If you’d like to contribute to relief efforts here in Japan, the Japan Society in NYC has set up an Earthquake Relief Fund in coordination with Japanese nonprofits. Please read more and donate here. You can also always donate via Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross, etc.
Here on Kyushu, we remain physically completely unaffected by the earthquake and tsunami. The rolling blackouts in effect on Honshu will probably not extend here, and our trains and everything have been running as normal. It’s business as usual here. I don’t know when I’ve ever felt more fortunate.
In practically every convenience store in the country, there are donation boxes which make collecting for disaster relief incredibly easy. (as you may know, there are convenience stores, or kombinis, on almost every corner) Of course I have no idea where the money is going, but even at the best of times it’s hard for foreigners to penetrate the world of Japanese nonprofits and social services. At some point you just have to have faith.
Lastly, I want to say that it’s incredible to witness the difference between the Japanese response to a huge natural disaster, in comparison to the U.S. after Katrina or Haiti after the earthquake. Japan’s government is far from perfect, but it is so reassuring to feel that they are doing everything they can to save people. The biggest complaints here are that the government and nuclear power companies aren’t disclosing everything they know, which is typical, but on the whole the government has mobilized 100,000 troops to perform rescue ops, has accepted international aid, swiftly evacuated people from around the power plants, and seems to be doing the best they can despite the totally overwhelming extent of this disaster. And certainly their strict enforcement of building codes and emergency preparation in the past has paid off incalculably.
That’s all for now. I’ll post more info if anything changes.