Tag Archives: Japan

Going to Japan?

Hey everyone,

Mike and I are considering going to Japan next year as a way to finalize the Cali Cares journey.  The idea came to us when we heard about this opportunity:

Japan Tourism Agency to give out 10,000 flights to would be tourists

The Japan Tourism Agency plans to ask would-be travellers to submit online applications for the free flights, detailing which areas of the country they would like to visit, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said.

The agency will select the successful entrants and ask them to write a report about their trip which will be published on the internet.

Needless to say, we were going crazy over the idea of actually going to Japan.  After researching this news more I found out that this opportunity is not a for sure thing yet.  In any case, Mike has been editing the video footage from his trip and is making a short video.  We plan on submiting this, with our personal interviews, and crossing our fingers.

I get the goosebumps thinking about Mike being able to ride a stretch of the Japanese coast on the same bike he road down our coast.  I can’t think of a more fitting end for this journey.

For more on the travel opportunity check out this article from the Telegraph.



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Coca Cola and Red Cross come together for change.

Imagine that you are thirsty and you want a soda, so you walk up to the soda machine and put in your $2.00.  You pick your $1.50 favorite (what is your favorite?) and after the bottle pops out you are given a choice:  keep the change or donate to the Japanese Red Cross…

For more information about this Coca Cola and Red Cross collaboration check out this site and enjoy the video of it in use.


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U.S. and Japan in the World Cup Final

Less than a week ago both of these teams seemed destined to fail, and fall short of any world cup glory.

The Americans were low on confidence before the Brazil game, and it seemed certain that we were not going any further in this tournament.  It took the latest goal ever to be scored in world cup history to bring us back to life.  But that didn’t seal the deal; we still had to win it on penalties!

The Japanese have not had an easy road either.  They had to defeat two time defending champion Germany, on their home soil none the less.  They also played late into the game before getting a shocking goal to win.  A goal that put them farther into the tournament then any Japanese team before.

Even though they both won emotional victories they weren’t through to the final until today.  America sank the French 3:1 and Japan came back from a goal down to beat Sweden 3:1.  Watch the goals… The ladies can play!

It must be especially pleasing for the Japanese women to taste victory and make their country proud.  After a year of bad news I hope that everyone in Japan will be able to enjoy what their women are doing, and celebrate how far they have come as a team and a nation.

Both teams are riding high after a historic week.  Now, we will be privileged to a world class showdown on Sunday @1145 Pacific time.

May the best team win!


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Sunflowers will clean up radiation leaked from power plant.

Mike’s journey has come to an end but we will continue to post interesting stories. Check in often to see what’s new with Japan, California, and our Pacific connection.

Today I learned about a project which will help develop cultural unity and remove radiation leaked from the Fukushima nuclear reactor. How? By planting fields of sunflowers in the reactors fallout zone.

Beauty and function meet to clean up the fallout.

The goal is a landscape so yellow that “it will surprise NASA,” says project manager Shinji Handa.  For more information on this project visit the mother nature network and enjoy the full article.


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Japan shocks Germany in women’s world cup- players thank the world for support.

The Japanese women’s soccer team did the unthinkable yesterday and beat two time defending champions Germany thanks to a clinical finish from Karina Maruyama.  It’s a victory that many are calling, “one of the biggest upsets in Women’s World Cup history.”

Going into the match as the host nation, the Germans were heavily favored to clinch a semifinal spot.  It took an overtime goal in the 108′ minute by Karina Maruyama to break a zero-zero deadlock and put Japan into the semifinals.  It is the farthest the Japanese have ever made it in this tournament.

Japan’s coach, Norio Sasaki commented after the game, “Our playing is to be an encouragement for the victims of the disaster.”

The players took a moment after the game to give thanks to all of their friends who have supported Japan’s road to recovery.

Here is a full article on the victory from the NY Times.  Congratulations Japan, and best of luck in your next game.


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Reflections on the Cali Cares Journey.

Hey everyone,

The Cali Cares campaign has nearly reached its end.  Thank you for following Mike’s ride, and if you read his last post, you know there will be one or two more turns left in this journey.

Today I want to share my thoughts on a successful and enlightening project.

A sketch by Mike for a Cali Cares brochure. Circa April 2011.

Cali Cares has become more than just raising support and awareness for survivors of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.  It is a story of one man’s dedication, and a testament, that all of us are capable of doing more.

To my knowledge, before Cali Cares the farthest Mike would ride a bike was down to the beach, about 2 miles, and he certainly wasn’t worried about where he would stay the night.  That’s not to say he didn’t train, he did, but there were a lot more questions than answers when this voyage began.  Now, he can ride 60 or more miles a day, he met some amazing people, was privileged to breathtaking scenery, and he helped raise money for a good cause.

I have to include myself in here as well.  Before Cali Cares I had little knowledge about Japan, experience with blogs, charities, etc.. but I have come away from this project feeling educated.  Both Mike and I have found that by helping others we have ultimately helped ourselves.

For these reasons alone I feel like this project has been a success.  However, I have learned a few other things, and I feel it would be a shame not to share them with you.

A few months ago Mike came to me with this question:

“How can I show these people halfway across the world that I sincerely care about them?”

With all of the footage on the news it certainly made us feel like we live in a glass box.  But, an empowering thing happened as we explored Mike’s question… We found that while technology may have helped to construct a glass box, it also has the potential to break this box, and provide a level of support which is more human than we first realized.

It’s only a matter of time before future disasters in other parts of the world affect us economically, environmentally, emotionally, etc…  But what we learned over the course of this project is that we can use websites, blogs, social media devices, and other neat things (double impact and free rice) to provide support for people outside of our physical range.  And the type of support is becoming more immediate, personalized, and sincere.

I think that Cali Cares has become an example of this.  I don’t know how many survivors have seen this blog, perhaps zero, but it is now documented that we care about you and your struggle, we love you, and we want you to love the ocean and the earth again.

Knowing that we are leaving this legacy has given us a certain satisfaction… We have answered Mike’s question.

And the future is bright with opportunity.

A little girl in Ofunato receiving a pair of socks. Courtesy of Socks for Japan.

“May you always be close to someone who cares.”


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Making the Paper!

While Mike rested over the weekend he met with Tammy Marashlian, a senior writer with the Signal newspaper. They discussed how Cali Cares came about and what it has become….

The Signal Article 

Mike will be getting back on the road today so expect a new post soon as he continues his journey.  That lucky guy is probably enjoying some lovely Santa Barbara weather right now.  It’s a far cry from the damp days he spent in the Redwoods!  Stay tuned over the next week as his bike ride comes to an end.

Fundraising update!  So far we have collected 170.00 dollars for Doctors without Borders.  We thank everyone who has given generously.

Our goal is to raise 840 dollars.  This amount equals one dollar for each mile of California’s coastline.  Mike and I have decided to leave the donation link open until July 11th; four months to the day after the disaster.  Check out the *CARE* page for more information.


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