Twitter brings world closer for Japan quake charity e-book

Mon May 9, 2011 9:27pm EDT
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By Hugh Lawson

TOKYO (Reuters) - An avid Twitter user's desire to help Japan recover from the devastating March earthquake and tsunami has resulted in a charity e-book based on material gathered from around the world -- all within three days.

With Yoko Ono and cult sci-fi author William Gibson among the contributors, the e-book "2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake" was available for download within a month and raised $25,000 for the Japan Red Cross in its first two weeks.

Now a print version is in the works, along with planned translations into Japanese, Dutch, and German as well as a bilingual Japanese-English version.

None of it would have happened without Twitter, said "Our Man in Abiko," who prefers to go only by his Twitter name to keep the focus on charity raising.

"I just looked at it as a two-fold thing: one, let's make some money to help people, and two, let's record this event. And this was the only way I knew how," the 40-year-old British man, who has lived in Japan for four years, said.

The inspiration came to him about a week after the March 11 disaster as he was taking a shower at his apartment in Abiko, a Tokyo satellite city, wondering what he could do to help.

He sent out a tweet asking people for their impressions, stories, pictures or art -- anything at all inspired by the quake, from Japan or overseas. Whatever he got within 48 hours would form the basis for a book.

Target time to first draft: a few days.   Continued...

<p>Tsunami victims rest after observing a minute of silence at 14:46 local time at a shelter in Watari, Miyagi prefecture, April 22, 2011. REUTERS/Toru Hanai</p>