Archive | April, 2011

Quakebook on sale now

12 Apr

This is the moment we have all been dreaming about and working so hard for: 2:46 – Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake is now on sale. Let me rephrase that.


The Kindle ebook is available to buy from anywhere in the world at or You don’t even need a Kindle. Just go to the order page and download (for free) a Kindle reader for your Mac, PC or smart phone.

The book is $9.99. In some cases, the price may be quoted as $11.99 for international customers. But Amazon has assured Quakebook that any international handling fees will be reimbursed.

Every single penny that you spend on Quakebook will go directly to the Japanese Red Cross. Nothing for Amazon, nothing for Quakebook. Everything for the survivors of the Japan disasters.

I’d just like to say two things:

1. Well done everyone involved in this, I’m so proud of all of you.
2. Buy the book, and tell the world to buy the book.

It makes a difference. You make a difference.

Our Man in Abiko

The Making of the #quakebook video

11 Apr

Like a lot of people shocked by the earthquake and tsunami, but living in Ireland with my Japanese wife Tomomi, I (@Crank_Dub) felt pretty far away and helpless. With limited news coming out for the first few days we were obsessively following the newsfeeds, blogs and Twitter for any snippet of information. It was while doing this that I just happened to see Ourmaninabiko’s first tweet, the one where he put his idea for the book out into the ether. I followed his subsequent tweets and it was like seeing little thought bubbles, like watching someone else think out loud.

Not being a writer and feeling that any written contribution I might make would be puerile, inadequate and, at best, semi-literate, I didn’t respond to Ourman’s request for submissions, but kept a weather eye on proceedings as they developed. Watching Ourman and his growing team of volunteers felt like the worldwide response to the quake, only in microcosm. However, unlike the foreign media who quickly became jaded and moved on, #quakebook stayed with the story.

When Ourman put out a request for translators, I alerted Tomomi and she was delighted that, at last, there was something tangible she could do. When a subsequent request went out for other volunteers, I felt I had to respond, expecting my involvement would be small and pretty limited. But like Silvio Dante in the Soprano’s, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”

During an online brainstorming session on Yammer one of the volunteers suggested making a promotional video and, since video is what I do for a living, I couldn’t in all conscience sit there and say nothing. But how could I even begin to promote Quakebook in the manner it deserved and, at the same time, respect the plight of the Japanese people? Like leaving your homework until Sunday night, I put it off for a couple of days, trying to figure out what to do.

It was seeing the amazing photographs taken by Max Hodges when he travelled into some of the affected areas just after the tsunami that clicked with me. I was particularly taken by his photographs of the ‘Small Things’, people’s everyday possessions now lying lost within the all pervasive mud. I contacted him and he very graciously gave permission for them to be used.

The second part of the puzzle was Scala and Kolacny Brothers, the amazing girls choir from Belgium, who recorded a truly heartfelt version of the Kings of Leon song ‘Use Somebody’. I uploaded the song to the computer, edited it down to 60 seconds, put it with Max’s photographs and, using an adapted Adobe After Effects template, pretty quickly compiled a rough video. I then tried the video with lots of other music and songs but the only piece that was perfect in every way, that made the video more than the sum of its parts, was ‘Use Somebody’.

The difficulty was, if I was going to use the song, I would have to get permission. Now we all know that famous bands get pestered constantly by people looking for a piece of them and I didn’t want to join that throng. But I figured I wasn’t asking for myself. I was borrowing the voices of those who survived the tsunami and asking on their behalf.

The Scala choir were immediately positive:

“”We would of course be more than happy to help, but this song is publishing controlled so you would need permission from the publisher”.

So, one step forward and two steps back into a world I use to work in. Knowing the music business, I was expecting it to be impossible to even find the right person to talk to, let alone get a response. But two guys, Rob Christensen of Bug Music and Steve Barton of Warner/Chappell publishing, responded quickly and positively. Rob researched who controlled all the bits of the publishing, contacted the Kings of Leon and, with the minimum of fuss, granted Quakebook a worldwide licence for 2 years to make a promotional video in multiple languages to advertise the book. When I thanked him and his company on behalf of Quakebook, he responded

“We’re glad to help out and honestly, the majority of the credit should go to Kings of Leon for being willing to donate their song…”

With the publishing clearance obtained I again contacted Scala and Kolacny Brothers and Glenn Stone of their management team got back to me within a few hours:

“The group is happy to co-operate in a charitable endeavor to support Japanese quake relief.”

So a huge vote of thanks to all those who could have been difficult and unhelpful but instead immediately went out of their way to assist the people of Japan at this time. Thank you all so much.


Hope [Art]

11 Apr

Submitted by: Kwan-Yu “Luo”

Giant Robot interviews Our Man in Abiko

11 Apr

Eric Nakamura, editor and publisher of Giant Robot, does a superb interview with @ourmaninabiko for Mr. Nakamura’s blog. Please enjoy this excellent piece at the link below:

Giant Robot interview with Our Man in Abiko.

Still Shaking [Essay]

10 Apr

Three weeks ago, I was in this very room. I was already counting down the minutes until I could leave work and meet my friend for cake and a coffee to celebrate my birthday, a day late. Instead, I found myself stuck in a seemingly endless moment.

