Posts Tagged ‘earthquake’

Flexible Focus #53: WA JAPAN Project

by William Reed on May 12, 2011

I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.

~Jewish Proverb

In the first article of this series, we introduced the Mandala Chart as a tool for continuous improvement, an art of flexible focus, a way of life. Yet what does one do when lives and livelihoods are swept away in a single hour, leaving a trail of destruction by an unimaginable force?

The dramatic destruction of the earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan on March 11 were reported worldwide on television, as day by day estimates of the dead and the missing climbed from hundreds to thousands, to tens of thousands. And yet while the after effects threaten to bring the world’s third largest economy to its knees, somehow the Japanese people have risen in the spirit of their own proverb, Seven times down, Eight times up.

People around the world have marveled at Japan’s inner strength in the face of adversity, yet it cannot be explained solely by stoicism, determination, or experience. Many countries have experienced calamity, and many of them have rallied in crisis, but even so the way people have responded to the current crisis in Japan has caused people to think deeply on the life lessons to be learned from it.

Most of this has focused on the orderliness and cooperation, the calmness, dignity, and sacrifice observed, as if nature’s force had brought out the best side of human nature, rather than it’s worst.

Many living in Japan who were spared the worst which they witnessed, feel a deep moral calling to help, to do whatever we can at whatever level to lighten the load. Likewise, many people around the world who watched the calamity on television feel a deep desire to help, and yet lack the means to make a personal connection.

We started the WA JAPAN Project to provide a bridge across which people can contribute and feel connected to the culture, as well as develop a deeper appreciation for Japan’s Inner Strength, through the power of calligraphy, poetry, and art on 10 Meanings of WA, the character which represents Harmony, Pliancy, and the country of Japan itself.

Readers of this column will be familiar with how the Mandala Chart is designed to help you achieve abundance in the 8 fields of life: Health, Business, Finance, Home, Society, Personal, Study, and Leisure. To live in abundance in 8 fields of life is to feel connected at the common edge. By serving those on the other side, you honor that connection by sharing something of your own.

Heraclitus, the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher whom some consider to be the Lao Tzu of the West, said that hidden connections are stronger than obvious ones. Through your connection of understanding and appreciation, and through your contribution and generosity measured by your intent, you will create a kizuna connection 紲 or literally the threads 糸 that bind the world 世

Poetry and calligraphy are a way to connect with yourself as well. The brush strokes are connected in space by an energy line known as the kimyaku 気脈 which exists in poetry as well, as the energy and emotion which bind the words and carry the deeper meaning. The calligraphy, poems, and artwork we created for the 10 Meanings of WA are special, because they are connected to the crisis, and were inspired by the remarkable energy at the roots of Japanese culture, the same energy which is helping them to cope and to have hope, to survive and again to thrive.

We sincerely hope that you will visit the WA JAPAN Project Page, make a contribution in any amount of your choice, then follow the links and download the 10 Meanings of WA, an ebook of our calligraphy, poetry, and artwork, in full color and beautiful design.

We have arranged it so that you can decide the amount of the donation, so that more people can participate in our project, and we hope to attract the support of thousands of people, who will help us reach our target of raising ₤30,000, or about $50,000 for the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.


From Morse codes to cellular phones, from x86 processors to Intel’s i7 processors and from email to social media, mankind has come a long way. All these methods have one thing in common – need to connect. And the most important thing we forget is that though these devices and technologies are designed to improve productivity, they are serving the basic human need to communicate. And the litmus test for all these advancements is when you can use them during crisis situations.

The recent crisis in Japan is a reminder to us to that Technology can be a boom and a curse.

When a nuclear reactor has radiation leak, it makes it impossible to justify benefits of nuclear power even if it is designed for making the world Green or Safe. After all, what is the point if families inhabiting that place will virtually never be able to go there for decades due to the radiations. And then technology renders the only way to either give your location in a crisis or communicate with your loved ones.

In the recent Japan quake, all the telephone lines got disconnected, earthquake knocked out electricity supplies, interestingly Internet availability remains relatively unaffected, according to a blog post from Internet monitoring company Renesys. And what is most compelling is that Japan turned to social media for connecting with their loved ones. Less than an hour after the quake, the number of tweets from Tokyo topped 1,200 per minute, according to Tweet-o-Meter. This is where the Twitter strategy to follow hashtags simply rocks. Check out #Japan #tsunami #earthquake.

Social Media sites such as Twitter & Facebook have also made it possible for people to get and provide real time help. There are numerous messages that provide links to charities for folks who want to make a contribution to organizations who are helping the affected folks. Then, there is also a “Trust” factor on sites like facebook – If a facebook friend of mine endorses a charity organization, chances are there is an implicit trust that I will have in doing the same… which basically helps the affected folks get help, quickly!

Also, people found it easier to share their stories on Facebook stories page. Facebook again became instrumental in not only connecting friends and family but also became a broadcast channel for people to share their updates and checkin with their friends. There was a positive outcome other than news and analysis since REAL people were able to connect.

In this mix, Youtube and blogs became instrumental in giving people eyes into the disaster ridden areas with the help of citizen journalism.