Tuesday Mar 20

Side-by-Side Look at Destruction and Renewal in Japan

Last Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the Japan earthquake and tsunami. This series of photographs by Toru Yamanaka depict the destruction and recovery of nearly a dozen Japanese cities that were affected. An interactive slider accompanies each photograph, allowing viewers to glide back and forth between scenes of destruction and renewal, creating a truly unique visual experience. While the photographs of destruction are poignant and shocking, their more recent counterparts are heartwarming. It is truly amazing to see how Japan has recovered so much in only one-year’s time.

(Source: The New York Times)

Friday Mar 18

In 20-year-old, UC Riverside student Akiko Kosaka’s hometown, Minamisanriku, more than 17,000 residents are missing and presumed to be dead due to last week’s tsunami. It is, then, no surprise why Kosaka would be so happy to have found that all of her family members were alive and well through a video put on YouTube this past Sunday.

After failing to get through to her parents via telephone, Kosaka then heard from a friend in Japan who was watching the news and saw the very video of her 24-year-old sister, Shoko, waving a sign that reads: ”We are all safe” while standing on her house’s balcony surrounded by rubble. Shoko also yells to the cameraman, “I’m holding up the sign to tell my sister in the U.S. we are safe.”

Upon watching this news clip of her sister on YouTube, Kosaka said, “I screamed, and my host parents woke up and they thought it was really bad. They asked what happened. And I said, ‘They survived!’”

Kosaka claims to have watched this video too many times to count as tears comes to her eyes upon watching her sister yet again, proving that the Internet can often be a wondrous tool. (But also a dangerous one as well. Re: Alexandra Wallace’s ridiculousness.) In any case, here’s to more family reunions in light of all the destruction that has happened in this past week.

(On a somewhat related note, Forever 21 is currently donating 100% of their profit to tsunami relief efforts in Japan. Although this feature is ending soon - 11:59 PM tonight - if you get a chance, what a great way to vamp up your wardrobe while more importantly, putting your money where it’s needed.)

(Also, LivingSocial is currently matching people’s donations to the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami fund. 2 days left of this great opportunity. Donate the suggested $5 - or more - and they’ll also give $5.)

(Source: TIME)