Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week or so, you will be aware that an M8.9 earthquake has struck northern Japan. This has set off a chain of events that has bought parts of Japan to its knees. A tsunami has wiped the city of Sendai off the map, and damage from the earthquake has caused problems at their nuclear power plant in Fukushima

I was invited by a friend to a Facebook campaign to help aid efforts and the people of Japan with messages of encouragement. After hearing about the earthquake and tsunami,  I felt quite powerless to help the people of Japan, so I decided to give what support I could and attended this event. This is a very small act compared to what other organisations are doing, but any help is good help.

The campaign starts to pick up momentum

As we scour the steps of St. Paul's for messages, the smell of curiosity starts to drift far and wide

The plan was simple: Divide into teams and go to various locations around London and collect messages from people. Each passer-by would write a message on a cloth which will soon be united with other pieces to form the Japanese flag.

We were lucky the weather was nice. It wasn’t too cold, but sit down for too long and you will feel it. The sun was out, so that meant, people will be out too. which is a good thing when you need people to support you.

Crowds gather to leave their messages

I spent most of my time assisting my friend who was filming the event. It has been a while since I held a camera so, to my dismay, I became the boom operator instead. We managed to get a lot of footage and interviews that Sunday afternoon. Almost everyone was willing to be interviewed. I suppose holding some professional looking equipment holds some status of authority? It was very different from interviews I see on television; I was able to peer into the interviewee’s eyes and see the sorrow and pity along with genuine sympathy.

Running out of space

I was surprised to see another camera crew there. It turns out that the event was covered by a NHK news crew – Japan’s equivalent of the BBC, so I am sure the people of Japan will hear about this.

It was an incredibly moving experience, I met a lot of people that day and heard what they thought of the situation. It is touching to know that people from all walks of life are thinking of the people in Japan.

Messages left by people in London

So this is what the end result is like: