Japan comes togetherApologies for not updating the past couple weeks, but given the events that have occurred in Japan since March 11th, I’m sure it’s understandable. I have been working very hard with AX Live to get the latest accurate news out to the public asap. It was by chance that most of the crew, including myself, were at the SPJA offices the night of the 9.0 quake and subsequent major aftershocks (we planned on re-wiring the set that night). Once we heard about the fourth and fifth quake, our CEO stated “you’re on the air in five”. After a quick flurry of emails/txts and a hasty re-wiring, we were live on the air (read: internet). Usually, we like to have fun during our shows, but in this instance we all snapped to reporting mode; Bryan was streaming multiple news programs from Japan, Frances was looking for reports of anyone in the Anime/Manga/Figure industries that were ok, and I was giving updates on the latest info we received regarding the quakes, the tsunamis, and the eventual nuclear issues. Even our Executive Producer, Michael, jumped on and helped with the reporting so we could all take quick breaks. We were able to get ahold of several of our friends who live in Japan to confirm they were safe. Many of them were able to jump on our broadcast via skype to give a first-hand account of the quake and subsequent events. All in all, we broadcasted for 6 hours (10pm-6am PST) and covered the crisis as best we could; calm, informative, accurate. Thank you to all who joined us so late at night and sent us reports that we could share on the air. I am sure that many of you have already been well-informed about the crisis, including the aftermath of the quake/tsunami and the ongoing nuclear issues at Fukushima, so I will not try to recap here. What I do want to cover, is how Japan (including the Anime/Manga community) have come together in support of those affected. I first have to give massive thanks to Anime News Network for their ongoing updates of who is ok and what the community is doing to help. They have been on top of this since the moment it happened. You can find a list of those in the Anime/Manga community that have checked in (in one way or another) to say that they’re ok here. There has been an overwhelming amount of funds donated by several companies to help those affected. Square Enix donated over 100 million yen. Good Smile Company teamed up with Max Factory to donate 10 million yen and are hosting an auction of very rare and collectible items for charity. Major companies like Fedex ($1mil), Zynga ($2.2mil), and Volkswagon ($2.8mil) have been donating like crazy. Even major hollywood actors/actresses are giving generously; Gwen Stefani and Sandra Bullock each donated $1million each. With all of these companies donating an incredible amount of money to help the victims of the quake/tsunami, an equally amazing number of charity events happening around the world in order to raise money/awareness. I was fortunate enough to check out “We Heart Japan” on March 17th. This event was created by voice actress Stephanie Sheh, and was able to bring in a number of her fellow VA’s to help raise awareness and funds for the victims. The unofficial One Piece Podcast crew in New York hosted a 24-hr podcast marathon this past weekend (something that AX Live was able to participate in) and ended up raising over $31,000. They plan on hosting several mini-marathons in the near-future to increase that amount. There are dozens of prayer vigils and charity events popping up online every day. Now, given the large number of charities asking for donations to help Japan, which one do you choose? While they are (mostly) all great charities, the money is held up by red tape and other “bureaucratic necessities” before heading over. What I suggest is to donate directly to the Japanese Red Cross. Google has graciously provided a page where you can donate directly to the JRC and other charities. Our hearts and minds go out to the victims of these tragic events. I hope for a speedy recovery for a country that has given us so much over the years.
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