Although it has been more than two and a half years since the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan, much of the area is still in need of disaster aid for the recovery efforts. But before you look around your house for items to donate, take a look at what volunteer groups, local governments and aid recipients themselves would rather you keep at home. And you might be very surprised to what else Twitter users have deemed the most “unnecessary things at a disaster zone.”
On 8 March 2013, in the second round of the World Baseball Classic, Japan beat Taiwan 4-3. It was a close-fought game, but the real hot topic on the day was the large number of Japanese spectators holding up handmade signs to express their gratitude to Taiwan for humanitarian aid given in response to the catastrophic March 11, 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, which devastated northeastern Japan.
The gesture was organized beforehand through social media. Japanese fans reasoned that “a lot of Taiwanese people will be watching the game,” and so it would be a great opportunity to get the message across by showing simple words of gratitude on placards, broadcast on Taiwanese TV.
On Christma Day, 2010, an anonymous donor left ten 30,000 yen ($360) randoseru backpacks outside a Japanese orphanage in Gunma Prefecture. Attached to the bags was a card signed by Naoto Date, the secret identity of fictional Japanese wrestler Tiger Mask, who, in the popular 1960s manga by the same name, fought for orphans after being raised in an orphanage himself.
The story was picked up by the press and a week later, on January 1, 2011, a similar donation of backpacks was left at an orphanage in Kangawa Prefecture, again with a note signed by Naoto Date. By January 11, over 100 “Tiger Mask” donations, ranging from backpacks to toys, food, and monetary gifts, had been reported at various children’s facilities across the country.
After that, little was heard from Tiger Mask, aside a second donation to the original orphanage in Gunma on Christmas Day, 2011, which failed to inspire a wave of charity as it had the previous year.
Has Tiger Mask forgotten about the children of Japan?
Just a few weeks after the heartwarming story of an evil villain donating backpacks to a Japanese orphanage, comes another tale of anonymous Japanese winter philanthropy, this time from Toyama prefecture.
At around 2:30 pm on December 8, a female staff member at an orphanage in Takaoka city noticed a man pulling up in a white vehicle and placing three large boxes, two styrofoam and one cardboard, at the base of a telephone pole near the entrance. The man, who seemed to be in his 30s, beckoned the staff member over with his hand and, without saying anything, left the boxes and drove off.
In the cardboard box were five daikon, or Japanese radishes. In the styrofoam boxes were two large, plump yellowtail, accompanied by a letter that read: “The men of the ocean have braved billowing waves, putting their lives on the line for these kan-buri (winter yellowtail).” The letter was signed: “Yours truly A Man Who Loves the Ocean”.
At first, vegetables and fish may seem like a rather strange combination to leave outside an orphanage, but the man had actually gifted the children with a luxurious winter feast: winter yellowtail are a major seasonal delicacy that normally sell for anywhere between 30-40,000 yen ($350-$480) a fish.
Here’s a news story that managed to warm even our cynical, Internet-jaded hearts to the core.
A man going by the name of Colonel Muska, the nefarious villain from Studio Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky, has made a surprise donation to an orphanage in Tokushima city on the island of Shikoku, Japan.
The mysterious stranger left a pile of expensive leather school backpacks as well as a copy of the Ghibli feature film on DVD outside the orphanage, along with a letter simply saying “Please think of this as an early Christmas present. Yours, Colonel Muska”
Who doesn’t love a Twitter war? This wonderful modern age we live in lets celebrities make snide comments to and about each other as we all read along. And with the unprecedented interactivity social networks you too could be arguing with Ashton Kutcher about something!
Last week mobile phone mogul Masayoshi Son, who has a history of large donations, offered US$500,000 through Softbank to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy in North America and then tweeted about it. This act of philanthropy irked a twitter user by the name of o44o. Feeling that this was an act of blatant advertising through the use of a good deed he decided to voice his opinion to Mr. Son.
Starbucks Japan has teamed up with Spanish luxury leather designer Loewe to produce a range of sexy leather sleeves for its paper coffee cups, it was announced yesterday.
The limited-edition sleeves are part of a programme designed to provide financial support to those affected by the earthquake and tsunami that stuck north-eastern Japan in March last year.
Low turn-out for blood donation is a chronic problem in nearly every country. It seems that people generally don’t like being stabbed and having a machine suck out their blood. On top of that, some countries, such as China a couple decades back have had scandals involving reused equipment and tainted blood that all but shattered the public faith in blood collecting authorities.
These bleak circumstances look like a job for the Blood Buddies: a group of strapping young Chinese men and women who don superhero tights which also illustrate their circulatory systems for all to see!
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