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Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance producer, photography instructor, tech innovator, and when needed, disaster aid specialist. Disclaimer: Michael is a participant in Bhphoto & Amazon affiliate programs that provides an advertising commission if you purchase through links on this website.


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04.11.11         michael's insights  

Serve and Observe


Aside from the many opportunities for service in Japan, a secondary goal of mine here has been to carefully watch and study how the recovery effort plays out.

The better I understand why, when and how certain events happen, the better prepared I can be should I decide to get involved again. What I learned from Haiti last your has been a huge asset in Japan. Honestly, I am a little shocked by how lucky I am to get hooked up with exactly the right people, but it is critical for me find ways to improve and get better at what I can personally offer.

I keep a running list of all the mistakes I have made here, the gear I wish I had, software I wish I would have developed and contacts I needed. Some of these things are exactly the same as Haiti, and for whatever reason I got distracted with work or thought I would have more time. I'm personally embarrassed by this. I feel bad it took me 3 days to think, plan, shop and go.

When a disaster hits, you have absolutely no time to "get ready" for it. Either you are or you are not. Plan and prepare now if you haven't.

It's looking like I'll be going back to Maui on Thursday. The Meysen team has offered me a ride to the airport in Tokyo, a 5 hour ride away. I'll take a few days off when I get back, but as soon as I get my mental strength, I have many things I need to do, including: get ready for the next disaster. I'm just going to pack my bag as if I was leaving in a few days just to have it ready.

I'm brainstorming on ideas for different types of software that would have/ could have solved a lot of problems for us here. Meysen works with a company called "Grape City" which develops software and movies. There is a chance of a possible collaboration here, but I would have to do the design work and pitch it to them.

I'm pretty certain I am going to get some more specialized training. There is a Search and Rescue Team in Hawaii I have been in contact with, I would really like to hook up with them when I get back.

Nate Farnsworth is going to give me a motorcycle riding crash course- that should be fun. I would also really like to learn as much as I can about repelling.

Maui is a strategic place to live, so when something happens again in Japan, I will be much faster to move. 3 days is just way too long. Having made and worked with so many great friends here makes it so much easier to get started from day one.

If something happens again in Japan, I will be ready.

I spent the day at Grape City and should be here until Thursday. Grape City is amazing- it is the largest production studio north of Tokyo. They have a HUGE sound stage and incredible facilities. I saw some of the videos they make for Meysen- just jaw dropping good. They are also interested in developing iPad educational tools. They have so many interesting things going on that they are making it really hard for me to leave. I could just stay here for weeks and learn. It's pretty much my dream world for what I do now as well as what I would like to become.

Will try to visit the Meysen School again on Tuesday or Wednesday as school recently started.

More updates to come....



At Grape City today- Editing a video about the work we have been doing.
Yes- there is a green fanta! Tasted like cream soda.
The guys went out to eat at Baskin Robbins and then a Denny's type restaurant. In that order.

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