if this got any worse. I could see a large building was on fire somewhere off in the distance, in the Odaiba area, and black smoke was billowing up into the Tokyo sky. After the wobbling and trembling had, for the most part, abated, I went on-line.
The day quickly became a tragic one. I learned of the devastation in the coastal regions of the Tohoku area of Japan. News started to spread of a devastating tsunami. Soon, I felt less for my safety and was feeling my heart squeezed as stories were revealed about the incredible losses of lives, homes, entire communities and towns, and a profound sense of utter helplessness replaced my fear. As an international resident in Japan, I didn't know how I could do anything to help. Eventually I created a Facebook page to reach out to others, to find a way to volunteer myself and my time to do anything at all. And, with time, and thanks to Twitter, I found the community behind what was being referred to as #Quakebook and learned about how that project was quickly unfolding.
The final product is more than I had anticipated for a book put together in such haste. The care with which the stories in 2:46: Aftershocks were gathered, organized and laid out is very apparent. Even if this e-book had turned out to be junk, I'd have paid anyway, first to support the tireless efforts of this amazing community of people connected through microblogging and, second, to get that $9.99 to the Japanese Red Cross, because this relief work won't be finished for a really long time, and people are still in very desperate shape. Remember, most of them have little or nothing left. No homes to return to, no jobs, very little clothing and no way to acquire food, even if it was easily available, which it isn't.
So kudos to @ourmaninabiko and all those who willingly gave their time and energy to make this the success that it is quickly becoming (and YOU, too, should join in and make history with the rest of us who are supporting the cause by purchasing this historic book). And kudos to Twitter, for being such a useful technological tool for helping people form legitimate, functional communities that can work together for positive social action; we can take care of people much more quickly now if we so desire, thanks to this wonderful social networking tool.
Buy your copy today. No Kindle necessary. Just download the Kindle software for your PC or Mac.
Mark of Gaijin Relief Volunteers ([...])
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and therapeutic,
This review is from: 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake (Kindle Edition)As someone who experienced the initial quake in Tokyo, it was fascinating to read about others' experiences of that day. It was also a relief to read that others shared the same feelings as I did - shock, disbelief, helplessness and guilt.
I would encourage everyone to purchase this worthwhile publication and I thank its creators for their efforts to compile such a personal record of this disaster.
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2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake by The quakebook community