It's been a couple of weeks now since the great Tohoku earthquake and all the hardships that followed. While I strongly believe Japan will recover from this, there is still so much that needs to be done. I've donated what I could, but I would like to continue to do as much as I can for the relief effort. I'd also like to let you know of some ways that YOU can help.
I've created a new email address where you can reach me about these efforts in helping Japan: email@example.com. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please send me an email about it!
The first big way you can help is the rather obvious option of donating money. Do your research to find the charity you’re most comfortable with, or maybe send smaller amounts to multiple charities to "cover your bases."
I personally donated to the Red Cross. You can donate at www.redcross.org, or you can text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation that will automatically be added to your phone bill.
This website also has a list of charities with ratings if you want to do some more research: http://www.charitynavigator.org/
2. Buy stuff
If you don't want to just give money away, there are a lot of ways for you to buy things with the proceeds being donated to Japan. You may see this kind of thing all over the place, but I’ll be giving you two different resources over at Livejournal. If you don’t have an account there, the site is normally used for blogging but also has some great communities.
At this community, people are auctioning off a ton of different stuff - anything from food, to jewelry, to books, to clothes, to art… There is SO much stuff over there. Bid for something that interests you in the next few days, and at the end of this month, if you win, you pay for it by making a donation to Japan (I believe you can make it to the charity of your choice as long as you provide proof).
This community is usually all about the boy band Arashi, and a lot of the fundraising going on there is fan-related. The "Garage Sale" part of the fundraising is very similar to what Help_Japan is doing: people are offering things such as CDs, magazines, pamphlets. However, this time it's no an auction, so it’s basically first-come, first-serve. Also, instead of having to donate the money yourself to a charity, you simply have to send it to the Paypal of the Arashi_On community and they will take care of it for you. They had a poll to decide which organization they would send the money too, and the charity for this month is Direct Relief International, but I think the charity will change each month (and you have a voice in deciding this.)
Aside from the Garage Sale, what people are also offering are things like fanart, fanfiction, graphics, icons, little hand-made goods, etc. While a lot of these fan-made things are centered around Arashi, this is not a requirement. Many people are offering to make stuff from different fandoms, original characters, etc., and it’s all mostly on a request basis.
I myself have made a post to this community and am offering art. I'm taking requests on any kind of fanart or original characters, I'm pretty flexible. No nudity or anything though, please :) These will be pencil drawings that I will scan and send to you digitally, but nothing colored and no digital art, since that is definitely not my forte.
Aside from simple drawings, I could also do short comics or something, and this leads to another idea. If you’re using Heisig’s method to remember kanji, you might have trouble coming up with little stories for some of them and maybe some visuals would help you. Let me know which kanji is giving you trouble and I can draw out a little comic for you to illustrate that kanji and help you to remember it.
This can extend beyond kanji. If you want any kind of lesson, I could help you with your English, Japanese, and French... (let me know if there's anything else I could help you with). I can type up a lesson for you, or maybe make some kind of illustration to help you learn. I'm considering setting something up on Edufire and teach something there, probably in one-on-one tutoring form. Let me know if that would interest you as well.
Finally, if you watch my Youtube channel and would like to see me make a video on a particular language or culture topic, let me know, and you could "sponsor" that video. I could do a lesson-type video, a review of something, etc. So request the video, sponsor it through a donation, and I would give you credit for sponsoring that video.
While all of this extends way past Arashi I'll stick to doing it through the Arashi_on Livejournal community for now. This will keep things simpler, especially since I don't know whether anyone will be interested in any of this. If you don’t have a Livejournal account but are still interested in this, do let me know, and I'll see about making other arrangements through my own Paypal account.
Go check out my LJ post for more specific information on the artwork, and take a look at my DeviantArt account as well - I haven't posted anything there in forever, but if gives you a good idea of what my art looks like. Pricing will range depending on what you’d like, from about $1~$10, or whatever you're willing to give. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for requests or any questions.
3. Sell stuff
Aside from spending money through donations or buying things, you can also sell your own stuff on the above websites (or through any other fashion). So if you’re really strapped for money, why not donate your stuff or your talents? Let me know if you’re doing anything like that – I might be interested, and I could help spread the word.
Finally, there are plenty of ways to help without giving anything up at all in the form of support. Here a few shoutouts to other Youtubers who are doing their part and letting you know of other ways to help.
One thing that’s huge is a new channel, partners4japan. Youtube granted this partner channel specifically for the relief fund, and you’ll see videos from all of your favorite j-vloggers over there and other guests. All of the money that is raised through that Youtube partnership will be sent to the relief fund, and the more subscribers, views, favorites, likes, etc. they have, the more money they will make. It doesn’t cost you anything and there’s a lot of interesting content, so go support them!
Other Youtubers have been really great as well. Nigahiga posted a video in which he donated $600, Michelle Phan made a makeup tutorial, and if it gets a million views, she’ll donate $1000, and plenty of other Youtubers have been doing similar drives. It's awesome to see the Youtube community being so great in supporting this cause, so please go support those kinds of efforts yourself. Keep your eyes open and spread the word about that kind of stuff; there are plenty of ways to help out with very little effort.
While monetary benefits are the most important way to help right now, general support to those victims in Japan is still wonderful. Messages of support can give hope and lift peoples' spirits, so stay positive and keep Japan in your well-wishes. Victor at the Gimmeabreakman channel called out for us to make paper cranes and send pictures or video responses as messages of hope, which he will eventually compile. Here is my submission - go make your own crane to spread a message of hope and encouragement.