We are officially halfway through our time in Japan today and have 5 days to go, both here in Japan and with our Kickstater campaign.
This morning we took a train to Sendai, where we had the opportunity to interview J-Pop artist Maynard Plant, one of the lead singers and guitarists from the band Monkey Majik.
Maynard is a former JET who worked in the Tohoku region. While he was a JET, he helped form the band Monkey Majik and settled in Sendai in July of 2000. Monkey Majik grew to fame as the Japanese-Canadian pop band and hit mainstream success in 2006 with the chart-topping singles “Fly” and “Around the World.” While most Japanese bands relocate to Tokyo, Maynard and Monkey Majik remained based in Sendai, in large part because of their love for the region and the inspiration it provided for their songwriting.
On March 11, 2011, Maynard had just arrived at the Sendai station by train when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. In the days following, he experienced what many in the affected region did — having to deal with no water, electricity, and lack of food. He knew he couldn’t sit back and do nothing, and decided to begin volunteering however he could.
About a month after the earthquake, he and the members of Monkey Majik got together and decided to collectively make contributions to relief efforts by doing what they knew how to do best — making music. The created Send-ai (Ai is Japanese for love) and held a series of charity concerts where all proceeds went directly to helping with relief and recovery efforts.
Maynard’s story and the story of Monkey Majik embodies everything that the Tohoku Tomo project is all about — people who love the Tohoku region and who are committed to its recovery. We can’t wait to share with you more of Maynard’s story and his insights on what’s to come for the region.
We have five more days in Japan and have a full schedule of interviews lined up — from volunteers and organizations in Fukushima to other JETS and volunteers who are actively involved in the ongoing efforts to rebuild and restore Tohoku.
Our team is holding strong and is encouraged by the outpouring of support and encouragement we are receiving, both through your financial support and your feedback. We want to finish strong and are just about $2,000 shy of our $10,000 operating budget for this project. Please continue to help us spread the word about this project to your family, friends, and anyone who has ties to Tohoku and Japan.
Thank you so much to Maynard for this time and inspiration today!