Naoto Matsumura lives in Tomioka, Japan. He is the only person living in Tomioka, Japan. Once home to over 16,000 people, the city has been closed down by the government due to radiation dangers from the TEPCO Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in the wake of last year's tsunami.
Matsumura is a fifth-generation farmer who has lived here his entire life. When the government evacuated the city, no plan was made to evacuate or care for the thousands of pets and livestock left behind. Matsumura refused to evacuate without his dog, and so he remained behind. Soon the starving and desperate animals left uncared for found their way to him, and now he does what he can to feed them all. He sees death every day, but still he fights for life. He gives these animals food, he gives them care, and he gives them what they lost when their people were forced to leave them behind--human love.
Mr. Matsumura is living without electricity, without running water, and with barely enough food for himself. That's not what struck me about his story, though. What struck me is that we all know what it means to live in a zone with that kind of radioactive contamination. We all know the choice Mr. Matsumura is making. He is giving his life for these animals. Literally. Thus far he has made this struggle alone.
You can read more about him here. I forewarn you that I haven't cried so hard since the day we lost Scarlett.
I don't talk about it a lot, but between Homer's Facebook fans, his Facebook friends, the fans of the book's Facebook page, and the people who follow Homer on Twitter, there are 30,000 of us (not counting however many people read this blog). 30,000. We could be an army, if we wanted to be.
I think we should be an army. I think we should be an army for good. Or, better yet, we should be heroes. This man--this extraordinary human being, the kind of man who comes along no more than maybe once or twice in a generation--deserves to know that we support him. He deserves to know that we bear witness to his struggles, his selflessness, and his courage. I want this man to know that he may be alone in the only home he's ever known, but he is not alone in this world. We stand with him. He may live alone on the other side of the world, but he also lives with us in our hearts. Our hearts have no borders.
Mr. Matsumura needs money to continue to care for these starving, abandoned animals, and I'm asking you to give. I'm asking you to give as much as you can, think about it a minute, and then give a few dollars more. I'm asking you to share Mr. Matsumura's story with your friends, your families, on your Facebook pages, on your Twitter feeds, on message boards and online community groups, and anywhere else you can. I am asking all of you--all of us--to show what a force for good we can be when we put our minds to it.
There are people out there who call us "crazy." They call us "crazy cat ladies" (or "crazy cat dudes"). They roll their eyes when we talk about the animals we love, they mock us, they belittle us and the things we do. I say that if protecting the innocent and caring about every life--no matter how tiny, no matter how supposedly "insignificant"--makes me crazy, then by God I'm crazy. I'm insane. I'm a certifiable loon.
You know what the best part is? I know I'm not alone.
Give. Please give. Follow the link below to make your donation.
God bless you all, and God bless Naoto Matsumura.