Here’s my personal update:
I spent a majority of the winter with his family in Fukushima. You know? The place where the Nuclear Power Plants are located. Fortunately, they are in Aizu-Wakamatsu City, which happens to be the *only* city in Fukushima with electricity. It is located on the other side of the mountain. They are fine for now. They await word to evacuate.
The Kitano family is currently housing 17 refugees ages 1 year old to 80+ from Iwate earthquakes, tsunami, and Nuclear Power Plant. I am so proud of my Japanese family. They make rounds daily to their neighbors while 17 people live with them. My Tokyo community is sending towels, blankets, thermals to endure the snow and winter temperatures. They will be fine. You can read about Go, Go, Tokiko! (Kitano mom) here.
His mom makes homemade miso from soybeans which coincidentally has fermented in time for this disaster. They also happened to have rice. So, they have enough to get by for the time being. There is no gasoline. Stores are rationed. The roads are closed for the most part so they cannot leave. The Kitano family is housing other families whose homes were destroyed this week in other areas of Fukushima. Yuji’s mom makes rounds to make sure the elderly are well and collecting blankets to share. It keeps her mind busy while the quakes continue. I am proud of their strength and courage.
Meanwhile, the death toll and missing rise daily. The scale is bigger than anyone ever could have imagined. It has been a scary and exhausting week for Japan. Yet, they remain strong, united, and orderly. Orderly, unlike any other nation would be in a disaster situation. They wait in lines patiently, not pushing or shoving. Sharing of what little they have with each other. Japan displays manners and generosity in their most needy time.
Japan is one of the most earthquake prepared places in the world, imagine what it would have been like if they hadn’t been. Tsunami walls over 10 meters high tested and broken–human ingenuity no match for Mother Nature. Total destruction. Now the temperatures drop below freezing while thousands are homeless, still missing, waiting for rescue.
How can we help?
I know everyone wants to help and I’ve been asked. Please do not donate food or clothing. The best thing to do is donate through organizations that are well known and currently present in Japan. I personally recommend Red Cross and Second Harvest Japan.
I have supported Second Harvest Japan before and continue now. Why? They are a constant presence here in Japan. They daily work with those in need who slip between the cracks. Truly volunteer run.
What is amazing is that for every $12.68 US, they can supply $126.80 US in food for those in need. That’s 10 times! (1,000yen becomes 10,000yen). Go Second Harvest! If you can give $100US, that would be a nice start, but even if you can only give $10, or $5, that would be providing a week’s worth of rice to people in desperate need.
Northern Japan is lacking what they need to survive: food, blankets, medicine, sanitary napkins, diapers.
It snows, it sleets, it is below freezing.
Here’s the site for Second Harvest Japan:
Here is what Second Harvest is doing today:
I ask you to please donate, if only a bit, and share that on your FaceBook Wall. Please share with your network. Let me know what you can do. Thank you for your love, sharing, and aid.