I was in Vietnam when I heard the news about the massive earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit Japan. I guess a number like 8.9 can’t really give a true indication of the kind of damage that Mother Nature can visit upon us mere mortals. Thousands are known to be dead. Thousands more are missing and presumed dead.
I’m not sure why, but for a long time I’ve had a fascination with Japan. Maybe it came from watching Japanese anime cartoons like “Eighth Man” and “Speed Racer” when I was a kid, or from watching too many “Godzilla” movies.
No matter. I made my first trip to Japan in 2004, followed by one in 2005 and then again last year. Long before the first trip, I had studied the Japanese language in some continuing education classes at NYU and even hoped to spend a semester in Japan when I went to the NYU business school. While much of it is industrial now, Japan is still a land with a fascinating culture and places of great beauty. Just look at the photo I’ve posted here of the Tenryu-ji temple in western Kyoto’s Arashiyama district.
Whenever a disaster strikes somewhere, we tend to try to personalize it. Has anybody I know been affected by this? Have any of them been hurt? I met a lot of people in Japan. I don’t know if any of them were living in the Tohoku section of Japan, north of Tokyo, closest to where the earthquake was centered. I certainly met a lot of people in Tokyo, where I read that drinking water has now been contaminated with radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. “How are they coping with this?,” I wonder.
Of course, I would like to try to help. We may think of Japan as a “first world” country that doesn’t need help the way that a place like Haiti might need it. Perhaps that’s true, but it doesn’t mean that people in Japan don’t need assistance. After all, we in the United States live in another “first world” country, but when disasters like floods and hurricanes strike here, those affected areas need aid organizations to come in and help in ways that the government cannot.
So it is with Japan. When I was in Vietnam, for example, I saw a news story on TV of a woman who was going around an area of Japan where people had been evacuated because of the quake and tsunami. She was going there to look in on people who were too old or infirmed to leave, even though they’d had no electricity or perhaps even running water for days.
The question is, then, how can people help. Here are a few ways:
I received an e-mail last week from Friends Without a Border, the organization that I’ve supported and written about before that provides funding for a children’s hospital in Cambodia. They’ve begun a fundraising appeal to give money to JANIC, the Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation. As the Friends’ website says, “Our Japanese colleagues have advised us to direct support to JANIC because 24 of its nonprofit member groups have formed a network of aid providers. We initially thought that a children’s hospital would be the ideal destination for our gifts, but JANIC’s members will treat the full spectrum of urgent needs.”
To contribute, click here.
I also received an e-mail from the Grand Circle Foundation, an organization created by the travel company I recently went with to Vietnam that supports some needy causes in places where its tours go. (In Vietnam, we visited an orphanage, run by a Buddhist nun, that is supported by the foundation.)
The foundation has decided to raise money for a Japanese organization that provides aid to orphans, as many children in Japan may have lost one or both parents in the disaster. The tour company will also be matching all contributions made up to $25,000 through March 28.
To learn more and contribute, click here.
For those who would like to receive something photographic in return for a contribution, here are a couple of things to consider. First, photographer Craig Alan Huber is currently having a sale of prints from which all proceeds will go to aid for Japan. He writes:
“We’ve all seen the devastation nature has brought upon the Japanese people. I’d like to help those in need. As a team we can help together. I will donate all proceeds from your Print of the Season purchases in the month of March to Japan Relief. Both these Spring 2011 prints and the 14 prior Prints of the Season are included. There are many worthy relief organizations, but I have not chosen one yet — I welcome your suggestions and support.”
For more information, click here and scroll down a bit.
Finally, the Wall Space Gallery in Seattle is having a sale of small prints, with proceeds going to aid for Japan. See more by clicking here.
I imagine that there are many more fundraising activities going on the help those in need in Japan, and I urge you to contribute – as I have already done.
It’s been nearly a month since I posted any new nudes, so for those of you waiting to see those, I’ll try to be back with at least one in my next post.