Anna Hoffmann

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What is your response to what is happening in Japan right now?

I do not know what I can do. Deep down I just feel how connected we are, every single individual on this planet, and that we need to aknowledge that. I gave a small amount of money to The Red Cross. I watch the news now and then. I talk with my friends and communicated on Facebook, had a brief chat on Skype with a friend in southern Japan.

So I just pass the question on to you, whoever feels an urge to answer.

  • Mar 14 2011: I have been educating a few folks on Facebook via World news with Diane Sawyer. I was appauled with some of the reactions from folks: "charity begins at home, they never helped us, etc." Some of the comments were so off the wall, that it made me ashamed I was an American. So I dug in & did some enlightenment writing.
    We all live on this planet & are all neighbors and related in the aspect that we are all humans. I used to be a Red Cross volunteer & have a darn good idea what those folks are going through. While I can no longer volunteer, I sure can donate & pray. I won't go off on a rant here but we all need to look in the mirror & do some re-evaluation.
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      Mar 14 2011: When people such things I am convinced they have no concept of the suffering that another human being is experiencing. Jew, German, English, Japanese it matters not, the loss of family and of children is simply too painful to put into words. The collective sorrow and grief of the world is, I am sure what is being experienced by the vast majority of human kind at this time. Those few who think only of themselves are a very small percentage.
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        Mar 14 2011: On the news tonight, in both main Swedish television channels, it was obvious that the studio reporters voices were broken. They were close to tears, but tried to stay as collected they could. This is very unusual in my home country, were we are taught to keep our emotions inside.
        Yes, we are one people, humans on one earth.
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    Mar 16 2011: And I was thinking of what I can do this earthquake disaster as I'm involved in TEDx... as TEDxer.
    Then I choose to spread hopes to disaster victims to find themselves in hope with my friends from TEDxTokyo yz.

    So let me introduce our activities, "HOPE", this try to make a positive feedback by spreading hopes.
    1. "spreading hopes"
    2. "changing mind"
    3. "doing action for the future"
    1. "spreading hopes"... and then 2 and 3...


    If you like this, please press "Like!" on the page.
    If you know people who might know the hope message, please tell them the page.
    If you have hope messages yourself as shown below, please post it to the page.
    - a story which people can feel people's kindness
    - a music/video expressing hopes
    - a hope message/news from overseas (outside Japan)
    - a story which historical people who muddle through misery and finally get success

    Harmony is to be valued.
  • Mar 20 2011: I have been living in Osaka for 10 years, and felt the earthquake that struck Sendai over a week ago.

    I agree with many of the above comments that sending money is probably best. Even in Osaka, that's all I could really do.

    My biggest concern that grew out of all of this was the need for more widespread, accurate, informative news. I don't know if people around the world realize how the panic, mostly induced by the media and even various countries' embassies, has deepened this crisis and will possibly send the economy in Japan back even further.

    Many of the headlines I read, on various news sites, scared even me at first. But after I read the articles completely, and searched for more information, I realized how misleading the headlines during this disaster have been. A perfect example was the headline on Yahoo News about "Elevated levels of radiation found in Milk and Spinach". That is so misleading, and I found myself stopping in my tracks and reflexively clicking on the link. Of course, it was only in some farms located near the nuclear reactors. There was no report about how many farms, how close, or even whether the level of radiation was something to be truly concerned about or not. The headline made it sound like ALL of Japan (which would be terrifying), when in fact it was not even close to being true.

    The problem is that it in addition to unnecessarily raising the panic level a notch, this may also cause other countries to indiscriminately be suspicious of anything coming from Japan, regardless of origin (which could in turn make things more costly or time-consuming for businesses here trying desperately to stay afloat during the crisis).

