Maybe you do not know this, but my family and I were scheduled to leave for Japan on March 28th. We had been planning this holiday for over 2 years and my husband and I had been dreaming about visiting the “Land of the rising Sun” for a long time… We had planned our itinerary very carefully trying to include all the things we had always wanted to see and do. We had chosen and booked all our hotels one by one. We had even found a room in Takayama to see their wonderful Spring Festival (Wiki). Yes, it wasn’t a ready-made tour… we were going to do it on our own and travel by train (on the famous bullet trains – shinkansen). Everything was ready, we only had to pack our bags and fly to Narita to begin our long awaited adventure.
Then, last Friday it all changed. I was making dinner when my husband told me he was reading on Facebook that there was an earthquake in Japan. I put the TV on and we both stood still, frozen, staring at it. We could not believe what we were witnessing was true. All we could see were images of devastation and a huge and incredibly powerful wave picking up and destroying anything that would be in its way. The rest is known to everyone: Japan had been hit by an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale that caused a terrible tsunami and thousands of deaths. As I write this, the nuclear plants of Fukushima have not yet been stabilised which poses a risk to many more people.
After thinking it through (a lot) and talking to our Japanese friend (thank you Yumiko), we have decided to cancel our trip. Even though we were not travelling to the directly affected areas, Tokyo (where we would have spent a third of our vacation) is affected by various disruptions and food shortages. Besides we could not see ourselves holidaying in a country so severely hit by such a terrible catastrophe. It just wouldn’t feel right. We are obviously very sad about this, but are even more sad for all the people who are suffering in Japan. We can (and will) reschedule our holiday to next year, but for them it is not going to be easy to get back on their feet.
One of our regrets is that cancelling our trip is not going to help the Japanese people economically. So, we have been thinking of a way to help them. I have been doing a bit of research and came across many great international organisations that are gathering money and resources to send to the damaged areas. I am going to put a list here. If you can, please help by donating some money, even 1$ helps.
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without borders (MSF)
Second Harvest Japan (2hj)
I want to do something more though, something that would be “useful” in this situation. While doing some research on the internet, I came across a wonderful initiative by Sabrina at The Tomato Tart: an Online Bake Sale to Help Japan. She’s organising an online auction of goodies donated by various people and I am proud to say that Manu’s Menu is going to be one of the donors! Here is what Sabrina at The Tomato Tart writes about the bake sale:
“The auction will take place on March 30, 2011. You will be able to preview the goodies starting a few days before- just like a good silent auction. All proceeds will go to a 501c3 nonprofit doing work specifically in Miyagi Prefecture where the damage is greatest. I will announce the nonprofit in the coming days. Right now it is looking like I will choose The American Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders/Medicins Sans Frontiers. My goal is $2,500.
If you know of any food bloggers who would like to participate in this bake sale, please send them my way. Also, I am looking for corporations to match any part of the money earned to help Japan.”
I too am hoping that you guys spread the word among your friends and contacts and, if you can, participate by bidding and/or donating your goodies to be auctioned at the Online Bake Sale to help Japan. I am sure that together we can raise some money to help the people of Japan hit by such a tremendous tragedy.
Thank you all very much!
To all the people in Japan: you are in my family’s heart and (touch wood) we will see you next year.
Japan you do not stand alone!