Into Ibaraki

We received an emergency request for socks from North Ibaraki City, hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami, and located only 73 km (45 mi) south of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plants. We faced two questions: Was it safe to travel closer to the radiation, and could we justify using precious gasoline for such a long trip?

On the first question, we checked radiation levels for the area and found them to be eight times higher than near our base in Sano — but still safe enough for us to make a day trip into the area. Moreover, our goal is to get socks and care letters to victims and the victims can’t leave the area, so if the radiation was deemed low enough to leave victims in place then it was low enough for us to make the trip. We prepared by taking gear to wear in case the levels rose, and stayed in touch by cell phone with our base office where volunteer Rumiko monitored the situation.

On the second question, we decided to make an exception to our usual policy of operating within a short distance of our base to conserve gasoline. Due to an arrangement with a local gas station that’s hidden away and closed to the public, we can get gasoline in case of emergency. We were careful to make this arrangement so we didn’t take from public gasoline stocks and contribute to the crisis. The gasoline we use is not part of the public pool, and we use it judiciously. We calculated that we’d need a little less than one tank in an efficient car that’s large enough to carry 2,000 pairs of socks. We didn’t have that many in inventory on Monday, March 21 when we debated making the trip, but we had more than 1,000 pairs and decided the need was great enough and our ability to help sufficient enough to justify two volunteers in the field all day, one tank of gasoline, and exposure to higher levels of radiation. Here’s the route from Sano to Kitaibaraki City, which means North Ibaraki City:


Here’s where Kitaibaraki is located in relation to the Fukushima nuclear plants, with our base located at the lower left near Tochigi:


The volunteer who agreed to go with me was Yoshiko, who said she was more worried about seeing the devastation and meeting victims than she was about radiation exposure. We loaded up the car and drove past gas-station lines to the tollways we would take north, and were happy to find the tollways wide open and ready to transport supplies from NGOs and government — our driving on the road did not hinder any transportation. Here are shots of our journey north:

Photos of the drive to Kitaibaraki

I thought news footage had adequately prepared me to see the damage done, but it had not. We spoke very little as we drove through Kitaibaraki. Yoshiko’s quiet sobs were the only sound in the car as we rolled past lives ruined, through rubble where bodies recently lay, past crying people and official workers whose faces had gone stony to avoid constantly breaking down. “Focus, focus,” we told ourselves, but it was awfully hard to do through this scene:

Photos of damage in Kitaibaraki

When we arrived at city hall, workers informed us that about 40 people were staying on the second floor of that building and needed socks. They checked their maps for current demand to send us to the most needy locations. While they worked on that, we took socks to the people upstairs, past emergency signs and missing people reports posted at the entrance. Yoshiko received a radiation update by cell phone. Levels were low and we thought it rude to suit up around people living close to the reactors without suits, so we wore normal clothes and sometimes masks:

Photos of arrival at Kitaibaraki city hall

With map in hand and shelters prioritized by need, we set out through town. Our first stop was an athletic center that had been hastily converted into housing for the recently homeless. Heaps of donated clothing lay around the gymnasium, as we expected to find, but there was not a sock among them. We carried in our boxes, arranged them by category, and announced that we’d come to distribute new socks and care letters from around the world.

A charge of excitement rose up from the sad, stationary groups of people huddled on mats or curled up under blankets. They came over. “For us?” one asked. “Finally, socks!” another cried out, and that word spread quickly through the ranks and people began pouring in from side entrances and doorways we hadn’t previously noticed.

I wasn’t sure at first how to behave. The situation seemed to demand keeping a serious face and wishing everybody well in grave battlefield tones, but that’s not what these people needed. They needed joy, something colorful, some fun in an otherwise long day at a shelter with an unknown future ahead of them. Cheerful it would be, I concluded, smile in place as we explained where the socks came from and answered cute questions about how we could have so many friends, and when the last time was that I saw Makiko, one of our donors in New York City who works hard on our care letter translation page. Her photo and letter were wrapped around pairs of socks, so several people saw them and commented.