    So, to anyone who wants to know what else you could do, I have a big request. To counter-balance the effect the media is having, please try to encourage the spread of accurate information. Donations are wonderful, but they can easily be offset by the damage caused by all these alarmist headlines.
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    Mar 18 2011: I live in a country where 76% of our energy is produced in nuclear plants, the country is ... France. Unfortunately it's also the cheapest energy and even in the midst of nuclear disaster in Japan I don't hear the general populace worried about this unstable and dangerous (yet cheap) energy source.

    On a more philosophical note, I can't stop thinking about how people were going about their lives and then... bang! Earthquake, Tsunami, Nuclear Catastrophe. Makes me want to chuck it all and join the Peace Corps.
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    Mar 17 2011: I've been feeling a mixture of things, but mostly, inspired. Inspired that among all the worrying we on the outside are engaging in, the Japanese are being civil, looking after each other, and making the best of an extremely challenging situation. Examples here: And here:,0,7192950.story

    And hopeful. Hopeful that what's happening with the nuclear power plant causes people all over the world to reconsider its extensive use. Especially in my stubborn country of America.

    And moved. Moved at the generosity of support people from around the world have shown.

    I feel for the people of Japan, and trust that the best outcome possible will happen.
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      Mar 18 2011: Those links were truly inspiring. I did not know about odemagazine before and I really liked it. Thank you Paul!
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        Mar 19 2011: You're welcome Anna. I've since seen that Ode post reposted several other places. Here's two more, from the same person, with a great fourth one going up there soon: :
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    Mar 17 2011: Not only do I send my positive vibes (and a bit of money) to Japan, but I also feel connected in the global village. My mind races to think of the many beautiful things about Japan. From it's language and culture to it's artforms and the compassion of its people. Can't forget the food. We all need each other at one time or another. I want to do my small part and embrace the pure human spirit oozing out of the global response to this crisis.
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    Mar 16 2011: Thank all of you for care and concern.

    I think there are 3 stage when disaster are happened and now is the stage between "rescue" and "set up lifeline".
    1) rescue
    2) setup lifeline
    3) volunteer activities

    At this stage, I think only people like us who are not specialists of rescue and disaster control can do is:
    1) to donate though reliable organization
    2) to make a blood donation
    3) to share information / messages

    The following is announced by government and on the net:
    - not to send supplies personally.
    This cause unnecessary confusion of distribution system on site.
    Only corporate which are considerable to send bunch of supplies are allowed to send them.

    - not to go on site to do volunteer now.
    Only NPO/NGO volunteers are accepted current stage.
    If personal volunteer goes there, extra foods, essential goods, place to stay etc. will be needed to prepare for them. Now these should send to disaster victims top priority.

    - not to send/retweet unreliable messages.

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      Mar 16 2011: This is a very good, practical and useful post. Thank you.
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    Mar 16 2011: Anna, thank you for starting this conversation. While I'm not a direct victim of the quake, as a Japanese I feel the need to listen to the insights of TED communities to deal with this disaster. So please let me join you to ask on this issue.

    The quake and tsunami has had massive impact on Japan's northern coastal area. It devastated numerous cities and caused thousands of casualties. Furthermore, it has even disrupted the daily lives of people in greater Tokyo area that is more than two hundred kilometers from the epicenter, with problems such as the partial power cut, troubles in nuclear power plants, suspension of public transportation etc. This is one of the most tragic disaster the world has faced in recent years.

    From the quake I've sensed that: disaster could occur anytime, anywhere; the so-called 'normal life' that we take for granted is in fact quite vulnerable; and it is trust and connection between people that sustain the society when the 'normal life' is bitterly disrupted.

    While many feel lost in grief after the quake and I share their sorrow, I also have a feeling that TED communities may have great resources to promote the trust and connection that is critical to tackle the disaster. So I would like to explore ways to link the wisdom and spirit of TED with the efforts of those suffering from disaster and those trying to stand up from it. Please let me know your thoughts and insights on how TED communities could respond to disaster such as the one occurred in Japan.
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    Mar 16 2011: Maybe I’m being too blunt here, but I fully trust the ability of Japan to come out stronger from this.
    Japan has had a big share of catastrophes, their imaginary, from manga to films, is full off doomsdays, and yet they have iron will to turn this events into their success.
    If a country is ready to face this type of thing they are that country.
    I called my friends in Japan (I’m VERY glad them and their relatives are fine) and I’m planning to start buying stock in funds linked to their GDP, I want to see them thrive in the next ten years.



