April 21, 2011

Blog Birthday!

Today was this blog's birthday! This will be Here and There Japan's fifth year. The first post was about our pet turtle, Ethel. She lived 19 years. Here is the post about her funeral. She had a quiet life, but she had a few adventures, too.

Ethel's ancestors were probably from the southeastern United States, but she came from Sendai. That's where I bought her 22 years ago. The coastal area of Sendai was hit by the tsunami on March 11, 2011. Please read the post about Sendai below.

What may be lost....in Sendai...

a small Japanese inn overlooking the sea where I stayed 22 years ago,

small tree-covered islands dotting the shoreline,

a small shrine,

tourist boats where you could feed the seagulls, (oil refineries in the background),

hotels and a tourist industry.

That smile is rarely seen as we all deal with earthquakes and aftershocks in Tokyo since March 11th. There are fewer now but they keep reminding us that there are people in the north who are closer to the center of the earthquakes and the destruction. Many have lost their homes. Many have lost friends and family members. And not just in Sendai. So much has been lost.

N.B. I haven't seen pictures of this area after the earthquake and tsunami. I am assuming that it's been destroyed because it was right on the ocean and near the epicenter of the earthquake.
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April 09, 2011

What follows...

are some of the relief efforts of the international schools in Japan.

Hearts as Big as Texas

I called my mom yesterday to wish her a happy birthday. My cousin had something she wanted to tell me. She works for an elementary school in Duncanville, Texas where a class of fourth graders decided on their own to do something for the Japan earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. They organized a fundraising drive themselves and even made up a chant for it. They raised over $600 in their school to donate to the Red Cross. Thank you, everyone!

I am sure there are many more touching stories of children reaching out to Japan. If you know any, let me know in the comments.

April 08, 2011

Satomi Kitamura's message after the Earthquake

Satoshi Kitamura is an author and illustrator of children's books. Here is something he wrote for The Guardian in the UK about his March 11th earthquake experience. Click here for a post about his visit to SCBWI Tokyo in 2007.

April 04, 2011

St. Mary's International School Relief Efforts for the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

St. Mary's International School, Tokyo is collecting the following from their community of students, parents, teachers, and staff:

Toy Collection – Organized by Cub Scout Pack 15 under the direction of Mr. Dave Nakabayashi - Donations will be sent to the Japan Association of Play Therapy and transported to the disaster areas by UNICEF.

Ends Wednesday, April 6th

For shelters in Ishinomaki - Mr. Mike Rogers is working with his colleagues in the media to collect and deliver specific items to Ishinomaki

Ends this Friday, April 8th

Items needed:

· For kids: cello tape, gum tape, magic markers, pens, colored pencils, crayons, paper, scissors, stationery items.

· For adults: shoes, long boots, rain boots

· Please note that diapers are no longer needed for this shipment.

For shelters in Kesen-numa city in Miyagi – organized by Ms. Yuko Ono

Ends this Friday, April 8th

Items needed:

· Clothes:

Warm jackets for adults and children

New underwear for young boys (100-150 cm size)

New socks for boys

New underwear - long sleeve shirt for ladies (L or LL size are especially needed)

· Vegetable and fruit juices

· Picture books for school (in Japanese)

· Stationary: pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, notebooks, colored pencils, markers

Fundraising for cash donations – organized by the high school Student Council

Creative fund raising events have already begun thanks to the involvement of many teachers and students. The high school Student Council will be organizing the collection of donations to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

April 02, 2011

Comment from Principal of Tsukuba International School in Ibaraki

Tsukuba International School (http://www.tis.ac.jp) in Ibaraki, Japan has collected food for the people in Kita-Ibaraki. The name of the earthquake in popular media is "Tohoku Earthquake", but parts of Ibaraki (the prefecture where my school is) have been seriously affected by the quake too, so we have been focusing our efforts on helping our (sometimes forgotten) neighbours to the north. The students wrote encouraging letters to the people of Ibaraki. It was so touching to read the letters and see how the students are so willing to help. One of the Grade 2 students wrote, "You need anything you tell me." I just love that spirit.

Shaney Crawford
Tsukuba International School

April 01, 2011

American School in Japan: Earthquake Relief Efforts

ASIJ, the American School in Japan, has partnered with Tama Church and Second Harvest Japan to deliver emergency aid directly to the effected regions hit by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th. Many things have been collected and boxed to go out by truck tomorrow. Things like crutches, clothes, food, toothbrush sets, diapers, etc. This will be an ongoing effort. There will be many truckloads going over the months.

I took some wet wipes, Kleenex, and socks today. I plan to go again with more things. Next time I'll take baby items. Poor people up north! It is still cold. Long underwear was sold out in my neighborhood stores and there were very few pairs of warm socks left.

High school librarian, Linda Hart Hayakawa, met me at the gate to help me in with my bags of supplies. She helped me place the things in the right boxes. I told her that I was reminded of taking things to school in second grade for the survivors of the 1964 earthquake and tsunami in Alaska. We had a class list of things that we all took to school. I remember toothpaste and toothbrush , a bar of soap, pocket tissues and a comb were among the items. I remember we lined up behind the truck and each one of us handed our contribution to an aid worker. Hand to hand.

Thank you American School in Japan for lending a helping hand! Thank you, Linda, for the photo, for your help, and for the nice chat today! It helps to share experiences and stories with others.

I couldn't remember what time of year the Alaskan earthquake and tsunami happened so I looked it up. It was March 27, 1964. Spring. In Alaska. It was probably cold, too.

Please click on the comments section to read the comment from the principal of Tsukuba International School, Shaney Crawford.