As most people know by now earthquakes and a tsunami have devastated parts of Japan, taking more than 10,000 lives so far. A nuclear disaster is imminent as well with damage to at least one nuclear reactor. The brave people of Japan need your help. I visited Japan a few years ago and was astounded by the people, the culture, the vibrant beauty I saw everywhere. I met many great people—including poets, artists, writers, lowrider aficionados, and musicians. My friend Shin Miyata arranged for me to be part of a tour by East LA’s Quetzal Flores, Martha Gonzales, and David Gomez. The best harmonica player in the world, Tex Nakamura, who also played with the band War, accompanied us at nightclubs and cafés. A couple of times I read poetry with jarana guitars, cajon, bass, and soulful harmonica for accompaniment. Shin Miyata owns Music Camp, Inc., a record company/distributor. He has a label called Barrio Gold that has reissued Chicano popular music from the 1960s to the present (I’m talking about classics like Thee Midniters, Malo, El Chicano, the Ramparts Record groups, Quetzal, and more). He also helps bring new acts from Chicano artists in U.S. barrios to an appreciative Japanese audience. Here’s what Miyata has to say about the terrible earthquakes that have shaken Japan to its core (this is from three days ago):
Hi Luis. We had another big one an hour and 45 minutes ago near Mt. Fuji. There are no reports of big damage, but it was a really big event in Tokyo. The electric power has been started up again, but so far it has affected only particular places, and it has only lasted one or two hours. But the earthquake caused much confusion and impaired the train system. As for nuclear trouble, people got very nervous and there was a little bit of panic. People ran to get food and gas. It is kind of crazy. Thank you. ShinThen yesterday, Shin wrote me this:
Dear Luis. We are now in the third day from the big quake. So many aftershocks have continued. We’re mostly concerned now about the problems with the nuclear power plant. People within 20 km of the nuclear power plant have been forced to evacuate. And as of today electric power will be stopped twice a day, three hours per each time, around the Tokyo area. The transportation system, especially trains, seem to not run on a regular schedule. There are many train lines that are not running. The government says this will continue until the end of April. Apparently this will affect many businesses, including restaurants, convenience stores, hospitals... We in Tokyo do understand this forced situation. We have to sacrifice as much as possible to rescue people in the northern part of the country called “Tohoku.” I will let you know more later. I am going to ride my bike to see how my offices have held up. I’m just trying to keep our business going. Gracias. ShinTo read more from Shin, please see an interview by our friend David Gomez. Please give any support you can to help the people of Japan. c/s
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