Taylor Anderson Memorial Gift Fund
by Maria Valenzuela
The tragedy of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan earlier this year touched both current JET participants and JET alums who all have strong emotional ties to Japan. JETs and the JET community have responded in various ways to help. Some have started up their own charities to benefit the Tohoku area. The two articles below are about organizations started by members of our own JETAASC community working in creative ways to aid Japan. Another way JETs have reached out to Japan and those who have been lost are through memorials. Two JET Program participants Taylor Anderson and Monty Dickson were sadly lost during those tragic events. AJET is running a memorial site where condolence cards are posted to an online blog. The memorial site is http://ajet.net/2011/04/14/taylor-anderson-and-monty-dickson-jet-community-tribute/. Taylor’s family is running a memorial gift fund towards projects they feel Taylor would have wanted to see through in Japan.
I had the special privilege to hear Taylor Anderson’s father, Andy Anderson, address all the JETAA USA chapter representatives at the JETAA National Conference in Washington, D.C. Primarily he wanted to thank the JET community for their heartfelt response in response to Taylor’s passing and the earthquake/tsunami devastation in Tohoku. Secondly, he wanted to inform the JET alumni community about the Taylor Anderson Memorial Gift Fund. The purpose of the Taylor Anderson Gift Fund is “To help schools, families and students in the Ishinomaki area recover from the earthquake and tsunami. The fund’s website is www.st.catherines.org/
by Gabriel Della Vecchia
During the summer of 2010, the members of Photoji Project spent three weeks documenting, through photographs and interviews, the historically important onsen hot spring town of Naruko in the Tohoku region of Japan. We focused our explorations on the concept of toji : a traditional method of healing by bathing in the medicinal waters of the hot springs multiple times a day over the course of a number of weeks.
Then came the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th, 2011. Over the course of one terrible, bitterly cold winter afternoon, everything in this region of the world changed. In a strange twist of fate, fading Naruko, home to hundreds of usually empty hotel rooms, became a refuge for 1000 tsunami victims, relocated there by the prefectural government. The ritual of toji, staying in an onsen town for an extended period in order to heal, has taken on an entirely new meaning.
Photoji Project returned to Naruko in May and June 2011, nearly one year after our original visit, to document how a place that was written off has now become safe haven for hundreds of families.
We will share these stories in California in an exhibit we have named “Vanishing Point.” We will be showing at the Little Tokyo Koban and Visitors’ Center in Los Angeles in mid-August to coincide with Nisei Week, the largest Japanese-American Festival in the US. For the month of September, to commemorate the 6th month anniversary of the disasters, we will be showing at the wonderful Elsewhere Gallery in Fairfax, just outside of San Francisco.
The people of rural Japan were already facing steep challenges before the disasters, and now with added hurdles, we want to ensure their efforts towards recovery are seen as broadly as the images of destruction. At both locations, we will be collecting donations, selling prints, and holding a silent auction to raise funds for the Naruko community. We are looking forward to seeing you at exhibit!
Photo Exhibit “Vanishing Point” in Los Angeles
Location: Little Tokyo Koban and Visitor’s Center, 307 E. 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA
Dates: Friday, August 12th – Sunday August 21st
Admission: Free, donations appreciated.
Closing Party and Talk Session will be held on Saturday, August 20th
Doors at 5:30pm, Event at 6pm
Hours: 9am – 6pm
Photo Exhibit “Vanishing Point” in San Francisco
Location: Elsewhere Gallery, 1828 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard,Fairfax, CA
Dates: Friday, September 2nd – Tuesday September 20th
Admission: Free, donations appreciated.
Opening Reception and Talk Session will be held on Tuesday, September 6th
Doors at 6:30pm, Event at 7pm
Hours: 11am – 6pm
by Raymond Gonzalez
ToBetterUs Co-Founder, Graphic Artist
If a drawing or a song could help the tsunami survivors in Japan, would you pick up a pencil and start doodling, or a mic and start singing? If you could make a donation towards the tsunami relief without giving any money, just a bit of your time, would you?
ToBetterUs gives you the opportunity to do exactly that. ToBetterUs is a soon-to-be-launched webservice utilizing artwork and social networks to generate donations for the Japanese tsunami relief effort. The aim of ToBetterUs is to change the way we help those in need through a little creativity and time, without a penny from your pocket. We hope to affect positive by taking advantage of the internet and the digital age. Here’s how it works:
Creative people, like you, post their artwork on www.tobetter.us. This can be anything from movies, music, posters, photography, or anything creative. It can be Japan related, or simply a piece of art you’ve created. Once on ToBetter.Us, invite your friends and other art admirers to see your work on the website. Then, those friends would spread the word on their social networks, driving more friends to admire your art. With every page visit to your artwork, revenue is generated through the ads on the page. Then, we donate the money generated to a charity helping in tsunami relief!
If you are interested in participating, check us out at www.tobetter.us and start uploading your artwork! If you have any questions, we’re more than happy to answer anything you may have. You can send any questions or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact us through our social networking pages: