It was sort of a coincidence. I’d been reviewing the CDs I picked up on my trip to Japan a few months ago, and then I sat in with If By Yes as part of the Japan music festival here in NY last week. Then the earthquake and tsunami and the nuclear mess all hit—all of which made me want to get this Japanese playlist together faster than I normally would have. Thoughts of Japanese friends, culture and countryside welled up, and this music became a kind of soundtrack to my thoughts and feelings.
This music arrived largely through friends. Thanks to Yusuke, and all the folks at Vacant Gallery in Tokyo, who invited their musical friends round—who tipped me to a lot of new stuff I didn’t know about. Thanks Deerhoof for arranging that Ichi, from Nagoya, perform here at LPR. (One of the most pleasantly surprised NY audience reactions I’ve seen since Tune Yards opened for Dirty Projectors!) Thanks Diego Cortez for the Oorutaichi CD. Thanks Hideaki Matsuura for the tip about Soothe.
Can we help?
Traditionally, the Japanese have issues with charity. They see themselves as proudly self-reliant, and offers of aid after the Kobe earthquake were initially refused. However, times change, and maybe now there is an understanding that offers of help are as much a gesture of solidarity and mutual feeling as they are about money. The urge to reach out is as much about our own feelings as it is about Japanese needs. For folks outside Japan, it stems from an altruistic urge to show some connection and a human bond in a time of crisis. To say “you are not alone.”
Here are two ways to donate. Yuka Honda sent a link to a fund set up by Japan Society here in NY who are donating 100% of the donations that get sent (they’re even swallowing their administrative fees): http://www.japansociety.org/earthquake
Seiji Nagai in Tokyo sent a link for Red Cross in Japan: http://www.jrc.or.jp/english/index.html