"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hard to watch

Footage shot in Minamisanriku, a town of about 20,000 more or less erased by the March 11 tsunami. So far only about half of the residents have been found alive. My in-laws live about 30 km inland from here.

It sorta puts stories about Donald Trump running for president, Charlie Sheen and royal wedding in perspective, doesn't it?


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In which it is revealed that I am now a best-selling author and a new Spiritual Leader of the Moment(tm) is crowned

Our Man in Abiko, who laboured at the same Great Metropolitan Newspaper that I did for many years, though at a different time than I, is someone I have known slightly for some time now. I came across his eponymous blog looking for other expat bloggers in Tokyo and we discovered out mutual employment history rather by accident. 
He has been a supporter of the Woodshed for several years now and even posted some of my Sunday sermons way back when. On a personal level, Our Man was very supportive and encouraging when I was transitioning from "Staff Writer"to "layabout expat" and then to "former expat." 
Most recently, Our Man is the man behind 2:46, best known by its Twitter hashtag #Quakebook. He has successfully herded the cats together and created a work of art and altruism. Nobody is making a single shekel off this book, except the Red Cross. He won't even release his real name in connection with it, although as an aspiring novelist the publicity would certainly help him. He is not the only person responsible for #Quakebook - many have laboured to edit, assemble, lay out, proof and otherwise process and promote the work gathered from writers - including me - whose brief pieces make up the book, but the whole thing started with Our Man and His Idea.
For services above and beyond the call of duty, for service over self-interest and for holding down the Abiko bureau in time of crisis, the Woodshed salutes Our Man in Abiko and proclaims him our Spiritual Leader of the Moment.

In other breaking news, the aformentioned Quakebook  put together by Our Man and his team, to which I contributed in my small way, is now a bona fide best seller.

I had faith that the Twitter-germinated #Quakebook would do reasonably well, but in its first day of release it has already zoomed to #7 #6 on the Amazon non-fiction charts. I realize that I am merely riding the coattails of the established heavy hitters like William Gibson and Yoko Ono and the authorial young guns like Barry Eisler and Jacob Adelstein, who have already made their best-seller bones, but my name is there in the table of contents and my piece is mentioned in the editorial descriptions for the book listing. 
As of yesterday, the ebook was available for Kindle. You can get free apps for your smartphones and  computers to enable you to read it without laying out for a Kindle Reader. Amazon is donating its services to host and distribute the book on Kindle, so 100% of your money is going to the Red Cross to help people in Japan in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck at 2:46 p.m. on March 11.

Go. Buy. Now. Help Japan.

#quakebook featuring Scala & Kolacny Brothers and Kings of Leon from Quakebook on Vimeo.

Update: My Virtually Speaking Sunday:Maple Syrup Edition interview with Our Man in Abiko can be found here.