“I’ve never met her, actually,” I replied to bewildered looks. “We only know about each other because of this program.” They wanted me to tell her that they love her socks. I wrote her the next day, “I saw your photo many times yesterday in Ibaraki, from boxes to hands and then carefully folded as a souvenir by people who were already wearing the socks you sent. It was very touching, and I thought you’d like to know about it. I can’t thank you enough.” She replied, “What a heartwarming anecdote. I’m deeply touched. There is nothing more poignant than to hear that the people were already wearing the socks.”

People wanted to share their stories. They told me how they’d run barefoot or in socks from their houses to escape the tsunami, which is understandable in Japan because nobody wears shoes at home. This is one reason we chose socks as our item of care. Many people asked if I’d heard anything about a friend or relative still missing. The expressions on their faces when I said I had not made me wish I’d lied. One person muttered in the background, “I’m telling you, they’re all dead.”

An old man with a face stretched tight like a lizard’s had fallen into a hole cracked through his house by the earthquake. Then, the tsunami hit. He couldn’t pull himself free of the hole. Trapped, he knew he was going to die as the water rose up his body, over his feet then knees then thighs then waist then belly then chest. “This is it,” he thought, but the water stopped. An odd calm settled across the surface of the water inside his home. Submerged in it, he gazed across the ocean in his room, motionless and numb and alone, not dead but not sure about life anymore. For two days he remained like that. The water receded and he shivered until he was dry, then shivered more in the cold. Finally, a helicopter arrived and pulled him up through a hole in the roof above him. He arrived at the shelter by himself with just the seawater-soaked clothes on his body. Everything else washed away. He asked if he could take two pairs of socks. I said he could take ten.

That raised an issue. Should we allow people to take more than one pair? We could tell they needed them. A new pair of socks today would not be so new tomorrow, less so the next day, even less the next. It was obvious that the situation would not end soon. Is it better to take very good care of few people or pretty good care of many people? What a call. We checked the map and the time to see what we could reasonably accomplish in the day. We realized that we’d never get beyond a few shelters. The compromise we reached is that people could take up to three pairs of socks. The rest we’d leave with city hall to pass out as need arose. People asked us to return to the shelters again, but we knew even as we said it was a good idea that it was impossible to know when we could do so.

One man put his socks on immediately, a thick pair of B.U.M. brand in black with grey toes and heels, and started parading around the tatami mats with his pants hiked up so everybody could see. “Look how fashionable these are,” he said to the crowd, then to his wife, “An American sent these to me. They’re not Japanese. They’re American.”

Photos of fashionable B.U.M. socks in Kitaibaraki

Yoshiko helped a cute five-year-old boy named Nagato Ohira pick out his socks, and he took a liking to her. He showed her where he was “camping” and where the other members of his family slept, unfortunately including his younger sister, Komugi, who annoyed him to no end. The look on her face told me the feeling was mutual. A little while later, after we’d moved to a different part of the athletic center to give socks to people who could not move, Nagato caught up with Yoshiko and said breathlessly, “This is my last piece of good candy, but I want you to have it.” He gave me a piece of ordinary candy. We carried the pieces home where they will remain uneaten forever in memory of the day we took socks to Nagato.

Here are photos of our athletic center stop:

Photos of Kitaibaraki athletic center distribution
Our next stop was Otsu Port, and it was even sadder. Located close to the water, it housed people from neighborhoods that don’t exist anymore. When we first arrived, I asked one man if his house was badly damaged. “No,” he replied, “it’s gone.” I said I was sorry, and felt terrible to have asked such a question. He must have seen the feeling in my eyes, because he clapped me on the shoulder and said, “It’ll be alright. It was just a house. We’ll make another one.” He turned to his wife, so small and vulnerable-looking next to him, standing in rumpled clothes with her mask on tight and her head nodding without words and her eyes shiny. “Right?” he asked her. She nodded more.

