Tsunami Fund

This is where I hope readers will really come together to help make life better for the tsunami orphans. I don’t know much about the Tohoku area, but the real-life “Australian” from Chapter 2—one Stuart Forsyth—is part of a network that sponsors R&R retreats in Canberra for young victims from a small town in one of the hardest hit regions. So when the time comes to make donations, we’ll have a direct line to where the money will do the most good.

Two students

The Kobe Charity T

Soon after Japan’s 1995 Kobe earthquake, a fellow expat named Anya Block and I developed a charity T-shirt to help the victims. I handled sales and distribution, and differentiated our shirt from the many other charity efforts at the time with the promise to buyers of clear documentation of who had received their money. In September, 1995, I hand-carried more than $15,000 to Kobe. $7,250 went to the Kobe Department of Education for elementary school textbooks, $4,800 to a group of handicapped workers whose factory had been leveled, and $3,000 to a community of citizens still forced to live in tents in a public park nine months later. As I handed the money to these recipients, the thanks in their eyes made me glad I had brought the money personally. I returned to Tokyo with receipts verifying the donations and distributed them to all the buyers I could still find. Click here to see the receipts.