Thursday, March 31, 2011

Volunteering for the Tohoku Earthquake

From the Tokyo Voluntary Action Center:
Volunteering for the Tohoku Earthquake

Please read this first

Please do not go to the disaster area yourself

At the moment, professional, trained workers, organizations and local residents are working at the disaster sites.
Transportation, safe locations, food, information and fuel are all scarce. At this stage, volunteers could cause further shortages and confusion by traveling to the site themselves.

As of April 19th, we have received news that volunteer centers have opened in the disaster area, but we ask that those living outside Fukushima prefecture remain cautious. Local residents are working together with trained, organized professionals. Let us avoid causing further difficulties.

The scale of the damage is enormous. We expect the support and recovery effort will need the long-term support of many volunteers. We'll post information about donating aid as soon as the structure to receive it is in place. Please give what you can.
We also ask that you maintain your investment in and support for this cause, and will post aid requests from disaster sites as we receive them.

The website has a lot of useful information about how to help. At this point it seems that donations are the best way for us to help. They also have a twitter account where they are posting volunteer info in Japanese:!/tokyovolunteer

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

back in Tokyo yesterday

Everything seems pretty normal in the 23 districts, but the trains are definitely a bit emptier than normal during my morning commute.

The weather is getting warmer and the flowers are blooming. Today's a lovely sunny day.

From the Tokyo Gaijins list:
Hi everyone,
I've been asking people around and researching for the best possible and most practical way to help the Tohoku Earthquake/Tsunami Disaster victims.
Here is what I found...

Clothing donation
They are not accepting any material donation from individuals at the moment. They are still busy taking care of necessities such as food, water, toilet, logistics etc. Our good intention could actually be a burden. Apparently, there were too many random clothing donation when Niigata earthquake happened a couple of years ago, and they had to use manpower to sort and throw them away. Some people suggests to contact Salvation Army ( and Second Harvest ( but I couldn't find any information on how to donate clothing, sorry :(
Voluntary work
A lot of people asked me to organize a trip to affected areas when things stabilize. Personally, I really don't think its a good idea but I did ask some people anyway.
Here is what one of the members of Foreign Volunteers Japan (on Facebook) commented...
- How many more times do I have to explain this: Let the professionals and, most importantly, the Japanese, assess and organize the initial disaster aftermath. There will be years of rebuilding, when many volunteers will be required. At the moment, an influx of well-intentioned foreigners, without allocation of a job, will only add to the hardship. You can do better, by working on fundraising efforts in Tokyo, rather than impulsively put yourself in harms way, where you will be more a hindrance than a help.
Again, I think the best way to help is by donating money. We have some charity events in the next two weeks. I will send the details very soon. Hope you can make it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

mit blog following the Fukushia Nuclear Plants
Information about the incident at the Fukushima Nuclear Plants in Japan hosted by

Very educational blog posting info and analysis of the events at the Fukushima nuclear plants.
In the face of all the conflicting information, it's a nicely organized, if technical, source of information.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

tokyo city starts collecting donations for earthquake

Donations are only being accepted from people within Tokyo.

New, unused items being requested:

  1. Baby goods
    Fever cooling sheets, paper diapers (newborn S, M, L, Big Size), baby wipes, baby lotion, baby oil, etc.
  2. Goods for the elderly
    Adult diapers, wet wipes (for care-giving/assisted care), thickening solution for assisted care food (介護食用とろみ剤等), etc.
  3. Daily goods
    Contact lens care products (contact lens solution, contact lens cases, etc.), disposable chemical hand warmers, menstrual pads, paper cups, plastic wrap
  4. Drinkable water (potable water)
※Please provide the items in storage bags, or packaged in boxes, etc. for easy transport.
※Currently they are not accepting food or clothing.
The collection location is at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building 2 1st floor.
 〒163-8001 新宿区西新宿2-8-1

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

and so, I flee for a bit

Quite a few expats are leaving town.

A lot of my colleagues have gone to the west or flown out.

Hopefully I'll be back in town next week.

Monday, March 14, 2011

monday in tokyo

Today my local train line is running at half capacity; half of the number of trains they normally would run. Apparently the Kanto-tohoku area is missing 25% of capacity, so the train companies are doing their part to save electricity.

JR lines are running at even lower capacity so there are huge lines at the stations. Not a good day to go to work!

By the way, no visible damage to my apt. all utilities are still working fine.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Hoping that everyone is safe tonight. Hoping that people get help as soon as possible. A lot of elderly people affected.

Tokyo Gaijins posted a useful message:
Hi everyone,
Hope you, your family and friends are safe!
In times of a disaster like this, a lot of people will need our help and assistance...
Here are some important things to do to help...
- Help ourselves! Don't be a victim, avoid traveling, stay in a safe place. We cannot help if we are the one who may need help! Let the authorities deal with the primary objectives. Help those who are need of help.
- Store enough food and water for at least 3 days. Make sure you have survival/emergency kit (flashlights, warm blanket, first-aid kit, communication, etc.). More aftershocks coming so brace :(
- Avoid making unnecessary phone calls. Let those who are in an emergency use the phone lines.
- Limit use of electricity. Avoid using gas.
- Please follow the news!
- If you have unwanted clothes/stuff, put them in a box. A lot of people will definitely need them. I will send information later where you can drop them.

Take care!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

sustainable sushi

I was reading a little on the Bluefin tuna issue. Apparently Bluefin tuna is approaching extinction, thanks to overfishing due to rising demand for sushi around the world.

If the tuna is indeed approaching extinction, I would refrain from eating toro, as the fatty tuna usually comes from Bluefin tuna.

Anyway, it requires more research.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Roti in Roppongi, cleaning my room

Roti near Roppongi Hills is a nice restaurant, but they seem to attract noisy diners. The other day, there was this party of young adults using all sorts of crass language loudly in the restaurant.
I felt really bad for the young Muslim family with 3 kids and the Indian couple next to us.
That was really inappropriate. Stupid Americans :P And they wonder why they can't get women.

Anyway, gotta clear out the crap in my room. There's plenty of stuff that doesn't flatter me in my closet.