Earthquake in Japan - what we can do

Helping out friends and family in Japan:

[ed note: UPDATE]

The wonderful Makiko Itoh (author of Just Hungry and Bento) blogs and the Just Bento book. Recently joined Twitter. As anyone who's read her would have predicted, she's been an up-to-the-minute poster with tweets about various resources. So prolific has she been, that I'd lost her her Tweet with good info for diabetics needing help.

She offers this post filled with even more links and ideas for how to help. Domoarigato Makiko!

Kyodo News



It's hard to comprehend how people are surviving this, and it's cold there now. Photos are nearly paralyzing.

I appreciate everyone who has reached out and asked about our family and friends. Poor Mom is glued to NHK (Japanese news) and making calls at night (morning there) to try to get through. So far, most of our friends and family are okay. Cousins in the North (Akita) are hopefully, too. They're closer to Sendai than Tokyo, certainly communication and power lines and towers are affected. Of course, "okay" will be a strange concept as they weather rolling blackouts, shortages of food and water, cold rainy weather, and radiation leaks.

I'm working on a post on the wonderful new book by Elizabeth Andoh. She lives and teaches in Japan, traveling between Tokyo and Osaka (South of Tokyo). Her recent book Kansha, deserves our attention now more than ever. I was in touch with her recently regarding plans for an upcoming trip to Boston. Kansha embodies both the tradition of Japanese vegetarian cuisine and also the tradition of frugality, of avoiding waste. (Japanese people defy easy description and it's frustrating to hear Westerners try. Smiling doesn't mean they're happy. High priority on not offending others doesn't prevent them from literally rewriting history books.) Still, it is an amazing and awe-inspiring culture in so many ways. The food culture is just one. Andoh's books and just her way of being are inspiring. I'll post shortly on my attempts at Kansha cooking, I'm excited to share this with you.

Still, my heart aches for the losses in Japan. The many breathtaking historical buildings, temples and artifacts whose disappearances will only be cataloged after the rescue and recovery of injured and dead is completed. And by all accounts, this dark labor will take considerable time. [ed note: names of dead by prefecture - in Japanese]

Please keep Japan and her citizens in your thoughts and prayers or meditations. Elizabeth reminds us of the need to be prepared and ways we can help. By the way, did you know it's not just California that has major fault lines running through it? If you had 30 seconds to evacuate, would you have your critical medications, water, paperwork, collected in a quick "go" bag?


Here are some links Elizabeth collected:

JAPAN update & request:

To those who want to offer help to disaster relief efforts in Japan, please contribute to your favorite charity or organization collecting for this occasion. If you have no established route, please consider one of the following:


Japanese Red Cross

Doctors without Borders

International Medical Corps




And her story in her words.



Personal update:

When the first huge, terrifying quake hit on Friday afternoon, March 11, I was in Tokyo preparing for a class the following day. Having lived through several large quakes before (including one in which I was trapped in an elevator for hours before being rescued), I knew what to do. Trembling (me, and the earth together), I went into automatic mode, shutting off anything that could cause a fire, propping open the front door and one other escape route in the kitchen (door frames can shift causing them to jam shut), donned my emergency kit-knapsack (contai ning flashlight, extra batteries, water, essential medications, money, identification papers, gloves, face mask, first aid supplies, extra sweater with hood). The initial quake lasted for several minutes -- it seemed as though it would never stop.


Still trembling (me, and the earth together), I turned on the emergency news channel and learned the center of seismic activity (the largest on record in Japan, currently revised at 9.0) was Miyagi Prefecture, on the Pacific coast, north of Tokyo. Gigantic tsunami (tidal waves) were predicted, and came... and keep coming. As do tremors of varying degrees (as I type this, my desk sways slightly in a minor aftershock).


Transportation and communication services have been widely disrupted -- frustrating and frightening. To conserve energy, limited and rotating shut-downs are being scheduled throughout the Kanto Plains area. At this time I have access to the Internet and grab the opportunity to make two requests: