Earlier this spring, I was at shopping mall in Osaka with my family. It was a typical day—a typical day that involved us hanging out at the Ultraman store.
While at the mall, we noticed that there was a LEGO event called "Build Up Japan". Kids were asked to build futuristic structures—by asked, LEGO gave them a bunch of white blocks and pretty much said, have at it, kiddos.
But holding the event in March 2012 was no accident. Build Up Japan wasn't just Japanese kids snapping together LEGO. The idea was to lift the spirits of the children in areas hit hardest by the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. At the Build Up Japan event my kids attended, there were collection boxes to raise funds and aid for quake and tsunami victims.
My boys were probably oblivious to Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami connection—or even the rebuilding motif. Rather, they were simply thrilled that they got to spend the afternoon putting together LEGO and then got a free minifigure for their effort.
The map was finished this past April, and as sister site i09 pointed out, the final map was made up of 1.8 million LEGO blocks with over 5,000 people participating. I'm not sure if my kids' LEGO creations made it into the final map of Japan. But I am sure that they had a wonderful day building and that LEGO Japan's gesture to those hit hardest by Mother Nature could not be more fitting.
Have a look at the building process and the final product. Pictures courtesy of my phone and LEGO Japan.
Build Up Japan [Facebook]