NPO On The Road and Tohoku News


On April 28th, I saw a reference to the following video on Twitter.  For those that don’t read Japanese, the title translates to On the Road – Volunteer Living.

Even if you don’t understand a word of Japanese the images are enough for you to understand what it is that On the Road is doing in Tohoku.  Under the details of activities section of the website it states:

  • Helping to clear debris and mud from the houses, nursing homes, factories, and structures destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami
  • Preparing meals at evacuation centers
  • Organizing the warehouse and distributing relief goods sent from all over the country
  • Clearical work, jobs related to the operation of the volunteer village, and other tasks

They’re doing work in Ishinomaki and are based in Osaki, Miyagi.  The last update on their site was on April 15th, but if you’re still looking for a way to volunteer, maybe try to get in touch with them.

Another NPO that I found out about through Youtube and the Gaijin Relief Volunteers in Japan Facebookpage is All Hands Volunteers, who are working in Ofunato, Iwate.  All Hands Volunteers is described on their website as a not for profit organization that

…provides hands-on assistance to survivors of natural disasters around the world, with maximum impact and minimum bureaucracy. By supporting volunteers with housing, meals, tools, and organized work at no charge we are able to provide free and effective response services to communities in need.

They aren’t currently accepting volunteers for Project Tohoku, but their website is definitely something to check out in order to see that amount of work that is needed in different regions throughout Japan.


Along the Volunteering lines, from The Japan Times:  Too many volunteers to put up in Tohoku

Another article from The Japan TimesFukushima city removing schools’ topsoil

Some good news from The Daily Yomiuri: The entire Tohoku Shinkansen line from Tokyo to Aomori is running today for the first time since March 11.

Last, an image released by TEPCO from an underwater camera of a storage pool for spent nuclear-fuel at reactor 4 at the Fukushima plant.

Not sure what this means, but here it is.

And last, an article from the Japan Times that talks about psychiatrists aiding traumatized foreigners, the elderly and children.  The introduction of the article is reproduced below.
A group of psychiatrists who have been providing mental health support for foreign residents has set up an emergency committee to aid non-Japanese suffering from stress and trauma from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

“Those who are suffering the most are the elderly, children, the handicapped and foreigners. And foreigners are particularly prone to become isolated, suffer from a lack of information in their mother tongue, easily become confused by false rumors and suffer from growing anxiety,” said Fumitaka Noda, president of the Japanese Society of Transcultural Psychiatry and professor of psychiatry at Taisho University in Tokyo.

That’s all I’ve got for now.

Art for NOLA Japan Quake Fund

In keeping with my art theme of the day.  I came across the Tsunami of Support website that supports the New Orleans Japan Quake Fund, that has been set up by my friends and JET Alumnus, Doug Tassin and Daniel Morales in conjunction with a consortium of Japan-affiliated organizations in New Orleans – Jetaa NOLA, Japan Club, Japan Society, the local Ikebana Chapter, and the Japanese Garden Society.  I wrote about the New Orleans Japan Quake Fund in a previous blog post.  I just checked out their site now and they’ve made over $160,000 for the relief fund and that is AMAZING.  They are giving the money directly to the Greater New Orleans Foundation the region’s oldest community foundation.

From the Tsunami of Support website you can order posters to help the NOLA Quake Fund.  They are also going to have an event, if you’re in the New Orleans area, the Art Opening will be held on May 6th at 7pm at the address below.

Unfold Media: Design Studio, Gallery, Art Space
708 Toulouse St., New Orleans, LA 70112
(707) 786-3653

Normally this is where I’d put a picture from the website, but this time around, you’re just going to have to click the link and check it out yourself.

Quakebook available on Sony Reader

If you’re a Sony die-hard and you’re into everything Sony, first and foremost, sorry about that whole, hacked Playstation Network thing.  In better news, Quakebook is now available for purchase on the Sony Reader.  So if you’ve been waiting to get your hands on it now’s the time.  Sony has set it up so that there isn’t a set price like on Amazon.  Instead you can pay as much as you want or as little as you want to obtain it, just like the Radiohead In Rainbows album.  100% of the money donated will go directly to the Japanese Red Cross, in keeping with the Quakebook theme.

