Japan Aid Update

It has been a while since I’ve updated with earthquake and tsunami relief information.  The news in America has all but ceased coverage, and life in some areas have returned to normal.  However, rebuilding entire towns takes years so this post serves a dual purpose of showing that every little bit does count for something and of keeping you updated on more charity opportunities.

When I made my post about Japanese celebrities helping out, I hadn’t seen the blog posts by Sugizo of Luna Sea and X Japan.  He actually took the time to go down to Ishinomaki to help out.

My friend and tsunami survivor Canon Purdy recently traveled back to Minamisanriku to hand over the money she raised through her SaveMiyagi charity.  She has updated the blog section of the site with pictures of the rebuilding.  She plans on continuing to raise money and is currently helping out in Ishinomaki with Peace Boat.

One of my Tome sempai, Lucy Onodera, notified me about a charity run her sisters were doing in England.  They’re collecting money to buy school supplies and other necessities for orphaned children.

Speaking of Tome, the city’s mayor sent a letter to Southlake’s mayor expressing his gratitude towards the citizens of Southlake who dedicated their time and money to helping out their sister city.  Remember this banner from the Southlake 4 Japan benefit concert?  It’s currently on display in Tome’s city hall.
ssc banner

A couple weeks ago, the steampunk event Anachronism III took place in New York.  The theme was “A Visit to Edo”, and part of proceeds went to various earthquake relief efforts.  If you missed out, you can still donate to the steampunk-helmed charity Rising Phoenix Circle

If you didn’t catch the Cosplay for a Cause link in my Guide to Cosplay, here it is again.  The profits from the calendar sales will go to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

Blogger La Carmina, actor Sebastiano Serafini, and Soho Hearts are selling a necklace to help the Sendai government in rebuilding areas of the Miyagi Prefecture.
pray for japan necklace
Photo from La Carmina

Smile Kids Japan and Living Dreams have teamed up to help children affected by the disaster by providing basic necessities, toys, school supplies, and counseling services. Smile Kids Japan also contains a video with an update on Taylor Anderson’s Memorial Fund.  Kyodo News also reports that her family has donated money for books to all the schools she taught at.

There will be a free benefit concert at Corner Stone Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas tomorrow.  Donations will go to aid Kesennuma Elementary School and Utatsu Junior High.  If you can’t attend but would like to help, please contact me and I will give you information on where to donate.
FW benefit concert
Check out the concert’s webpage for messages from Japanese athletes and the office of George W. Bush.

It’s great to see so much hard work and dedication being put to helping out those in need.  Let’s continue to show Japan our support.

Listening to:[-club REALISTIC-]” by MoNoLith

T-shirts for Japan

T-shirts are a very basic but necessary wardrobe staple.  They are also a common item to sell for charity.  Although donating directly is still the best way to support relief efforts, T-shirts have the added advantage of raising awareness when the news coverage has stopped.  Not to mention people just need an extra incentive to pitch in (the unfortunate truth of our materialistic world). In response to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, several celebrities and fashion designers have come up with T-shirts to raise money.

Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park immediately started coming up with T-shirt designs when he heard the news. Fans voted for the origami butterfly (which represents rebirth) and the “Not alone” text with a Japan flag. The butterfly shirt comes in men’s and women’s sizes. The band is selling the tees for $25 with proceeds going to Music for Relief.

Although it is already sold out, Italian brand tokidoki created a cute anime-inspired T-shirt for Josh Duhamel’s Youth Run 4 Japan. In the clip, you can see Fergie, Paris and Nicky Hilton, and Duhamel himself sporting the shirt (real men aren’t afraid of wearing kawaii tees, especially if they’re for a good cause).

Snoop Dogg teamed up with Neff Headwear created the Keep Ya Head Up Japan shirt. It costs $19.99, and proceeds go Operation USA.

Another collaboration involves Olympian Johnny Weir and Sendai designer Tadashi Shoji for the Japanese Red Cross Society. Their T-shirt has words like “prayers”, “love”, and “support” in a heart shape and is $25.

Iron Maiden, who had to cancel their Tokyo shows, is selling their tour T-shirt, which features a demonic samurai design, for £20.50. Proceeds also go to the Japanese Red Cross.

Gwen Stefani’s label, Harajuku lovers, has released their “We love you Japan” tee for Red Cross efforts. It has cartoon geisha versions of the singer and her dancers and goes for $40.

Anna Sui has men’s and women’s Japan relief shirt for just $20. The men’s is in black while the women’s is in light purple. Both have a heart design with the words, “We’re all in this together.”

h.NAOTO has gathered his fellow designers at S-inc for the Ganbare Tohoku project. He has created four shirts while Mint from Sixh, Gashicon of HANGRY&ANGRY, and T. Kunimoto of gouk have each made one. The site also show photos and messages from musicians, shopkeepers, and the designers themselves.

Gap is selling two gray shirts to raise money for Global Giving while Threadless had people submit, then vote on a design for their Japan relief shirt. PalmerCash has made some cool ones that have the official symbols of cities and prefectures affected by the quake.

