A Bit of Sadness for Nerds: Books in Japan

Source: http://boingboing.net

This morning on BoingBoing, the culture & technology blog, I found a post that connected our literary loves to the tragedy in Japan. I firstly want to say that I am in no way trivializing the loss and devastation that’s occurred in Japan. This is just one more angle from which to observe the despair and destruction that’s regrettably taken place there. BoingBoing posted a picture of a library that has been destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami that took place there at the end of last week.

Some commenters on BoingBoing said the post was insensitive to all of the human loss that has occurred in Japan. I can understand that, and yet the image of floating books and submerged bookshelves makes me think of all of those people who once read those books and may never read again. Or of the children who used to frequent the library and may no longer have parents.

These water-logged books are just a small effect of the natural disaster in Japan, of course, but they present an image of just how vast the destruction is throughout the country. Book lovers are sure to have their hearts wrenched as they page through image after image of destroyed libraries. I suspect the cadre of photos are being accumulated to show people just how dire the situation in Japan is right now. If this is how the libraries look, just imagine how schools and people’s homes look after the wall of water shook towns and villages.

If you’re interested in helping and find yourself in a position to do so, the Red Cross is always an excellent organization to donate to. I also found a charity called ShelterBox that takes donations starting at $25. There are numerous other charities you can donate to if you feel the need to help.

— Jet Fuel Editor, Mary Egan

Edit: Check out Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s post about Writers for the Red Cross if you’re interested in donating. Donating means you could receive a book package contributed by authors. They have some truly awesome book baskets and writers’ services for you bid on!

3 thoughts on “A Bit of Sadness for Nerds: Books in Japan

  1. jk white March 14, 2011 / 7:31 pm

    Thanks for this, Mary. As someone who once lived in Japan and knows a little bit about their culture, I think your post rather honors a nation with one of the world’s highest literacy rates and one of its oldest literary traditions. For the Japanese, for all of us, of course, it’s through literature, through books (as well as blogs and photos and such) that we capture, reflect on, preserve, and try to make sense of (and also art from) the communal and individual tragedies that befall us. And I appreciate your recognition of the poignant symbolism of scattered, torn, and floating books as another reminder of human fragility. I also appreciate your suggestion re: the Red Cross and other ways to help. Perhaps in future rebuilding efforts, we’ll come across a way to help replenish one of those libraries!

    • Editor March 14, 2011 / 8:40 pm

      So true — literature does bring us together and I feel that’s what they are trying to do with this photostream of the libraries ravaged by this disaster. Thank you for commenting.

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