So Many Stories

There are so many stories coming out of the devastation of the Japan earthquake and tsunami. There are so many lessons and so many things that people in other parts of the world, and yes the United States, can learn from how the Japanese are dealing with this tragedy. This video on CNN tonight really hit hard, and it makes my heart ache for what these people are dealing with in the aftermath of this tragedy.

Japan One Week Later

The Boston Globe’s Boston.com has a series of amazing photos from around northeastern Japan one week after the quake and tsunami.

Photos of Japan one week after the earthquake/tsunami

Kyoto Gakuen High School Earthquake Appeal

There are many planned activities every year between Kyoto Gakuen High School and Modesto City Schools leading up to our exchange trip in April. At the end of a recent Survival Japanese class provided by the students in Kyoto, two students came up to make an appeal for help to the Modesto students. They were concerned for the people of Christchurch, New Zealand and the victims of a recent earthquake there. As a class, they wanted to do something for the people of Christchurch. Their request to our students was modest, simply bring something with you on your trip and donate it to our effort to help.

This is a powerful video. The kinship of experiencing earthquakes was the basis for the appeal to the students coming to Kyoto in April. Little could anyone at the time had known that in exactly two weeks Japan would experience the worst earthquake and tsunami in their history, a 9.0 that would wreak havoc and destruction on Northeastern Japan.

We have since had to delay our trip to Kyoto until the end of June due to recent events in Japan. The students are all talking about ways that they can help. As posted earlier, a board member who is participating in this exchange is raising funds to take to Kyoto in April when he visits to speak at the Welcoming and Opening Ceremonies, as was originally planned as part of this exchange.

If you are reading this post or viewing this video and are able to help in some way, please take action now. Don’t wait. Even if all you can do is make a small donation to a charity helping the victims of Christchurch or Japan, do it as soon as you finish reading this. The size of the donation or the effort doesn’t count, it’s the act of helping itself that makes the difference. And if you can motivate others to help, the momentum will build and we will collectively help so many that are in need as a result of these tragic events.

And as this video shows, you never know when or where the next big disaster is going to hit. You may be the one waiting for help down the road, you never know. Get involved and make a donation today.

If you don’t have a local effort or charity to contribute to, the Red Cross assists in all of these types of efforts:

Make a donation to Red Cross.

Raising Funds for Japan

One of the Modesto City School Board Members is going on the exchange trip this year to Kyoto Japan. This board member comes from a family that has been involved with exchanges since he was a child. In addition to being a school board member he is also a lawyer. When news of the quake and tsunami reached Modesto, this board member put together a fundraiser to raise money for the efforts in Japan to assist the victims of this disaster. Today he had a Lobster, Crab and Prawn Boil at his house. It was very well attended by many people from the school district and local community.

While the exchange trip has been rescheduled for late June, this board member will be going to Japan as originally planned in April to give the speech at the Welcoming Ceremony and also to speak at the Opening Ceremony for the school. It will be at the Opening Ceremony that he presents all funds raised along with proclamations from the MCS School Board, the City of Modesto, and several other local organizations reaffirming the relationship that exists between Modesto and Kyoto. He will then travel back to Japan with the exchange group in June. .

A few weeks back at the end of a video conference between our students and Kyoto, students in Kyoto asked our Modesto students if they would willing to bring clothing and other supplies with them on our exchange to add to stuff they have collected for earthquake victims in New Zealand. They told our students that because they experience so many earthquakes in Japan, they really wanted to reach out and help those who were affected in Christchurch in the aftermath of their quake. How ironic that Japan was hit with their worst quake in their history a week later.

Nuclear Poop Boy

The nuclear problem explained to children in cartoons. A very interesting and animated way to try to ease the fear of children about all of the talk about the reactors in Japan. Three Mile Island and Chernobyl Boy make cameo appearances.

Update and Information Links for the Crisis in Japan

It would appear that things continue to worsen in Japan. The President is due to address the situation in Japan this afternoon. Strain on the rest of the island is spreading from the affected area of this disaster.

I am posting more resources for those who are interested in tracking the developing situation. I believe that everyone associated with our exchange will have a deep interest in tracking developments in Japan. We are in contact with our friends in Japan to find an alternate date to move our exchange to if things continue to worsen in the coming days.


Radiation Network


U.S. State Department – Japan Travel Alerts


CNN – Map of Impact of Japan tsunami and earthquake


Disaster Map – Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Focus


Before and After Pictures from the North East Coast of Japan

Radiation Monitoring Website – United States

Following on with the post last night on the Banana Equivalent Dose (BED), today I am posting a link from a good friend from college. She works with air quality and regulation. She forwarded the following link to a site that does realtime monitoring of radiation over the United States.

Radiation Network

Welcome message from the site:

“Welcome to RadiationNetwork.com, home of the National Radiation Map, depicting environmental radiation levels across the USA, updated in real time every minute. This is the first web site where the average citizen (or anyone in the world) can see what radiation levels are anywhere in the USA at any time”

Now if you’re worried about reports on one of the major news networks about the radiation cloud heading for the west coast you can check it yourself, with minute by minute updates. Look to the bottom of the map for a key for reading the markers.

By utilizing these types of resources on the Internet, you can get the facts and not fall victim to the hype that some media outlets are broadcasting about this crisis. Don’t be a victim, and don’t fall for any of the many scams that are cropping up across the Internet.

With electricity possibly being restored to the plant today, let’s keep up hope that this crisis can still be averted with the reactors, and that the efforts of all those workers sacrificing their personal health, and possibly their lives, to get this situation under control are not doing this for nothing.