Earthquakes: St. Louis and Japan: shaken, and stirred

Last week we in St. Louis felt our second earthquake here – well, some of us. At 3:00 a.m., many were soundly in dreamland, but I was sitting on the bed getting ready to tuck in after staying up way too late to finish a project. It seemed like a big truck was going by, rattling windows, except there was no truck around. The cat and I looked at each other. My daughter and her friend, upstairs still awake and chattering, had not even noticed!

The first earthquake I’ve ever felt happened here a few years ago, pre-dawn again, and was much more of a tooth-rattler than this one. I thought my husband was having a severe seizure, so realizing it was a mere earthquake was a relief. Even at 5.2 on the Richter, one daughter slept through it.

The last 4.2 quake made me think about the people in Japan still feeling some aftershocks of the big one that caused the triple disasters. For awhile, many were seasick from the ground rocking so much, so often. There is still a lot of suffering going on, and recently I read an article about the tsunami orphans. Sadly, the Japanese people are not so willing to adopt or foster children as many in the U.S. are – a cultural thing – and the kids will probably stay in an orphanage until they come of age, except the orphanages are a little overwhelmed now. I am happy to donate proceeds of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight sales to the Save the Children Japan relief fund.

The media soon forgets each tragedy, and thus so do we. But the people of Japan will be remembered through the book 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake. This Quakebook is the product of social networking. “Our Man in Abiko,” a British ex-journalist now living in Japan had the brilliant idea to collect memories of the earthquake and aftermath into a book. Via his blog and Twitter, volunteers and supporters and stories came pouring forth. The e-book version came out with all proceeds going to the Japanese Red Cross; now the e-book is free and an English-language print book is available via online stores or can be ordered from any U.S. bookstore. A bilingual English/Japanese print book is available in Japan via Amazon Japan (there is an English language button on the site) or check with U.S. Kinokuniya stores. Great Britain will soon get a print version, too. For more information view the Quakebook website or the Quakebook Facebook Page. Also, there is a wonderful website, Letters from Japan, full of poems and notes from the victims of the Japan earthquake to the world, in thanks for the outpouring of support – Thank you to Ayako for telling me about this.

Linda Austin
“Cherry Blossoms in Twilight”


About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; author of Poems That Come to Mind, for caregivers of dementia patients; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), poetry, and cats
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