An old woman was the clear leader at that shelter. She boldly announced what we’d brought and, again, we heard, “Finally, socks!” She stood over the crowd that gathered around the boxes, barking out orders and reprimanding uncivil behavior. Somebody made the mistake of saying within earshot of her that blue wasn’t his favorite color and she cried, “Don’t talk about colors at a time like this!” He agreed that it was wrong, and so did several others. The old woman looked at me with fire in her eyes, then smiled and pumped her fist to say, “Let’s keep these people in line.”

Behind me, two men spoke while putting on new socks. “They brought these to Ibaraki,” one said. “To Ibaraki!” he repeated. I turned to look. The other man nodded and said, “Foreigners, too.” They looked pleased.

Three ladies sat together on a blanket after receiving their socks, all three engrossed in reading the letters. They looked so happy and kept turning to each other to share what their letters said. They noticed us noticing them, and the eldest among them held her letter up and told us, “This is wonderful.”

Here’s the second shelter, at Otsu Port:

Photos of Kitaibaraki Otsu Port distribution

So it went. Our socks and letters that day came from England, Malaysia, and the United States. American cities represented were Coffeyville, KS; Colorado Springs, CO; Honolulu, HI; Kapolei, HI; New York, NY; Seattle, WA; Rancho Viejo, TX; Tualatin, OR; Wichita, KS; and Wooster, OH.

Nighttime arrived. Scenes of destruction materialized out of darkness as we drove through town, somehow more frightening than in daylight. I thought the darkness would comfort by hiding damage. It didn’t. A haunted stillness hung on the coastal town, punctuated by glimpses of terror like this:

Car on wall in Kitaibaraki

Back at the athletic center where we’d begun, we spoke with a young man working at the city hall. He spoke some English and said he understood the worth of the socks and letters from abroad. He assured me he would watch over the inventory and make sure the socks made it to those who needed them, and would explain to recipients that they were proof the world cheered for Kitaibaraki. He handed me his city hall business card showing a photo of a red pagoda on a coastal rock outcrop. “It’s the symbol of our town,” he explained, then added, “but it’s gone now.”

We paid one last visit to the Ohira family, where three-year-old Komugi sat drawing pictures by flashlight near a campstove:

Photos of Komugi at night
It was time to go home. As we left the shelter, Nagato, his sister Komugi, other sister Yotsuha, and mother Megumi stood at the entrance and waved to us until we turned from the parking lot onto the still-haunted roads of Kitaibaraki. Tsunami sand scratched under our tires. Orange city lights reflected off streets wet from the day’s rain. Rubble slouched in organized piles on either side of the road in walls of once valuable goods. Ovens and tatami mats and blankets and roof shingles offered dramatic proof that villages don’t fare well when stirred in a pot of angry seawater.

I couldn’t wait to leave, but felt guilty for it because I kept imagining the faces of the Ohira family and the ladies with their letters and the man with his new B.U.M. socks and the city hall worker carrying cards with photos of a symbol that no longer exists. I’ll go back one day when it’s brighter and happier, and little girls can draw pictures at tables in their own warm homes with just the flick of a light switch.

Photos of a tsunami damaged street in Kitaibaraki at night

Click any photos above to see the entire gallery.

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56 Comments

  1. Aldritch Parsons
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    How does it look at the Tokai Plutonium Reprocessing Plant on the coast by Hatachinaka?

    • Maria Naito
      Posted April 13, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Hi.
      My husband works at the Tokai Power plant ( which automatically closed after earthquake). Not yhe procesdjnv pkant you ask about but in Tokaimura there is no major damage like from the devastating pictures further north damaged by Tsunami.

  2. Gladys Sanson
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Going to Iwaki?
    Is it safe for you and your helpers to go there , given the news about reactor #3 ?

    Are the people in the shelters close to the reactor , going to be moved?