If you’re interested in Quakebook and you don’t have a Kindle or Sony Reader, have no fear, you can download the Kindle software to pretty much anything that connects to the internet and read it there.  Check out my earlier post on how to get the Kindle software and how to download the book or watch the video on how to do it.  You can use the link on the right to get there as well.

For the traditionalists, Quakebook will exist as a “real” book in the near future.  There’s a quakebook post about it from OurManInAbiko here.

Get the Sony Reader edition of Quakebook here.


To Japan With Love: Artists Fundraising for Japan in Toronto

Linda Nakanishi's Lotus Poster

There have been quite a few ways to help Japan and it seems that more and more ways to help spring up everyday.  For the artistically inclined in Toronto, To Japan With Love is an upcoming gallery show at which you can purchase artwork with all net proceeds going to the Canadian Red Cross.  The event has been set up by Linda Nakanishi who is a graphic designer in Toronto.  She is a featured artist in Quakebook as well.

The Quakebook cover artist James White has also offered his work for this show among other artists.  If you remember, I actually ordered Mr. White’s Help Japan poster a little while ago and I’m very pleased with it.  Art prints and postcards of the artwork featured on the website will be available for purchase.  The show will run from Tuesday May 3rd to Saturday May 7th at Function 13 Gallery at 156 Augusta Ave. (in Kensington Market)
Toronto. Function 13 Gallery is open from 11am to 7pm.   An opening night celebration will run on May 4th from 7pm to 10pm.  The entrance fee is whatever you want it to be with all money being donated directly to the Canadian Red Cross.  You can RSVP to the opening night at the Facebook event page that has been set up.

Most of the artists have their own websites for those not in the Toronto area who would like some to support Japan and get their hands on some of these beautiful pieces.  The National Post also ran a story about the event, in which Linda Nakanishi is definitely correct when she says, “What happened in Japan isn’t necessarily going to stop once the media stops reporting about it,” she is later quoted in the article saying, “People might need a bit more re-awareness, especially since there’ve been multiple earthquakes since then -aftershocks -and it’s still very scary.”

Check out the website and if you’re in the Toronto area, I’d definitely recommend checking it out.


Action Jackson

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, well, anything.  I am still following things in Japan, but real life does go on, and here’s what I’ve been dealing with for the last few days.  Hopefully the sheer cuteness is just too much for you to handle.

Meet Jackson

He's a vicious man eater!!

When he's not eating grown men, he looks like this though.

Jackson is an almost 8 week old shi-poo.  That’s a shih-tzu/poodle combo.  I’ll be back at the blogging as soon as I don’t have to spend every waking moment keeping an eye on the dog and sleeping beside his crate because he’s crying.  Yes, apparently I am a softy.  Well, I have to go and take him out now and then dance around like an idiot if he does actually pee.  This is what my Friday night consists of.



Write for Tohoku

I came across this book about a week ago, but just haven’t had the time to put something up about it. Write For Tohoku is a project that is similar to Quakebook.

It seems like they went ahead and self published their own PDF file/eBook.  Here’s their about section reproduced below.

You Are Here: Writing for Tohoku is an ebook compiled by volunteer writers, editors, and designers who live in or have lived in Japan.  The idea for the book came about in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan (Tohoku) on March 11, 2011.  All proceeds form the sale of the ebook will go to the Japanese Red Cross.

Though some of us were geographically closer to the disaster than others, all of us felt a sense of helplessness as we watched the destruction and strong compassion for the disaster survivors.  As news networks all over the world played footage of the devastation, we wanted to help overseas readers understand more about Japan beyond the disaster.

The ebook contains stories of Japan from over sixty writers, both Japanese and foreign.  We share our memories of adjusting to Japanese culture, experiencing the kindness of strangers, forming close friendships, discovering the country’s natural beauty, challenging ourselves through new experiences, and coming to feel at home in whatever corner of Japan we find ourselves.

