A lot of people have asked since we've been back how much our part of Japan was affected by the Tohoku quake and tsunami in March. As we've said, Fukuoka was essentially unaffected - some people coming and going based on nuclear fears and evacuations, some fluctuations in produce availability and price, but no power shortages and certainly no damage. Fukuoka prefecture (a prefecture is a bit like a state or a county) has, as a consequence, tried to give a lot. The local campaign is "Ganbarou Nippon," or "Do for Japan." You can see its web site here, and here partially in English courtesy of Google translate (scroll to the bottom).
Under the auspices of this campaign and in collaboration with Tohoku International School in Sendai, fellow FIS faculty member Matt and his wife Ashley organized a volunteer trip to the Sendai area. You can see their amazing photographs through their blog and on their Picasa album here. I've pilfered this picture of three of our students in Onigawa to show you a bit of what they experienced:
Obviously, much of Japan is still in serious trouble. In the interests of, as Fukuoka Prefecture put it, "doing" for Japan, I hope that the school will be able to arrange some more volunteer trips when I'm in the country and can go along. If you are interested in "doing" something financial to help, you might consider the Japanese Red Cross (you can donate through Paypal here). On a smaller scale, I have just discovered that Tohoku International School has a fund for families in the Sendai community. You can donate through their web site here.