The worst disasters can also bring out the best in people.Â In the days and weeks following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, all walks of life converged into one. AllÂ identity labels disappeared save for one: Japanese.Â Unrest was unheard of as the strong nation started to gather up the pieces and to rebuild together.
But this unity was not an isolated case. The whole world came together to Japanâ€™s aid in many forms.Â For many â€“ especially Californians -Â Japan is more than just where sushi comes from and what theyâ€™ve read in their text books. It is a strong source of cultural influence and a home to family and friends. Art would not be the same and neither would Hollywood.
Thus, Transformers actor Josh Duhamel teamed up with Tokidoki to put together a relief run in Santa Monica on March 27th, 2011.Â Both parties spread the word through social media and television spots andÂ over four thousand people showed up despite the rainy start to the day. To top it off, it stopped raining about half an hour before the run. Success!
I had bothered a lot of my friends to join me in the two mile run and I succeeded in netting seven of them! I made hachimaki (headbands) for all of us to wear so we were some awesome ragtag team. Of awesome.
As you can see, I had decided to dress up for the occasion using components from three different outfits. A lot of little girls ran up to me and wanted pictures! I thought it was super cute. Them. Not me.
Amazingly, aside from the Power Rangers, I was the only one in a costume.
Heck yeah! OFFICIAL Power Rangers!Â I think these are the American actors but I could be wrong. They didnâ€™t run but they high-fived the people running in.
We saw this cute family with caps and flags to cheer people on. Ganbare! (Hang in there!)
It was a bit difficult to run when sandwiched between 3999+ other people on a beach pedestrian road but we all persevered! It was pretty awesome to be part of such a large group.Â Young, old, running, or walking, we were all there for the same cause.
My boyfriend! You can kind of see my skirt there. Luckily Sadly there are no pictures of me clearly running.
A short clip of the run. I cheer people running back.
There were a lot of celebrities at the run: Dianna Agron (Glee) and Teresa Palmer (I am Number Four), Yoshi Tatsu (WWE wrestler), Simone Legno (Tokidoki) just to name a few.Â Kelly and Robert saw Nicky and Paris Hilton and I was sad that I didnâ€™t see them. They got to see Paris Hilton climb inside the Fatburger truck parked at the site to hide from the paparazzi and I didnâ€™t! It’s still hilarious to me.
Snapped a picture of Josh Duhamel but his bodyguards whisked him away before I could jump in for a shot.
Got one with Simone Legno! He had just flown in from Rome the night before and he was running around everywhere before the run. He is always very sweet. Iâ€™m not sure if he recognized me in my getup though.
I piped up afterwards that I hadnâ€™t had been to Kaiten Sushi Daichan in a long time so we all headed over to the restaurant after the run to feast on delicious sushi off the conveyor belt.
Bruce is still working there. Heâ€™s such a funny and all-around great guy! He even recognized us after a few moments (itâ€™s been years and I donâ€™t normally have short curly brown hair!)
I won! (Actually I cheated since thatâ€™s two peopleâ€™s worth of plates on my end. But then Robert cheated with that bottle. HMMMM.
Bruce gave us oranges! Yum!
We got Beard Papaâ€™s (a Japanese cream puff place.) after that and looked around the stores before splitting up again since we were all tired.
I also found this (it also counts the calories in each “bugger”) at the market. And yes, I did paint my nails as tiny Japan flags. Mostly so I can give a thumb’s up at people because I’m a geek.
My group headed back down to my house where we soaked in the jacuzzi until we turned into prunes. The end!
This run held a lot of meaning to many people. My friend David took me aside and told me how a friend of his had shown him a compilation of hateful messages regarding the disasters. The run gave him a new sense of confidence in people and it also gave himself a great personal feeling of success and self-fulfillment.
One might think â€œitâ€™s just a run to raise money, right?â€ or â€œhow can my participation in one event have a huge impact in the wake of such a huge disaster?â€
I didnâ€™t quite understand the extent of his until my Japanese friend Emi â€“ whom I went to school with – contacted me later that she had heard about the event and saw my pictures online.
â€œThank you so much. i can’t stop crying. >< We all Japanese really really appreciate that! Please tell your friends as well.,,then,,,I made a big decision in my mind! I’ll work harder, harder, and harder in art design to repay all gratitudes in the world & make everyone happier ^^â€
The run was more than just about money. It was also about a sense of community and compassion that extended across the Pacific. The amount of money â€“ though important to the cause â€“ cannot hold a candle to how the dedication of over four thousand strangers can touch a nation or make a person feel truly good about his or herself. Â Moral continues to be of huge importance in the rebuilding process and that is simply something that money cannot buy. People will always remember how something made them felt rather than did for them and charitable events like these manage to do both.