    Our love and prayers to you,

    Gladys

  3. Gladys Sanson
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Jason,
    So we arrived at Narita yesterday, sat. 26 with our bag of LETTERS and SOCHS!
    17 lbs.
    I sent the bag to your address in Sano.
    Receipt #136900746732
    TEL 03-3699-3318
    They said it was next day delivery. But I just realize today is Sunday…
    We bring the love and prayer of our family and friends, to you for what you are doing, and to the lovely Japanese people.
    We wish them the very best.
    Knowing that Spring is coming and with it a new rebirth and hope for the future.

    Gladys and Mike Sanson

  4. Chieko Kano
    Posted March 26, 2011 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    Jason-san
    I’m in Bellevue Washington. My son goes to local elementary school. His school kids are now preparing socks to send out to you. Teachers encourage kids to write letters to go with socks. And Japanese moms in school will translate them and pack them individually before shipping.
    We all appreciate for what you and other volunteers doing and very proud to support you.

  5. danny johnson
    Posted March 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Having lived in Japan from 1966-68, I have always felt a great fondness for the Japanese people, their integrity, their willingness to pull together when necessary, and their big hearts. I am so terribly sorry for what has happened to these wonderful folks. On the positive side, what I don’t see is looting and rioting and violence, a true symbol to the rest of the world of how a civilized society acts in times of great disaster. I loved the story about your trip and wish I was much younger so I could go and help them.

  6. Gladys Sanson
    Posted March 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Jason,

    So glad you are there helping our japanese friends. I loved the report of your last trip to Ibaraki” .
    My husband and I are flying into NARITA with over 200 pairs of socks for your project.
    We collected them from friends and family, so could save them the freight.

    Arriving on AA flight 169 – 4:00pm on Sat. Mar 26

    Is there any chance that someone could pick up our bag of socks? and take them to you?

    We have a connecting flight with JAL 3007 to Osaka at 6:30pm
    So our window at Narita is very short…

    Other wise we are going to mail them from Osaka.

    I will have my Cell phone with me, and will check my messages when arrive in Tokyo.

    Celebrating Life,

    Gladys Sanson

    310-866-2970 Cell
    gsanson@mac.com

  7. Brad Kerr
    Posted March 25, 2011 at 3:33 am | Permalink

    Your “Into Ibaraki” entry tells a terrific story, provides some wonderful insight into the current situation, and beckons all that read it to really consider how to help. I have sent this article to several friends. Thank you for all that you are doing to help the victims!

  8. jeff nabors
    Posted March 25, 2011 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    jason,
    how can we help? have sent to salvation army and red cross.
    jeff

  9. jill
    Posted March 25, 2011 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    Is that a prison?! They aren’t allowed to go out?! What the hell–Even lepers had a colony. I don’t get it. —Feeling grateful for your work, sad for the victims, and frustration that all without a home can’t move into better places!!!!

    • Posted March 25, 2011 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      They can go out, they just don’t have anywhere to go or any way to move around. Most arrived with only the clothes they wore — and they were ruined clothes at that.

      People are trying to help, but affected areas lost many local leaders, gasoline is scarce, radiation is blocking the path from undamaged areas, and the volume of people in need is enormous. Put all that together, and it spells a long time to get people the help they need. We’ll get it there, though!

  10. Julie
    Posted March 25, 2011 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Wonderful letter Jason. We were getting a little worried about you since you hadn’t written an update in awhile. It was great to hear what you’ve been up to. I will be sending out socks this week. Let us all know if there is any other special requests of needed items. Thank you for sharing your experiences and giving us a true insider look into this horrible disaster. My thoughts go out to the Japanese people.

  11. Bob
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jason, we think that you were placed in Japan “for such a time as this”. Keep up the good work my friend, we also think that you are called to write about much more important things than just financial stuff. Lord bless, ——Bob.