    PS may be I don’t sound emotional enough for the tone of this conversation, but many years ago I decided not to have TV and get most of my news from text rather than video, if that were not the case I would probably feel/think different
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      Mar 16 2011: I really liked your post. My intention with the question was just to open up a space for everybody to share their own response and you did.
      I can´t decide if it is good or bad (for me) to follow the news. Of course everybody in the media will also project their fears onto this event and maybe not see things clearly.
      Your post reminds me: There was one short telephone interview on our news here in Sweden, with a Swedish manga artist who was living in Sendai. He refused later to leave, because he had a house there with his girlfriend...that was before these last new events in Fukushima. But that interview made me put things in perspective again. Your plan to buy stock in funds linked to their GDP sounds interesting.
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      Mar 16 2011: apply tension on steel strings can pull up a bridge, hold the core of a sky scraper, but without release, they will snap
  • Mar 15 2011: No matter who we are & the culture that we share with others may seem strange to people from other cultures as we know very well. And each culture has its up side & down side-depending on the culture you embrace.
    That said: We are seeing a side of the Japanese culture that is truly remarkable in my eyes. With all the fear death & destruction they are composed more then any other nation of people I have ever seen in the face of all this disaster. Panic may have held them in its grip for a few minutes but then training and compassion took over. Many lessons to be learned here, so many indeed.
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    Mar 14 2011: Grief is exactly what i feel!
    It makes no difference whether i am an Indian or Japanese
    We are cosmopolitan

    AT the same time one must take lesson and question its own country's authority regarding its preparedness for such a tragedy.
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    Mar 14 2011: Thank you all who have posted so far. I am touched by your posts and think all of them are helpful. Of course there are many websites where you can find information and ways to help. I just thought TED community seemed to be a place of where many very intelligent and creative people gather. And I wanted to remind myself and the rest of the community here to look a little further.
    When I could not sleep yesterday I found this website:
    I do not know a lot about them, but what I saw when I had a quick look seemed useful.
    Bye for now, see you here sometime!
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    Mar 14 2011: I feel very deep sorrow about the tragedy. Janpan is one of Korea's closest neighbors. So we are shocked and saddened to hear of this unforeseen disaster.

    I heard many governments, humanitarian organizations, religious groups and private companies are joining to help. And the Red Cross and other humanitarian groups are collecting financial donations and emergency aid supplies to meet the needs of earthquake and tsunami survivors. Internet sites have been filled with messages by netizens to encourage the people who are suffering. We want to help them to stand up again.

    Regardless of where the geopraphical location is, people can receive news as it happens. We probably felt sad or at least discouraged from irresistible natural disasters at the same time. And the aftermath of the disaster will affect global society and economy. We are all connected. So we are all concerned about what is going one there.

    I respectfully express my sincere condolences to the people who suffered in the earthquake and tsunami. I'm going to donate and pray for them.
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    Mar 13 2011: Life is a wonderful and sometimes all to unpredictable event. This came without warning I should be concerned about the now, my family friends and strangers who I may make a difference to with a smile and a hello. We must act quickly and with compassion as fellow human beings to do anything we can as countries to make this as simple and easy as possible to help the people of Japan to recover from this event.
  • Mar 20 2011: My response is sympathy for the suffering for all involved. But, also, I realize that most if not all of the nuclear reactors were built with profit as the primary motive.
  • Mar 20 2011: Natural disasters are inevitable. We have not the capacity to prevent or weather such storms; however, helping one another is a basic human instinct I hope will grow stronger. If we lose touch with that sacred trait, then I fear we will be our own undoing. An unnatural disaster if you will.
  • T W

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    Mar 20 2011: If you're outside of Japan, donate to the Japanese Red Cross. I've done so. Generally cash is the best gift in any disaster recovery.

