I am saddened by the news of the disaster in Japan today.
I was lucky enough to travel to Japan a few years ago through the Fulbright Memorial Fund. It was one of the best experiences of my life. The people there were so kind and welcoming and I won't ever forget the time I spent there.
I was there for three weeks during the school year (my school was awesome enough to allow this to happen) and my students followed my adventures on a blog I created for the trip. The blog hasn't been updated since I got back, but if you want to read about the country and my time there you can find it here. You should start at the beginning of the blog to follow my adventures if you do decide to read it. There's some great pictures. The only thing I ask is to ignore my typos on it. I tried to update it every day there and usually I was on a Japanese keyboard writing stuff. That was any adventure within itself!
Luckily, my host family is okay, but there are a lot of people who aren't. The country needs your positive thoughts and prayers right now. If you can help in a monetary way, author Maureen Johnson is doing an awesome thing through SHELTERBOX. An organization that builds emergency housing for people in the midst of disasters. You can read more about it here, or on Twitter. The Red Cross is also making it easy to donate through texting. All you have to do is text REDCROSS to 90999. Information for donating to the Red Cross is here.
If you haven't read Heidi Kling's Sea, yet, please do so. It's a beautiful young adult novel about tsunami relief and shows you the importance of becoming involved.
The news today is devastating, but I know that the power of people coming together to help can be amazing so I remain hopeful.
Shrine at a Japanese Temple
Tokyo Fish Market
Japanese Elementary School
Shrine in my Host Family's House
Staying at a Japanese Hotel (where we had to wear kimonos and sandals)
Sea of Japan