    • from a FSP...
      Posted March 25, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Though I agree that Jason could write about many things, personally, as a Financially Stupid Person I have to say I’m grateful for his talent and clear sight around money issues! 🙂 It’s a fact of this earth life that it’s money that pays for socks, pays for shipping, pays for the car and fuel in it which takes the socks to all these people. And if I were a little more financially free, you bet I would be putting a lot more money toward causes like this one.

      If you haven’t yet read his books, I highly recommend them. How rare is it these days to have meticulous honesty, clear sight, integrity and money talent in a single person? The world needs more people like him!

  12. Sophia
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Great job to everyone. It is amazing and humbling how a simple pair of socks can bring so much relief. I would like to help. Where can I send socks?
    God Bless.

  13. Jackie
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Jason and friends, I admire your courage and your strong desire to help and aid the effected people of Japan during this triple crisis. I have socks ready to go and now I want to send more than what I have prepared. Your stories touch me deeply and I cry everyday for the Japanese people.

    Thank you so much and God Bless You!

  14. Jeff
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    Jeffery from Malaysia. We just shipped out 500+ pairs of socks to your office via DHL. Hey bro, thank you so much for what you are doing, and keep the updates coming.

    If you’d like to connect, find me here: http://www.facebook.com/jeffyong

    God bless and take care.

  15. Posted March 24, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Words can’t express how I felt when I read this article… I have so much respect for you, Jason! You’re an angel sent from heaven and seeing those happy faces in the photos really brought tears of joy to my eyes.

    Keep up the GREAT work, gambateh!

  16. TT
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Jason, As many others have, I want to thank you for what you are doing. Under these same circumstances, I’m not sure I could do it. You are a hero. I will send aid and socks and other items to help, but you are the true leader.

  17. James
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the update Jason! This is a very touching story and just goes to show you that nay-sayers in your last blog had no idea what they were talking about. I applaud your decision to stay in Japan and give back to a country that you have called home recently. I think you received my socks a day after that trip so I hope that they too can give some hope and warm feelings to the good people of Japan. Keep up the excellent work!!

  18. Jan Devereaux
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Jason. Thanks for what you are doing to help these people in this difficult time. What a tragedy. The small box that I sent seems quite trivial now. I wish you well…jan

  19. Theresa Maris
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Aloha Jason,

    Bill and I have been following your blog over the past ten days and it has given us a feeling of connection to you and to the people of Japan. Mahalo for your factual, but sensitive writing. Your account today of going into Ibaraki brought so many emotions to light. Deepest thanks to you and your friends for all you are doing to aid those in distress. We recently moved back to Portland (after five years on Hawai’i Island) and are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support here for the people of Japan. Last evening we attended a benefit concert at one of our local universities and there are many more to follow. I’ve included the benefit link below. Please know that even though geographically you are far away, that you are not far from our thoughts.

    Malama ke kino,
    Theresa

    http://www.portlandtaiko.org/supporting-us/2011concert4japan.html

    • Posted March 25, 2011 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Theresa. It’s comforting to find old friends among our ranks.

  20. Jack D.
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Jason,

    Your last email moved me…You are a hero and the best that makes the American Citizen unique and exceptional! Sir, how can I help? Please email back…I suggest a monetary donation website be set up to facilitate.

    MSG Jack Dona
    U.S. Army (RET)

    • Ronald Fisher
      Posted March 24, 2011 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Jason,
      I second Jack’s suggestion. With your contacts someone should be able to get one of the big merchants to set up a website to accept donations and provide a large discount for purchase and shipping a trailer load of sox to you. I just need a website.

      Ron

    • Posted March 24, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, both! I decided to not accept monetary donations in order to avoid accusations of fraud. Japan has been good to me. I don’t mind being good in return at this moment of crisis, and my office can financially support this effort.

      If you or anybody else can set up corporate sponsorship or shipping assistance, we’d gratefully accept. I’m currently working on getting Ziploc bags donated by the S.C. Johnson company in Racine, WI, but so far haven’t had any luck. Their subsidiary in Yokohama turned us down, and the head office in Racine hasn’t responded. I put out a call for help on our Facebook page, and many people said they would contact S.C. Johnson in the morning at 1-800-494-4855.