We have two goals for this project: to raise funds for disaster relief, and to share with overseas readers the beauty and warmth of Japan.

Happy reading,

The Write For Tohoku Project

You can purchase the PDF file directly from their website using paypal by clicking here.  If you don’t speak Japanese and are a bit lost, click 日本語 in the top right and change it to English.  They also have a preview of the first chapter for you to check out, if you want to browse a bit before you buy.  100% of the money earned will go to the Japanese Red Cross.  Just another way to get something back for helping out the people of Tohoku.


Fukushima Update via IAEA Briefing 04/26 and more

The following are a few choice quotes from the most recent and lengthy IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Accident  from April 26, 2011, 18:00 UTC.  By all means take a look at the entire briefing.  It has sections on just about everything you would want to know.  I’m only going to reproduce small parts from the sections on the plant and radiation.

Plant status

On 25 April the power supply for the temporary electrical pumps that supply water to the reactor pressure vessel of Units 1, 2 and 3 was switched from the off-site power supply to temporary diesel generators to allow work to enhance the off-site supply.

White smoke continues to be emitted from Units 2, 3 and 4.

In Unit 1 fresh water is being continuously injected into the reactor pressure vessel through the feedwater line at an indicated flow rate of 6 m3/h using a temporary electric pump with off-site power.

In Unit 2 and Unit 3 fresh water is being continuously injected into the reactor pressure vessel through the fire extinguisher line at an indicated rate of 7 m3/h using temporary electric pumps with off-site power.

In Unit 4 140 tonnes of fresh water was sprayed over the spent fuel pool on 23 April and 165 tonnes of fresh water was sprayed over the spent fuel pool on 24 April using a concrete pump truck. The nuclear emergency response headquarters reported that temperature measurements showed the spent fuel pool temperature to be 83 °C before spraying and 66 °C after spraying on 23 April, and the spent fuel pool temperature to be 86 °C before spraying and 81 °C after spraying on 24 April.

Nitrogen gas is being injected into the containment vessel in Unit 1 to reduce the possibility of hydrogen combustion in the containment vessel. The pressure in the reactor pressure vessel is increasing.

There is more in this section in the link above.

2. Radiation monitoring

For the period 21-25 April deposition of I-131 was detected in eight prefectures, ranging from 2.2 to 37 Bq/m2. Deposition of Cs-137 was detected in 11 prefectures, the values reported ranging from 1.3 to 69 Bq/m2.

Gamma dose rates are measured daily in all 47 prefectures. For Fukushima prefecture gamma dose rates decreased from 1.9 μSv/h on 21 April to 1.7 μSv/h on 23 April. In Ibaraki prefecture, gamma dose rates were 0.12 μSv/h. In all other prefectures, reported gamma dose rates were below 0.1 μSv/h with similar decreasing trends.

Gamma dose rates reported specifically for the eastern part of Fukushima prefecture, for distances beyond 30 km from Fukushima Dai-ichi, showed a similar general decreasing tendency, ranging from 0.1 to 19.4 μSv/h on 25 April. The latest maximum reported value for 20 April was 24 μSv/h.

The other 45 prefectures presented gamma dose rates of below 0.1 μSv/h, falling within the local natural background range.

In drinking water, I-131 or Cs-137 is detectable, but in only a few prefectures. As of 1 April, the one remaining restriction on the consumption of drinking water relating to I-131 (at a level of 100 Bq/L) applies to only one village in the Fukushima prefecture, and the restriction applies only to infants.

It was enjoyable to read the number of times the words “decreased” or “falling” were used.

Other News:

I came across this website that was posted by Noriyuki Shikata, the Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Relations, Director of Global Communications at Prime Minister’s Office of Japan.   Tasukeai Japan –3.11 Disaster Relief Information Portal in English.  This website seems to mirror my own, but have far more information and is probably a bit better in terms of organization.  It lists resources for information, volunteer opportunities, and different opportunities to donate.  Definitely check it out.