You’ve all heard the news about the destruction the earthquake and tsunami has brought upon Japan. I lived and taught in the Miyagi Prefecture for a year, and I even went to a surfing competition there. The beach, located in Koizumi, is probably now filled with debris and corpses.
I am disappointed to see a lack of support from the action sports community. Japan has given us several amazing action sports athletes: snowboarders Kazuhiro Kokubo (who must be going through a rollercoaster of emotions having just won the Burton U.S. Open this past weekend) and Soko Yamaoka, FMX rider Taka Higashino, motocross racer Sayaka Kaneshiro, freeskiier Ryo Shibasaki, and in-line skaters Eito and Takeshi Yasutoko. It’s time we show our support for them and for a country that embraces action sports. Please consider donating your money to the American Red Cross or another disaster relief organization. I have compiled links at my Japanese pop culture blog: click to find the many ways you can help.
This is not to say the whole community has not responded to this tragedy.. Japanese surfer/triathlete and founder of Index Wetsuits Ikki Fujiwara has set up a fund. He has also revealed that Damien and C.J. Hobgood have shown their support. (The computer I’m on right now doesn’t support Japanese characters so I can’t try to figure out what the post says.)
Other athletes have used Twitter to either express their sympathies and/or get fans to donate to Red Cross. Here are just a selection of tweets.
- Gretchen Bleiler – “Still can’t believe what happened in Japan. Let’s help them out~donate $10 to Japan relief just text REDCROSS to 90999”
- Steve Caballero – “Japan had an earthquake leaving many without food & NOT ONE case of looting recorded, the world can learn sumthin from these awesome people!” – retweeted by Chad Kagy
- Ronnie Faisst – “Wow! Praying for everyone in Japan! Hope all my homeboys and there families over there are safe!”
- Taka Higashino – “Just got land LA from bonjour Japan is now crazy !!! So sad !!!!”
- T.J. Schiller – “Oh my god – my prayers go out to everyone over there. Be safe!” – He also had a message in Japanese to Ryo Shibasaki and was retweeted by Justin Dorey.
- Kelly Slater – “wavesforwater is going into action. Trying to find connections in Japan to help any way they can. If you have good info, please tweet them.”
- Hannah Teter – “HELP JAPAN. I am. Text “Red Cross” to 90999 =$10 on bill, or donate here http://bit.ly/RedXJap Save The Children”
- Shaun White – “My thoughts are with the people of Japan today. I hope all my friends are safe. Contact me when you can please! – http://say.ly/LPSbpM”
Listening to: “Hanamizuki” by Yo Hitoto