      Sealable plastic bags serve a dual purpose: they keep socks clean and together with letters of care, and they’re also useful to people living in victim shelters as a way to keep items dry. They’re not just for packaging. When we distribute socks, victims ask if they can have extra waterproof bags.

      Thank you, again!

    • James
      Posted March 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Jack D,

      I suggest just sending socks.. There are dozens of organizations already accepting monetary donations and many times they get more money than they can effectively use anyway(I remember an issue like this during the 2004 Tsunami). Jason’s idea also adds a warming human touch to it.

  21. Joseph
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Jason, thanks for your sharing your story and keep up the hard work. From abroad, it is impossible to imagine the devastation and how it must feel like to actually be there, so what you have done is very courageous.

    As for your socks dilemma, you can keep in mind Mill’s utilitarianism theory to make your decision – “the best choice is one that produces the maximum benefit for the greatest number of people”.

    Once again, keep up the hard work. Every little bit counts.

  22. Patty
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Dear Jason,

    I live in Los Angeles and I want to try to get people involved – with socks – or with anything else needed. Previous experience donating to disaster relief programs has caused me to doubt the larger organizations and wonder if you can tell me the best way to proceed on a smaller and more personal level. Your blog / website has been the most inspiring one I’ve come across because it has the genuine sound of a voice without an agenda.

    Please respond with whatever information you are willing to share on how to let the devastated people of Japan know we ‘little people’ in America are willing to try to do whatever we can to help, and please do let them know they matter to us so very, very much.

    Thank you!

    • Ronald Fisher
      Posted March 24, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Amen, well said Patty. I was considering donating to “Samaritan’s Purse” or the United Methodist organization UMCOR, but I am open to suggestions.

      Ron

      • Patty
        Posted March 24, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        Hi Ron,

        I’m going to wait to hear back from Jason before I proceed. I suppose he will post his reply on this site if he isn’t inundated by more comments etc. than he can handle. Meanwhile, I’ll check out ‘Samaritan’s Purse’ – new to me.

        Patty

        • Posted March 24, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

          He will, indeed! Most direct donations are called SWEDOW by aid workers — stuff we don’t want. We studied the issue carefully before starting this effort because we saw that socks often fall through the cracks of large NGO programs because they’re so busy providing primary support in the form of food, water, shelter, and such. Socks could be combined with letters in a waterproof plastic bag (also useful to people living in victim shelters) to deliver comfort for the feet and for the heart, together.

          So, I hope you’ll consider us as a way to support Japan on a “smaller and more personal level.” It’s what we’re all about. Be sure to follow our guidelines.

    • Toni Trueblood
      Posted March 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Hi Patty,
      Samaritan’s Purse is the relief organization of the Billy Graham Organization. It is led by Franklin Graham & headquartered in Charlotte, NC.

      Toni

  23. Sally Roberts
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing the socks and the touching stories of their deliveries. I told my ten-year-old son, Colby, about our sock-donation; he woke up the next morning and said, “I just keep thinking of all of those kids in Japan running around in their new socks!” He seemed delighted at the idea. It is so touching to witness human caring and kindness.

    • takuya
      Posted March 24, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      only can agree in that !

      takuya

  24. Sarah DuVal
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Jason, you and Yoshiko are champions. Feel good about everything you have done so far, as difficult as it has been.

    You came up with a miraculous way to help, organized it, braved physical harm to go through horrifying scenes of devastation and gave a lot of people hope and cheer that they would not have had otherwise. You have given people all over the world a unique opportunity to join together and demonstrate the fact that they care and then taken the time to share and show those people that what they have done is making a difference.

    I applaud your quick decision to give people more than one pair of socks and leave the extras with city hall for further distribution.

    More socks coming to Japan!

    Sarah

    • Posted March 24, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Great! We’re ready for them, Sarah, and thank you for the kind words, too.