There are lots more T-shirts by celebrities and fashion brands out there, and we haven’t even gotten to the local efforts. Otouto is pictured here with a shirt and wristband he picked up at the Houston Japanese Festival.
Japan relief shirt
So if you’re looking to replace some old tees, why not get one for a good cause?

Listening to: “Song for Minamisanriku” by tantricdragon

Another tragic loss in the JET community

It is with great sadness that I bring the news that the body of Montgomery “Monty” Dickson has been found.  He has been missing since the tsunami struck; the last contact he made was with his girlfriend, minutes after the earthquake.  Although I didn’t know Monty, comments on the news reports say that he was an intelligent and kind teacher and friend with a joie de vivre.   My heart goes out to his family, friends, and girlfriend who have been waiting the past three weeks for news.

I can’t believe nearly a month has passed since the earthquake and tsunami.  Some areas are slowly getting back on their feet, but there are still thousands of people missing and the looming shadow of nuclear disaster.  Please continue to keep Japan in your thoughts and to continue donating.

More ways to donate:

More events
If you’re in the San Francisco area, check out Dance for Japan out in Burlingham on April 8 from 10 PM-2 AM. Donations will go to Architecture for Humanity.

Flood of Emotion: Artists Healing Japan Fundraiser is happening this Saturday (April 9) from 7 PM-12 AM in Dallas. Local artists, musicians, and poets will provide various forms of entertainment, and there will be over 200 items auctioned off.  The money will go towards the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth Sendai Relief Fund.  Before you head off to the event, consider grabbing dinner at Sushi Zushi. Throughout the month of April, they will donate all edamame and miso soup sales to Red Cross efforts.

Houstonians need not be left out.  The annual Japan Festival of Houston is taking place April 9 and 10 in Hermann Park. They will be collecting donations to the Japan Red Cross.

I’ve already mentioned this, but the Japan Society of New York has organized Concert for Japan for their earthquake relief fund.  It’s an all-day event on April 9.  Gala block tickets are sold out, but you can still catch New York Suwa Taiko Association, Cocolo Japanese Gospel Choir, echostream, DJ Aki, and many more for just $5.

In Miyagi’s sister state of Delaware, the governor and his wife will be among the guests at the luncheon fundraiser on April 14 from 12-2 PM in Dover.  Donations will go to the Delaware Fund for Miyagi, Japan.  Two days later, there will be a Japanese Cultural Affair fundraiser with educational activities, displays, and food.

Don’t forget to check out Canon Purdy’s Save Miyagi for more events, news, interesting articles, and updates on her charity.

Also, JETs and friends of JETs all over the world are making paper cranes in honor of Taylor Anderson, Monty Dickson, and everyone else who has died or is still missing.  Cranes are a symbol of longevity, peace, and good luck so let’s send a message of hope to all those who have been affected by this tragedy.

Updated April 7, 2011 4:21 PM
A 7.1 earthquake struck off the coast of Miyagi today. This is the biggest aftershock Japan has experienced since March 11. So far my friends with Internet access have said they’re fine but the power has been knocked out.

A charity I didn’t include on my huge list a few posts back is Peace Boat. Their volunteers have been hard at work since March 16. The site tells you how to donate money, supplies, and time.

Canon has posted a link of restaurants in San Francisco that are pitching in. If you live there, consider dining out at one of those places.

Southlake is giving a hand to its sister city, Tome, by collecting donations. There will also be a charity concert featuring local bands, organized by one of the students who participated in the exchange program between the cities (the same one that made me interested in JET), on May 7th from 6PM – 9PM in Southlake Town Square.

Lastly, my friend and fellow writer, Stuart Stutzman will donate all profits made from his two books, Hipster Chick and Bipolar Summer, to the JASDFW Sendai Relief Fund. Purchase them here.

Charity events for Japan

Even though Japan is no longer making headlines (with the exception of a few over-sensationalized updates on Fukushima Daiichi), the disasters in Japan still weigh heavily on my mind and heart. I am, however, comforted by the multiple charity events that are going on all over the world. I thought I would recognize the individuals who are making an effort to help out and to bring your attention to events in the future.

My friend did a 72-hour Pokémon gaming marathon this weekend with proceeds going to Mercy Corps.

Blogger La Carmina has been busy and recently posted up photos of the various L.A. events she attended, including one at Q Pop shop.

That isn’t it for L.A. though. There’s a city-wide bake sale on April 2 to benefit Peace Winds Japan. Check out this page if you think you’ve got the skills to make “high-end” pastries. If you prefer eating to baking, hit up one of the restaurants listed here and a portion of your bill with go towards earthquake/tsunami relief.

New York restaurants are doing the same by donating 5% of profits to the Red Cross. Click here for a list of participating restaurants. Also, mark your calendars for Japan Society’s Concert for Japan on April 9. The 12-hour event features performances by New York Suwa Taiko Association, Ryuichi Sakamoto, echostream, and many more. A complete schedule and ticket information can be found at the Japan Society website.