    If you are in the country, pay attention to what's required at any particular time. Often it's still cash, but sometimes it could be blood, tinned food, blankets, nappies, accommodation etc.

    (PS, here in New Zealand, we'd appreciate any donations to the New Zealand Red Cross as well for the Christchurch earthquake. But Japan is indeed the priority.)
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    Mar 20 2011: My first respose was deep shock with loss of Japan and its people. Second was the thought about, how unprepared even a developed economy is to face such catastrophe? Third , when mankind will really be able to put an early enough alarm system to handle such disaster successfully with no / minimum loss of human life? Last not least joining my company initiative to support Japan. All my best wishes for Japan and its people for a quick recovery from damage and no further loss.
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    Mar 19 2011: First, it makes me worry about the safety of nuclear energy. We have learned a lot about cut corners. Building for a typical earthquake is ridiculous. It used to be that bridges would be built for the heaviest possible load and then built for double that load. Here, in Minnesota, we learned that is no longer true. They didn't even use the steel gauge from the plan, let alone double it.

    Living on the Pacific Rim is dangerous. So the tsunami and earthquake wile of course horrendously tragic on so many levels is not something man made like the reactors.

    I pray for the people of Japan, especially those who can't find their loved ones and hope they are getting the truth from the government about the nuclear fallout.
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    Mar 19 2011: Giving money to the Red Cross is of course an excellent idea, but beyond that i feel rather helpless.

    What can I do to help these poor people whose lives have been wreaked by devastation? And what about the potential contamination and future domino effect of that. It’s just gut wrenching.

    What if, like during World War II when children were moved to northern regions for safety, we could billet children the same way? For a period of time so they can regroup and have a feeling of normalcy, if even for a short while? Granted there is a language barrier, but hey I always wanted to learn Japanese and you know how fast children pick up languages. Immigration/visa permitting, this might help???

    What do you think?

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      Mar 19 2011: I think most people would want to stay as close to home as possible, but what do I know?

      Some days ago, at the page of Facebook group Hope, some Germans posted (from Berlin). They were organizing people outside Japan (mainly in Germany), who would open their homes for people who want to leave Japan. The link is:
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    Mar 19 2011: feeling deep sympathy towards the Japanese civilians, however I have to question J. gov't's way of approching this problem. as the news comes out, it seems like J. gov't has worsen the case by rejecting the US gov't initial offer, but only to request back later, when things got out of control, and heard that J. gov't rejected the food donation from Korea when the Japanese civilians are suffering shortage of food and water. now i see that people started stealing food. added to the nuclear radiation problem, cold, dieases....i see accumulation of problems one after another..

    I feel that if the J. gov't had opened the matter to the world from the very begining and had accepted the initial advice from the world, probably it could have been somewhat better situation.

    and I can not blame rescue workers moving out of Japan.
  • Mar 19 2011: I have read the news, watched Youtube videos, emailed a friend in Japan... and cried most nights for the past week. Japan's tragedy has had an emotionally draining effect on me, however, I am the lucky one compared to the poor people who are suffering immensely at this very moment. I feel a little angry that all the foreigners are running away from the danger as quick as they can. It seems that they are just fair weather friends only staying while they can get benefit from the Japanese. Having said that, I realize that I am very emotional now and that opinion is probably skewed and unfair right now. I wish I could go there with our rescuer teams and physically help search for people or offer my help. Donating some money just does not feel adequate.
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    Mar 19 2011: I'm a very positive person by nature, but this past week I've felt very down because of what the people of Japan are going through. It's just hard for me to think about what it must be like picking up the pieces of your life, finding a loved one's body in the debris, huddling in a cold dark building not knowing what you'll do next, putting on a protective suit to go battle the crisis at the nuclear plant. I pray for God to help them and to show me what I can do. All I can think of right now is to send some money to help.
  • Mar 19 2011: Thanks for sharing your feelings Anna.The human tragedy is unbelievable but the courage of the Japanese people has been amazing and the people all over the world must unite in an unprecedented way now at our disposal to share in bringing relief ,in even the most humble way they can- be it a prayer or care or share, anything that one can do in the face of this disaster.
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    Mar 19 2011: my vision to catastrophe is from Humanity view