  25. takuya
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    hello Jason ,

    my friend Stuart from NY showed me this page and i am so grateful you doing this great job – helping all these people – my people.

    Domo arigato gozaimasu kara Doitsu

    takuya

  26. Linda
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your contribution! I am so touched and moved by your efforts. I think its so wonderful that you were able to bring so much joy and hope for people with a small gift. It may have been just a pair of socks or two, but I’m sure it meant the world to them.

  27. Posted March 24, 2011 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Very touching story, Jason. My continued best wishes to you and everyone there. Take care.

    • Posted March 24, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Seamus. Did you see the email reply I sent to you on March 15? I never heard back, so wasn’t sure. I’m happy to know you worried about me and it did me good to see the name of an old friend in my inbox during this time.

  28. Carly
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It sounds truly heart-wrenching to experience first-hand (and it was so for me even reading it). I am so glad from afar we are all able to see the true need for these supplies, know that you are distributing them honestly and with care, and see the goodwill that they bring to those isolated. And that was one of the letters I wrote that the elderly woman was holding – the purple letter with the flower border. Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart.

    • Posted March 24, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      You’re welcome, Carly. I know it was your letter. I was hoping you’d recognize it. Thank you for supporting us.

  29. Cynthia Lim
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for sharing with us in this part of Malaysia of what was happening in Japan. Jason, your work and contribution was really awesome , keep it up!!! God bless!

    • Posted March 24, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Of course, Cynthia. Donors deserve to know the positive results of their generosity.

  30. Heather
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    Wow. I made the mistake of beginning to look at this while at work – had to sneak off to the bathroom to cry, so will finish it later.

    I have a notion of just how painful this was for the two of you to do. I had to continue to go to work 2 blocks from the World Trade Center after 9/11 every day for months before they finally moved the office to midtown. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not comparing situations – they’re all different and can’t be compared. But I know just how powerful your senses are hit during such a crisis when the heart is WIDE open. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the very tangible thick feeling of fear and grief in the air… I think I cried every single day.

    So God bless you and Yoshiko, and everyone else helping. And God bless these amazing people in the shelters who are able to smile, laugh and even tell a little joke at this time. I’m praying for all of you.

    • Posted March 24, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Heather. It helps knowing we’re not really alone in the field; we’re carrying socks sent with love from people all over the world, and we feel their presence around us and their warm intentions and they inspire us to “be not afraid.”

  31. Saravana Sam
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Keep up your good work Mr. Jason and we are proud of your outstanding help you are doing at trying times!!

  32. Cory R
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    What a great story, thanks for capturing these amazing little slices of life and hardship.

    Best of luck to you and your mission of fresh socks!

  33. Posted March 23, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Posted your article with its links to send more, and this comment, on my FB page just now. You are definitley working overtime. To the bath and oyasuminasai!
    ____________________________________________________________
    Beautiful work, Jason. Thanks for writing so vividly about your experiences today, and posting so immediately, when you must be exhausted from your journey. Folks, this is my update for you. Send these guys MORE SOCKS! See the effects such a small thing has. God’dess bless us all and goodnight!

  34. Fancy
    Posted March 23, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    My eyes are watery reading your words and looking at all the photos. I wish there was someone who can join you for the delivery. Thank you for all your hard
    work, we owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

  35. maji
    Posted March 23, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for making this report. I’m reading it again and again and again, and this makes me REALLY eager to just send the socks off to you, to reach and warm those feet. We still have to finalise everything though, but just wait, they will come to you!

    With all that you said, I’m wondering, will this be a long-term project? Because I definitely would not mind sending more socks over time!

  36. Posted March 23, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    While they are obviously overjoyed for the socks I think it is the fact that someone actually cares for them that they are so excited. Tears were streaming down my face as I read this article. It inspires me to hurry up and get our socks in the post. thankyou for the work you are doing your deliveries are making a world of difference to our neighbours in the hardest hit places

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