Tuttle and I have agreed that 50 per cent of my royalty payments from “Drinking Japan” will go to the Japanese Red Cross to help Japanese Earthquake Relief. Unfortunately, this will not include the small advance on royalties that I have already received from Tuttle, because all of that (and much more) has already been spent on getting myself around the country for the book. But, hopefully, we will be able to raise a little money.
The earthquake hit just as we were about to publish the book, and I must admit to wondering why on earth I was seeking to promote a book about something as trivial as drinking culture in the middle of such tragedy. I concluded that giving some of the proceeds from the book to earthquake relief was the right thing to do in the situation.
I also thought quite carefully about the rights and wrongs of publicising the payment. Why not just give the money quietly to the Red Cross myself? Was I seeking to take advantage of a tragedy? This is my reasoning for telling people about it: by publicising the payment I hope to slightly increase the sales of the book and therefore increase my ability to give money to quake relief.
Obviously, if you are looking to give money to that cause it would be MUCH more efficient to donate money directly:
to the Japanese Red Cross Society,
But if you are interested in the book and might have considered buying it it in any case, then maybe this makes purchasing it a bit less odd at this time.