    It is too hard to see people killed and houses destroyed ! Let's imagine a journey in destroyed part of japan in one of these houses was children were playing and in other house a boy and a girl built it one month ago to be there place for love and marriage .. and in third house a father and a mother that worked long time to get money for their new beauty child.... and this school there were students that decide to be a new arm for humanity that can build and help others.
    women lost children and fathers lost wives and children with no houses and mothers.......
    let's pray for them........
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    Mar 19 2011: I just wish that we were at the capacity to take care of these people and give them all the help they need, as a global community. Right now we're a planet that's just becoming aware of itself, and as the most dynamic extension of nature yet, we should be most capable of caring for each other and our roots, but we're getting there... with the help of the internet (veins and capillaries) and our military (white blood cells) we will DRIVE THE VIRUSES OUT OF THIS LIVING BODY~!
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    Mar 18 2011: I agree with what Eugene Huffman said about how the US population would react to such a situation. It would be chaos I imagine and would simply make things worse. We take so much for granted here in America and have become a pretty lazy bunch compared to the Japanese and many other cultures. I just feel for all those people and wish I could do more to help out. peace
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    Mar 18 2011: It is hard to be objective about what is really happening in Japan. The US TV news exploits it for advertising dollars and loves to incite tension. I believe the Japanese government is handling it the best way they can, balancing peoples' rights to be informed with the need to prevent panic. I admire the way Japanese people focus on what is important -- finding/mourning loved ones and pitching together to make things better. They will see their way out of this. I can't imagine how the US population would approach such a situation, but I think anger would be one of the emotions I'd see.
  • Mar 17 2011: A safe, cool reactor, extracting sea energy, with U.S pat.pending and PCT protected, you can find at google as "aperture engine". I also have a fuel saver engine with US 734 3894. Only need investors, so you can help me about these.
    Both devises can solve H20 headache and "pain at the pump".
  • Mar 17 2011: I just want to say it is a pity . I am very sad .No one is an island . Never send to know for whom the bells tolls, it tolls tor thee. But I believe Japanese will come over this disaster.
  • Mar 17 2011: Dear miss Hoffman,
    thank you for your query. We are organisig TEDxZagreb event in May where we are going to open a topic of Japan as well, and how to help people there.
    On the other hand I am one of the organizers of antigovernment protest in this country and I am sending you a link of a protest march that happened few days ago, where you can see few thousand "angry" protesters keep quite in the front of Japanese Embassy. Have a look:
    This act won the hearts of many Japanese people and gave them great moral support in this hard times.
    May be a great inspiration on many people around the world to express their support for Japan.
    Vinko Mojtic
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      Mar 18 2011: I watched the video and some of the comments.
      I know to little about what is going on in Croatia to comment on the protests.
      But I am sure anger has it´s place, as well as grief and compassion has it´s place.
  • Mar 16 2011: Like any other normal human being, I am, of course, horrified by what has happened and may, indeed, still happen. But through it all one thing has stuck out more than anything else, and that is that I have not read one single report about looting or rioting following this tragedy. I very much hope that when the crisis is over, sociologists will study this and ask why in Haiti and similar places looting was widespread while in Japan the people were humble, helpful, apologetic, organized, and composed. My hat is off to them.
  • Mar 16 2011: i heard on a news cast japan was calling for international help managing the crisis. i was wondering if it is or might be possible to fill the reactor core with either lead granules or molten lead to seperate the fuelrod reaction? while i don't know if that would be a benefit sometimes simple is good... any ideas?
  • Mar 16 2011: I couldn't even think of this circumstance either. What I felt in recent few days were that the catastrophe like this could be lethal to developed country like Japan. First I thought Japan would get over easily, But After the earthquake and Tsunami destroyed whole the North-Eastern region, I found it that catastrophe in japan isn't diffrent not even a bit than that in developing country. This was quiet big scale, so our contribution wouldn't be able to comp what Japan has lost. What I think most important is hope and prayer all over the globe that Japan can get over it. One hopeful thing,At least, they are dealing with the disaster quiet prudently.
  • Mar 16 2011: l condolences to Japan...Turkey's heart and pray with you We watching everyday Japan, and very worry for Japan... a lot institution pass the hat for Japan

    All people must pass the hat...

    Actually a diffucult situation but We obstacles overcome with pray and aid( l am sorry my english not enough).....

    " Oh man! Come to your senses! Is it at all possible that the All-Glorious One, Who causes all the varieties of creatures to turn towards you and stretch out their hands to assist you, and causes them to say: "Here we are!" in the face of your needs, is it possible that He does not know you, is not acquainted with you, does not see you?".....(a aphorism)
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      Mar 16 2011: Your use of the English language is very effective. I am humbled by the beauty of your words. Whenever you think your words are not enough, remember that your English is far superior to most English-speakers' skills in YOUR first language!
      Thank you so much for participating in the conversation. I am grateful for your words.
      • Mar 17 2011: thank you Ruth Ann Harnisch...aphorisms not praise not me

        ......"Fame also ascribes to man what is not his"....( aphorism)
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          Mar 17 2011: I knew the aphorism was not your original! But the rest is yours! (including "so praise not me," a poetic construction in English.)
      • Mar 18 2011: again thank you Ruth, for your words

        ...."A person who sees the good in things has good thoughts. And he who has good thoughts receives pleasure from life"...
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    Mar 16 2011: My response is a mixture of emotions and thoughts. I am grieving for the people in great distress, I feel admiration for the efforts of the survivors and rescuers, I feel fear for the potential of the nuclear threat which of all places on the planet is happening in Japan.
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    Mar 16 2011: For starters, you can try one of the many relief efforts mentioned here at GOOD.IS:

    I myself ordered a bag of rice to be directly shipped to Japan from
  • Mar 16 2011: Japan contributes to the ITER fusion research efforts in Caderache, France.
    Sharp Corp sells the world's best selling solar panel.
    Mitsubishi make wind turbines.

    Eventually, hopefully, we can do away with both fission and fossil power,
    but only through the long term commitment of people like the above.
  • Mar 16 2011: This like other tragic events bring people together and make them stronger. What I struggle with is the reporting and how the news varies from channel to channel.
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    Mar 16 2011: Firstly, I would like to say that my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan. Just like Haiti, I like the world population have realised that they dont own this life, but instead we're all on borrowed time and should be our neighbour's keeper. I thinkit's not only a wake up call signaling the end of time, but for man to realise that we're nothing but dust and to change their mindset. The lesson that should be learnt after the dust has settled is to love one another and live in peace and harmony, not only with one another but Mother Earth.
  • Mar 16 2011: Heartbreaking. Difficult to watch, difficult to comprehend and the Japanese people deal with the adversity with such grace.
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    Mar 15 2011: The situation in Japan is bad. But somewhere out there, I hope, are some really smart scientists and leaders paying close attention and learning. How often do we get a practice apocalypse? Thank you, Japan for being a great teacher.
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    Mar 15 2011: I want to start a fundraiser to help Japan. Although Japan has lots of money, unlike Hati, I think we should give Japan money since their earthquake was very drastic. Japan deserves all the support from the U.S. and I would be proud to help them. My family and I have kept Japan in our prayers and all of you should tool