Tour pour Tohoku course video
On March 11th, 2011, the world changed for the people of Tohoku. It’s been almost 3 1/2 years, and aside from the clearing away of debris and mud, it hasn’t changed back. While the Japanese Federal Government and Prefectural governments dither over how to rebuild the region, and localities are starved for funds to actually step in and rebuild, non-governmental entities are having to pick up the slack. One of the NGOs that have been on the ground since three days after the tsunami is JEN-NPO. There are many others, but they are doing particularly good work.
In June of 2011, right after I got my Associate of Arts degree from Los Angeles Valley College in Media Arts, I began working with Stu Levy as part of the Post-Production team on the documentary Pray For Japan. I was happy to finally be able to do something concrete to help the people of Tohoku. I remembered when my Twitter blew up about the 9.0 earthquake and the tsunami that followed, only the second largest in recorded history next to the Indonesian tsunami. I felt powerless as the news rolled in. I spent a sleepless night watching news feeds online. Pray For Japan attempts to give voice to those whose voices weren’t heard much during the crisis: the people who survived the tragedy, and the volunteers who came to their aid. In my opinion, the attempt was successful.
The intent of Pray For Japan was also to raise money and awareness. Last Friday, we were able to donate the first proceeds of the film over and above expenses. Here’s a pic of Director/Producer/DP Stu Levy giving the check to Keiko Kiyama, the Managing Director of JEN-NPO.
So what does this have to do with the Otagenki Project, and our goal to get Otaku off the couch?
On Sunday, September 14th, 2014, at 5:30pm, a group of cyclists will take a 6.22 (3.11 miles out and back) mile ride along the Los Angeles County coast, from Playa del Rey to Manhattan Beach. The ride will begin and end at world-famous Dockweiler State Beach. The ride is timed so that we can see a glorious Pacific sunset at its end. As there is another event in Japan going on during the same day, Tour de Tohoku, this event is called Tour pour Tohoku. The course is almost completely flat, it is buffered from traffic as it’s part of the Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Trail, and the distance and pace will be newbie friendly. There is a bike rental facility at Dockweiler, run by Perry’s, which will have bikes available to rent for the event.
There will be a raffle for a Huffy Nel Lusso step-through frame Eurostyle cruiser bike after the ride. All proceeds from the raffle will be able to go to JEN–NPO, because the bike was given to Otagenki Project by Huffy. As you can see, this is a very stylish ride, and is reminiscent of the kind of bikes favored in cycle-friendly towns like Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Utrecht. Valley Bikery in Van Nuys, CA will provide assistance in assembling and fitting the bike for the winner.
This ride will be coinciding with an event going on in the Tohoku region of Japan, the Tour de Tohoku. Also occurring on September 14th on the calendar, this is a much longer course and geared more towards experienced riders. Here is a video giving a taste of what the event looked like last year.
It’s not over. Tohoku still needs our help. This way, we can help and have fun at the same time, with a ride that should be friendly for most riders. You can get more details and RSVP for the event here on Facebook. There is no entry fee but we are asking people to give donations to JEN-NPO on the honor system, and to enter the raffle.