From Japan – Live from Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan

An update from Laurina, a former UniversalGiving team member currently living in Japan.

Dear all,

Just wanted to let everyone know that people here in Shizuoka Prefecture (3 hours away from Tokyo), are doing fine.

We experienced an earthquake on Friday as well when it hit Miyagi Prefecture. Our earthquake was mild – 4.0 on the richter scale.  Some students were oblivious and were still playing soccer on the soccer field when the plates were shaking. Windows in our staff room were vibrating, but it didn’t last long. It lasted for maybe a minute or two? The aftershock was mild too.

That said, we had a blackout that day, from the time the earthquake happened (3pm) to 3am.  We were kept completely unaware of what was going on in Sendai until a kind friend drove us out to another city where there was electricity. That was when we were bombarded with images of what was going on just northeast of us.

Panic level here is quite high…I suppose. I would say it’s comparitive to 9/11. Bread supply was completely out the very next morning. Things are starting to return to normalcy over here, but we are having scheduled rolling blackouts from 3pm to 7pm.

Well that’s all I have to say for today. It’s not too bad here, and I’m very very thankful. I’m sure food donations up to Miyagi would be appreciated though.

Japan’s Culture Day

Today’s post was contributed by Laurina, a former member from UniversalGiving currently working abroad in Japan.

Culture Day Minna-san, konnichiwa! (Everyone, good afternoon!) I hope everyone is doing well ! It is getting pretty cold in Japan now. In fact, Mt. Fuji now has a snowcap around it! Looks like winter is beginning to encroach upon us now.

It was Culture Day in Japan last Wednesday, and I’ve been decorating my classroom to honor that day. The 3rd of November is known as Culture Day (文化の日) and it a day for the Japanese to reflect upon and appreciate their culture, arts, and academic accomplishments.

To honor the day, I’ve had my students bring Japanese cultural items to school and talk about them in class as part of a cultural-sharing activity. My students brought interesting objects such as shogi (Japanese Chess piece), Sensu (paper fans), Onigiri (Japanese riceball), Japanese Archery Glove, Calligraphy Ink and Brush, manga, and many more. In return, I shared a part of my Chinese heritage with them, the story of Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and its legend.

With that, I hope that everyone, wherever you are, will spend some quality cultural immersion time helping people from around the world. Check out UniversalGiving for more exciting global volunteering opportunities!

This is my English classroom – A marriage of Chinese and Japanese culture. I posted up pictures of Chinese holidays and decorated the board with origami. :)