Archive | May, 2011

Bilingual Quakebook Cover!

17 May

Things are well under way and details being finalised for the release of the physical book! As you have probably already heard, Quakebook will feature both the English and Japanese versions of all the stories in the same volume and will be available through

You can pre-order the book here!

The cover above is still just a draft and the final price yet to be officially decided, but it’s pretty close now. Stay tuned over the coming weeks.

The Atlantic interviews Our Man and @ThatDanRyan

17 May

File this one under “better late than never”.

On 25 April, The Atlantic published an interview with Our Man in Abiko and editor @ThatDanRyan. The interview was conducted by Atlantic associate editor Jared Keller, who has given Quakebook some of its best press. Read on:

Quakebook: The Twinterview

17 May

Time Out - Tokyo - Logo

On Thursday, 12 May, Time Out Tokyo published what Our Man likes to call a “crowd-sourced” interview.  In typical Quakebook fashion, he asked folks on Twitter what they wanted to know about the book, and what surprised them about it. After sifting through the best and most interesting input, here are Our Man’s answers to your questions:

Our Man in Abiko speaks to Radio Australia

16 May

“The keys to the printing press have been handed out to everybody.” Our Man in Abiko speaks to Radio Australia’s Connect Asia about the creation of Quakebook, and the growing journalistic relevance of social media:

Renga for Japan [Poem]

16 May

It was when I had
Just got home early from work,
My old man saying

Japan’s getting it I turned
Around to watch the box and

It was getting it
The pictures were live how strange
I thought watching it

Where this grey mouthed alien
Was now swallowing Japan

In real time I thought
To myself it’s like Manga
But that wasn’t smart

Or funny to say it out
Loud with no more Samurai

Boats were just too small
To resist and I thought of
All those pretty prints

That huge wave with its white curls
Striated and blue lines you know

The great Tsunami
Kanagawa, Hokusai
Such a rare view point

Not a wide mouthed Animé
Nightmare consuming

I saw the good news
A dog rescued from a roof
Radiation free

But now the days pass
Water claims a victory
Over man’s progress

I’m finding it hard to write
Or even mention the theft

Of whole villages
The thousands of lives stolen
How can I say this

Daring to whisper of those
Traces, once upon a time

There’s poison settling
But I hear its safe for now
No snow for children to play

There’s this shaded emptiness
Over the ants that scurry.

Text: © J. L. Nash, 2011

Submitted by: Jane Nash
Originally published in The Pandorian

The Roster [Poem]

15 May

Two hundred sixteen sheets
of printer paper plaster

the public gymnasium’s walls.
Some number command many

other eyes elsewhere in the shelter,
every scrap a make-shift of details

of what you cannot hold:
height weight gender hair length

last place seen last time seen
blurring in the blanks

of the roster checked
and checked and checked again.

Not to find a name is not to find nothing.

In the golden tallgrass on a hillock
outside town, soldiers prod and poke

with long, thin diviners’ rods
as snow freshens pines capped off

with fishers’ nets. They gather
and tag the morning’s remains.

Submitted by: Maureen E. Doallas
© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

Dreaming in the Field of Tohoku [Poem]

15 May

Her dream
was in the field

of water
it, too, bleached

an off-shore snow

of pearls
like beads

through sea grit

scrubbed smooth

as ice sheets
not yet

the spoils
of Tohoku


pulling up
raising a wall

of silence
glacial in attitude

the blast

meant to blind
the count

leave numbers
of bodies

a question mark.

and elsewhere

clouds mass
a white-out condition

as birds touching

or tears

masking the dazzle
of breath

giving as it’s given.

Submitted by: Maureen E. Doallas
© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

Tsunami Aftermath [Photos]

14 May

Tsunami effect









Submitted by: Douglas Wakimoto

Guilt [Essay]

12 May

The Ginza Line was pulling out of Ueno Station when the quake hit, jolting the train to a hard stop, then vibrating it like a car revving to free tyres from thick mud. For the first few moments I thought somebody must have thrown themselves under the train. Out on the platform, everything looked calm and still, and inside the train nobody seemed at all concerned.

Then the vibrating turned to violent shaking. The lights briefly flickered, and down the other end of the carriage someone screamed. The turbulence began to drain faces of colour.

I don’t remember how long it was before the announcement came from the driver. There had been a big earthquake, he said, and as the train still shock and jolted, people started reaching for cell phones. My hands were trembling and damp as I tried texting my wife. I hadn’t realized I was scared until then.

By the time the shaking had stopped and we were being led the through the puddles of water collecting on the Ginza Line platform and calmly ushered to street level, the first news was coming in. The epicenter was up in Tohoku. And it was big. I heard someone walking next to me say “Shindo 7” into his cell phone, with rising intonation that bordered on disbelief. I feel a sense of guilt thinking of it now, but I felt relieved when I knew it wasn’t our “big one”; that it was happening to Tohoku, not us. I guess that’s human nature. I hope it’s not just mine.

Out on the streets of Ueno I walked around aimlessly until I received a text back from my wife to say she and our son were safe, and with that all worry was purged by an enormous sense of elation. Then I stopped in front of a shop window where a small crowd was watching NHK.

There was no sound coming from the TV, just images of a dark liquid mass flowing steadily inland in Sendai, claiming everything it met. In one corner of the screen a map showed flashing tsunami warnings almost encircling the country. At one point a woman watching next to me wiped a tear from her cheek. I’d never seen a Japanese cry in the street until Ueno on 3/11. That’s when I began to realize what had happened up north. Everything had changed for them. Maybe that’s when the guilt started.

Submitted by: Rob Goss

Belief [Art]

3 May

A local artist organized a show for here in Boston on May 6. I was inspired to prepare the attached work with the proceeds of the sale to go to the victims.
The session was a wonderful experience for me and the model, Mihoko Hakata.

Submitted by: Bill Downey