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When the ocean invaded Japan’s shore and nuclear reactors burned after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake shook the east coast of Honshu on March 11 at 2:46 p.m., the world watched, helpless.

A week later, a Briton living in Japan — known only by his Twitter handle, Our Man in Abiko — had an idea. He tweeted, “I want to compile a book of quake experiences and publish it like within a week and donate all the profits to Red Cross. We have the technology.”
Dan Ryan, one of the book’s editors, likens the dispersing of those 142 characters to a whisper stream. Within 15 hours, Our Man in Abiko had 64 submissions.

2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake ($10) is available both as a Kindle e-book and in paperback at Amazon.com.

Hashtagged on Twitter as #quakebook during the ?project, 2:46: Aftershocks went from concept to completion in just over a week and includes contributions from Yoko Ono, William Gibson and Jake Adelstein, as well as essays and photographs from survivors in Japan, journalists who lived through the disaster and people across the globe who were affected in some way. Every penny from sales goes directly to the Japan Red Cross (even Amazon is donating its typical cut).

Within its pages, words of reflection on the Japanese earthquake and its aftermath include those of an octogenarian encouraging younger generations; a father of a young child describing the uncertainty and the second-guessing of evacuation; and a Canadian who looks into the eyes of those around him after the first shock waves subside and, for the first time in eight years, doesn’t feel like a foreigner. The raw emotions of these deeply personal accounts come together in the little e-book that could — help, that is.