Earthquake/Tsunami relief donations

When I was growing up in Japan, children chanted about four things of which we should all be afraid:  Jishin, Kaminari, Kaji, and Oyaji (earthquakes, lightning, fire, and father).  We of course knew that we should be afraid of earthquakes, but who could have imagined the devastation which the magnitude 9 earthquake and following tsunami brought to the island nation on March 11 of this year?  With the spring equinox just ten days away, it should have been a happy time of school graduations, cherry blossoms, and fond hope for the new school year, which in Japan starts in April–instead, the pure horror of this terrifying event disrupted the lives of every Japanese citizen.

The scale of the disaster took everyone’s breath away the world over, and the response to it was quick and generous.  In Denver, within just a few days, kindly persons were contacting the Takayama Committee’s long time chairperson, the honorable chair Kimiko Side, asking how they might help.  The committee set up an earthquake/tsunami relief fund with Kimiko in charge.  A friend of Kimiko’s then contacted her about a restaurant owner who collected $8,000.00 to help the tsunami-devastated area, but didn’t feel comfortable giving the donation to a huge organization, such as the Red Cross.  Kimiko told this lady that the Takayama Committee’s Relief Fund would send the amount in question to Denver’s Sister City, Takayama, and that they would in turn direct the monetary support to where it would be most useful.  The restaurant owner then matched the donated funds and gave more than $16,000.00 to our relief fund.  The restaurant’s name is Namiko’s, located in the beautiful Denver suburb of Arvada.

Aside from this huge donation from Namiko’s, others very kindly gave what they could.  The Takayama Committee sent a total of $22,273.25 to the city of Takayama on April 8.  And since then, our relief fund has received an additional few-thousand dollar, including $500.00 from the Kunming committee.  We are most grateful for all of your help–thank you everyone.

Finally, I’ve been asked by some among my friends if I believe that Japan can recover from this overwhelming disaster…; my answer is always the same: a resounding yes, Japan can and will most certainly recover!

Sachiko Nakahira

Chair, Takayama-Denver Sister City Committee