Dan Herbertson of MMA Fighting caught up with PRIDE veteran and MMA living legend Enson Inoue after the former fighter took up the cause of helping out the victims of the tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan last month. Inoue borders on the reckless as he drove alone north to Sendai near the Fukushima plant, risking radiation exposure.
Inoue's account is both gripping and heart wrenching. To grasp just how deprived the victims are, here's Inoue describing his eureka moment when he realized just how dire the situation actually is:
Did you ever have a moment that made you suddenly realize the extent of the damage?
At one place, I was passing out supplies and I asked this guy if he needs anything and he said, 'Shoes.' I said, 'Shoes? You need shoes? I don't know your size?' and he just told me that any size is OK. I looked down at his feet and he had these tiny little plastic bathroom slippers. Then I realized that these guys just put whatever on their feet and ran out of their houses and lost everything. It's stuff like shoes. Things you assume everyone has. It was then that it really hit me and I realized what these people went through. So I went to another town and bought 25 pairs of shoes to give out and they were all gone in like 30 seconds.
The whole thing is a must-read. Inoue's generosity and lack of personal concern is as rare as it is welcome. The story of his efforts also underscores not only how badly parts of Japan were damaged, but how difficult executing rescue, clean up and general disaster relief efforts are even today.
There's a link to help out via the Red Cross in the piece as well as to donate to Inoue's paypal address, which will enable him to help out others. Feel free to do your part.