Fundraising is Fun!
Although we were free from tsunamis, had plenty of electricity, and only felt one or two shakes from the ongoing earthquakes, as the details of the nuclear power plants were slowly unfolding, gasoline and kerosene supplies were limited, and trains were running off schedule. The situation was constantly changing, and the accounts of what was happening often contradicted each other, depending on which news program, blog, articles, embassy website... we read. Two of our guests were sent tickets from their worried parents and off they went. A few more changed their flights and we decided that it was time for a farewell fundraising nabe.
Yasu did the shopping and the cooking and made 4 pots of kimchi miso nabe for 16 of us. In return we asked everyone to make a donation to a local NGO who would be providing rescue and relief to those in Northern Japan. We were able to raise ¥43,500 at the dinner party. We also donated the money from newly arrived guests and sent a total of $650 to Shapla Neer in Tokyo.
It felt great to DO something. We had all been a bit nervous, confused, stressed, worried, frustrated... from watching the news. Making the effort to make a change relieved a lot of anxiety. I also went to Hakuba City Hall to find out what else I could do. They provided me with a list of goods that were needed up north and in the shelters and I sent ¥9000 of feminine hygiene products to help out some of the women who couldnt get to a drugstore to pick up their monthly needs.
If you are troubled but what you see on television I highly recommend you DO something as well. If you can't physically be there to make the change than support those who are there by donating some money. Every little bit helps. A dear friend I lived with when I first moved to Japan has been making cute skirts for kids for the cause.
Here are some other links to Japanese and international organizations providing aid in Japan:
American Red Cross
Canpan Fields (Japanese NPO)
Save the Children
Non-Believers Giving Aid (scroll down the page for Japan earthquake relief)
NGO Jen (in English and Japanese)
International Medical Corps
Association of Medical Doctors in Asia Shapla Neer Japanese Red Cross
If you are not in the mood to donate to the victims of the 3-11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, then I suggest seeking out another cause. There are plenty of people, places, and creatures, on this beautiful planet that could use some help.