Texas has a few concerts as well. The first is hosted by the University of North Texas in Denton on March 28, featuring Jisoo (Grace) Kim, Alyse Hashi, Eri Yoshimura, and Yoshiko Shamoto. Proceeds will go to American Red Cross. You can get your tickets here. Romantic Tchaikovsky by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra runs from March 31 to April 3, and a portion of ticket sales with go to aid the citizens of Sendai, Dallas’ friendship city. Van Cliburn gold medalist Olga Kern will play the piano. Lastly, Texas Christian University will host a free benefit concert in the PepsiCo Recital Hall (2800 University Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76129) on April 7 at 5 PM. Call the music office at 817-257-7602 for more information.

Over in the U.K., Helping Hands for Japan, which already had one fundraiser at Oxford Town Hall, is hosting an event on April 9 and 10 at Marlborough School in Woodstock. There will be taiko performances, swordsmanship demos, workshops, and Japanese food.

If you’re a bit short on money, here are some alternative ways to help encourage the people in need. Hope Letters is seeking inspirational messages for Japanese students, emergency works, or the general public. They also need help translating. If you’re better at expressing yourself through art, then send your drawings to Japan Ganbare. Finally, cosplayers from all across the globe can show their support to the country that helped popularize their hobby at Prayers for Cosplayers.

Updated March 30, 2011 3:31 PM
Taylor Anderson’s high school has set up the Taylor Anderson ’04 Memorial Gift Fund. The money will be used to rebuild the schools in Ishinomaki she taught at.

If you’re a RENThead like me and you live near Pasadena, a group of Broadway stars, including Adam Pascal, Gwen Stewart, and Yuka Takara of RENT fame, will be performing in Rebuild Japan: A Benefit Concert on April 4. It’s at the Pasadena Playhouse and will be benefiting American Red Cross.

Listening to: “Sorairo Days” by Shoko Nakagawa

Celebs sing, donate, tweet for earthquake relief

It’s easy to give up hope when you see all the images of the earthquake and tsunami aftermath and hear of a potential nuclear meltdown. To make things worse, there are hateful comments about how the Japanese don’t need ourselves and insensitive Tweets by celebrities. We can’t give up hope though, and we can’t stop trying. Even if no one around us is helping out, we have to do what we can.

I came across a facebook note full of translated Tweets: these are some inspiring messages. Many manga artists and Japanese musicians are creating works to inspire their people. Here is one such example by Yoko Kanno:

Other celebrities and large corporations have either donated money or set up a fund:

  • AKS and associates (i.e. all the members of AKB48 and related groups as well as the staff) – 500 million yen (~$6.2 million)
  • Bae Yong Joon – 72 million yen (~$900k)
  • Beat Takeshi and George Tokoro – 10 million yen (~$2.4 million)
  • EXILE – undisclosed amount + 50k bottles of water
  • Glay – 1 million yen (~$240k)
  • General Motors – $750k
  • Honda, Nissan, and Toyota – $3.75 million each
  • Ichiro Suzuki – $1.7 million
  • Johnny’s Entertainment – power-supply vehicles + truck carrying bottled water
  • KARA – donating profits from their single “Jet Coaster Love”
  • Kazuki Kato – 500k yen (~$6k)
  • New York Yankees – $100k
  • Nintendo – 300 million yen (~$3.6 million)
  • Nissin Foods, makers of Cup Noodle – 1 million food items
  • Panasonic Corp.- 300 million yen (~$3 million) + 500k batteries + 10k flashlights
  • Sandra Bullock – $1 million
  • Square Enix – 1 million yen ($240k)

I’ve already mentioned Gackt’s charity in my previous post, which is getting more and more celebrities. AKB48 has set up a donations account for their Japanese fans, and T.M. Revolution is organizing a charity event. Yoshiki has announced that he will be auctioning off his crystal piano for charity.

American and European celebs haven’t ignored the crisis either.
More celebrities are contributing to the cause. I’ve already mentioned fundraising efforts by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and Lady Gaga. Petra Nemacova has stated that she is looking for the best way to use donations from her charity organization, Happy Hearts Fund. Katy Perry has said that if you buy a light-up wand from her tour, proceeds will go to disaster relief. Boyz II Men talked about their connection with Sendai and set up a fund. Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, who has said he has donated his own money, is auctioning off rare band items for charity. Even Charlie Sheen has pledge to donate $1 of every ticket to his upcoming tour sold.

In addition, I have posted some Tweets by actions sports athletes over on my other blog, To the Power of X. If you’re in L.A., you should check out La Carmina’s blog for charity events in the area.

Lastly I leave you with one more source of inspiration. Yo Hitoto wrote the song “Hanamizuki” in response to the 9-11 attacks. Her message was that while grief can be felt across far distances, love can heal us and bring us towards world peace. An English version of her song was covered by New Zealand singer Hayley Westenra. I thought this would be an appropriate message to all our friends in Japan: