It was been a little over 5 months since the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Hard to believe that the news that was once on everyone's mind has probably dissipated a bit. The people of Japan in the regions that were hit the hardest are still struggling. A friend went on a mission trip to Japan and visited the area hit by the natural disaster said that there are many volunteers still there assisting in any way they can and the people of the region are doing what they can to get back to the norm. But what exactly is the norm for them from this point on. The clean up efforts have been huge! Places where boats once were jammed into a home have been moved, debris on streets have been cleared but then what? Just to get back to the starting point has been the past several months. These people will now have to find homes, jobs and schools. I pray that the people in this region do not give up hope and hope that people still continue to sow into their lives as long as needed.

Below are some pictures courtesy of International Business Times of what has been accomplished so far after 5 months of hard, dedicated work. Great job and thank you to all who have helped.

The world seems so big yet we are united as one. When things happen around the world, we may not think much of it and life may go on. But the tsunami waves in Japan crossed the huge Pacific Ocean and met the shorelines of Santa Cruz, CA. They are estimating that in a few months, the debris from the Japan earthquake will wash up on the beaches of Hawaii. Makes the world seem closer, doesn't it? If we are in need, we are to help each other. We may not physically be able to visit the country or people in need but we are able to give what we have, even if it's only a little. People in Japan still do not have food, water or daily living supplies. If we all help just by giving a little, it will accumulate in donating something big. If we were in a situation like the people of Japan, wouldn't we want a someone to lend us a helping hand? Please help the people and children of Japan. They need us more than ever right now! Thank you!

Attention Arashi fans and all those who have a heart for Japan. Grab your tissues. This is life right now in Japan. What can YOU do right now for Japan? Let's pray for light to shine in the darkness and unity.

Regular TV programs have started to run in Japan this week. For the past week, it has been news, 24/7, about the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear power plant. The Johnny's artists, consisting of the most popular boy bands in Japan like SMAP, Arashi and Hey! Say JUMP have joined together to try to come up with a way to assist those who need help using their HUGE fan base. And if it is merely by their songs, they will sing their hearts out to rebuild Japan and to somehow reach those who feel hopeless by bringing smiles back to their faces. For now, all Johnny's artists concerts have been postponed and the agency has donated their huge semi-trucks normally used to transport concert stages throughout Japan to be used as part of the rescue efforts. Thank you to Johnny's, SMAP and Arashi!
The world has been praying for Japan. To bring hope to the nation of Japan, these two video montages were created with of course, none other than using SMAP's songs. SMAP is probably the most well known and successful Japanese boy band group from Johnnys Entertainment. Making their debut in 1988, this group originally had 6 members. One year later, one member left the group to pursue his dream which left the group to the remaining five members, Katori Shingo, Kimura Takuya, Nakai Masahiro, Inagaki Goro and Kusanagi Tsuyoshi. Their fanbase has become worldwide loved by those of all ages from children to grandparents. They do it all. From singing, to dancing, to acting, these five guys have got it going on! Their weekly TV show, Smap x Smap is such a hit and is watched by so many that when celebrities from the U.S. visit Japan for a movie release, they know to make a cameo on this show. Past celebrities include Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Matt Damon and even the late Michael Jackson.

They have currently re-recorded their 2003 hit song "Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana" in Chinese which will be available through Avex China for download to your cell phone. Proceeds from this download will be donated to the earthquake relief effort. Click here to watch.

So what better group and song to bring the message of hope and courage to Japan than SMAP, the group that is loved by so many.

"Pray for Japan" Video 1

"Pray for Japan" Video 2

Funky Monkey Babys. Odd name, yes but...who are they? Well for those of you that don't know, they are a Japanese hip hop/rap group consisting of 3 members that debuted in 2004. Their music is inspired by pop and rock music and loved by many. The members are Funky Kato, Monkichi and DJ Chemical. Many of their songs talk about hope, courage and not giving up, very much something that is needed for this moment for the country of Japan. But the main reason I am writing a post about them is their hearts and their willingness to give of what they have in a time of desperate need.

They have a blog that I have been following on
Ameba where many Japanese celebrities post their life story daily. On the day of Japan's earthquake, the members of Funky Monkey Babys were on their way home to Tokyo from Fukushima on a train. For 12 hours, they were trapped on the train, cold and tired, not able to really sleep, along with many others. They relied on their cell phones for any news of what was happening on the grounds above them. Events that happened and the things they saw from this day on, have impacted them greatly. What particularly impacted them was the generosity, the helpfulness and the warmth of the people of Japan even in the midst of tragedy. The rice ball Funky Kato was given after finally being rescued from the train was the best tasting rice ball he has ever had. He was moved by the people who were on the train with him during the 12 hours, so calm and at peace. The family who gave up their spot for a taxi so that the Funky Monkey members and staff could go home since their group had more people.

They searched deep within themselves to find out what it was that they could do right now for their country. "How can we help those who have lost all hope." They went into action right away. First, they started a donation charity fund reaching out and encouraging their fans to donate. But the biggest thing that impacted me was the donation of concert goods that are normally exclusively sold at their concerts. They choose items that could be of used to be given to those at various shelters. The donation goods included 700 blankets and 1100 towels, all items with their trademark logo that normally Funky Monkey Babys fans would pay maybe $40-$80 each for. All given away for free in hopes that it would bring comfort to just 1 person. Yes, the entertainment industry is often tainted gossip of faults and mistakes but it's those that rise above and beyond to use their gifts to better the world that should get more credit.

"One more tear, one more word of courage
that day will come when our wishes will come true
I'm believing so don't give up either
I will raise both hands to the sky however many times it may take."

Lyrics from "Ato Hitotsu" by Funky Monkey Babys

Dog's are very in tune with what's going on around them. It is often said the they know far before humans when earthquakes are about to happen. There is something about dog's that makes them truly special. Man's best friend, a true companion through good and bad and one that will love unconditionally. That's the definition of a dog.

After coming across this video, I knew it was something I had to write about. These 2 dogs from the city of Arahama, Japan were part of horrific earthquake AND tsunami in Japan. The true loyalty that dogs have, not only to their owners but to eachother. Make sure you grab some tissues!

**Note: The video is all in Japanese but pictures are worth a thousand words especially if you love dogs**

Thankfully, both these dogs were rescued and now are doing fine. Yay!

Last week's earthquake and tsunami in Japan has taken many lives, young and old, male and female. This natural disaster did not discriminate in anyway. Everyone who lived in the Sendai and Fukushima region was at risk.

But even then in the midst of the devastation, some lives were spared. For a reason only God knows, they have life again.

A little 4-month-old's cry is what brought attention to the rescue workers.
On March 14 soldiers from the Japanese Defense Force were going door-to-door, pulling bodies from homes flattened by the earthquake and tsunami in Ishinomaki City, a coastal town northeast of Sendai. More accustomed to the crunching of rubble and the sloshing of mud than to the sound of life, they dismissed the baby's cry as a mistake. Until they heard it again. They made their way to the pile of debris, and carefully removed fragments of wood and slate, shattered glass and rocks. And then they saw her: a four-month old baby girl in a pink woolen bear suit. The tidal wave literally swept the unnamed girl away from her parents' arms when it hit their home on March 11. Since then her parents - both of whom survived the disaster - have taken refuge in their wrecked house, and worried that their little girl was dead. Soldiers managed to reunite the baby with her overjoyed father shortly after the rescue. "Her discovery has put a new energy into the search," a civil defense official told a local news crew. "We will listen, look and dig with even more diligence after this." How the child survived drowning - or being crushed by fallen trees and houses - remains a mystery.

Another life that was spared was an elderly women. Here is her story.

Rescuers found the 70-year-old alive inside her home on March 15, four days after the black tidal wave wiped out much of the region. Osaka fire department spokesman Yuko Kotani told the Associated Press the woman is now receiving treatment in a local hospital. She is conscious but suffering from hypothermia.

And lastly, a story that is full of courage and determination.
A 60-year old Shinkawa Hiromitsu survived two days at sea by clinging on to his floating rooftop. He was discovered 10 miles off the Japanese coastline. "Several helicopters and ships passed but none of them noticed me," he said after his March 13 rescue. "I thought that was going to be the last day of my life."

There are many more survival stories as well as those that are truly heroic. I encourage you all to focus on these stories to glean from and to give you hope!

Article from Yahoo! News Time

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