I have tried many times to write about that moment, that day, and the days after. But I have found it incredibly difficult to explain to those removed from it all what it was like. I gloss over the details because it is physically painful to remember, and even when I talk with those who were affected, the shared experience means those details don’t need to be recalled. But they are recalled, every day.

I was just over there, under my desk, watching loose-leaf paper carpet the floor, file cabinets topple over where I had just been sitting. I was clutching my cell phone in my left hand, and in my right I tried to hold the desk in place as it bounced on tiles that shook. Though I felt strangely calm in that moment, even now tears stream down my face as I recall the terror. The earth screaming. The ceiling cracking, falling, choking the air with dust. The wails of fear from those doubled over on the ground, covering their heads. The continuous sirens of emergency vehicles that would soon be joined by the whump-whump-whumps of helicopters overhead. The silence in the snow that fell after each strong aftershock and temporarily hid the cracks.

The English teacher who sits next to me, one I’ve taught with for the past year, was on his feet as soon as the building paused in its shaking. “Escape, escape!” he yelled at me. I obeyed, followed, ducked through the metal emergency doors that automatically seal off each floor in the event of a disaster. The teachers gathered in the roundabout in front of the school, all together but yet alone. Attendance was taken, names called out and repeated until everyone was accounted for.

I didn’t even notice the cold. I just stood there, watching everyone, watching them mash the buttons on their phones while doing the same myself. But it was no use—cell service was down, and there was no way for me to contact my husband. The shaking came in bursts, each one strong and adding to the palpable tension in the air. We waited outside for nearly an hour, waiting for a long enough pause that would allow us to gather our personal belongings and make our way home. I moved quickly, back to the third-floor staff room that had seemed so normal just a short time before. My locker had fallen over, crushed against others with just enough space between the floor and the knocked-open door to pull out my jacket. I put it on as I walked out of the building to where my bicycle lay on the ground.

People from a nearby apartment complex stood in the road, staring at bricks and smashed concrete that had fallen. The streetlights were out and traffic moved at a crawl. I didn’t notice the kaitenzushi restaurant that had caved into itself, or the kimono shop that no longer had any windows. I instead focused on dodging shards of glass, crumbled walls that were no longer freestanding. Pedal faster, I kept telling myself. Just get home and find him.

Our old concrete box of a building was surprisingly intact and I raced up the four flights of stairs, unlocked the apartment, and stepped into an unnatural mess. Cupboards and closets had emptied themselves, tossing their contents into the middle of each room. There was a stench that I couldn’t identify but would later find out was olive oil, cocoa, sake, and rum, all spilling from their broken containers to join the pile of glass and debris. I called out my husband’s name again and again, but there was no answer. The shock was beginning to wear off and I could feel the panic rising in my throat. I ran back downstairs, still calling for him, not seeing him in the small crowd of people across the street. But then I turned and there he was, walking up the driveway with a neighbor, safe. And that’s when I broke down, letting all the fear and worry and adrenaline spill out, exhausted from the weight of what had happened.

Three weeks ago, I was in this very room. And it feels like it’s still shaking.

Submitted by: Angela Shetler
Koriyama, Fukushima

Quakebook Editor Interviewed by News 1130 Vancouver

10 Apr

On Thursday, 7 April, News 1130 in Vancouver, British Columbia, interviewed Quakebook editor @ThatDanRyan for a short piece about the book. A clip from an audio interview also accompanies the article.

News 1130 Managing Editor Erin Loxam’s excerpts from an interview with a Quakebook editor

Quakebook Translations

8 Apr

Currently, there are people working on translating Quakebook into Japanese, French, Spanish, Greek, German and Portuguese. We are looking for Chinese translators too.

If you can help out, we would be very grateful so that Quakebook can reach the widest audience possible.

And if you can translate this post below into Japanese, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Chinese (or any other language!) that would also help.

Merci, thanks, gracias, danke, efharisto, arigato, obrigada…..

Get Ready for the Launch!

8 Apr

Whatever device you have, be it a Mac, Windows PC, Kindle, iPhone, Blackberry, you will shortly be able to read Quakebook for yourself.

Download the appropriate Kindle Reader here from Amazon.

Do it NOW and be ready!

Get involved – download the #quakebook flier!

8 Apr

Wondering what you can to do to support QuakeBook? We have our first flier for you to print out – download it here.

There are more posters to come….so crank up your printers and start preparing your windows, walls, car, local library, shops, schools, and businesses for QuakeBook promotions!

Thank you to the Quakebook editor who has produced this – @ThatDanRyan. The cover of the book itself is by James White and Edd Harrison.

If you have ideas for promotion and for Quakebook, please complete the volunteer form To all those who have completed that form, we are hugely grateful for your offers. If you haven’t received an invite to our Yammer community yet, it’s coming! We are marginally swamped but in a far more positive manner than those we are trying to support.

Ourman on the radio

8 Apr

Please tune in to this VS Sunday Canadian radio show – The Maple Syrup Edition – to listen to OurManinAbiko and revpaperboy talking about Quakebook.

The show, Virtually Speaking, is on BlogTalk Radio and will be aired SHORTLY.

It will also be available on itunes

Please show Quakebook your continuing support as we move towards the launch. Thank you.