Japan Eats

After the Disaster: How You Can Help

March 24, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Everyone reading this knows, probably far better than they’d like, that the Eastern coast of Japan’s Tohoku region was devastated by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami with waves in excess of ten meters on the afternoon of March 11th. In the aftermath of this unprecedented disaster, Japan has endured roughly 600 further quakes, of which nearly half have been of magnitude 5.0 or greater, ranging from the area surrounding the epicenter of the original temblor, off the coast of Sendai, in the North, to Shizuoka, southwest of Tokyo.

First and foremost, thank you to all of you who have been kind enough to ask after our well-being and to offer help. All of us here at Japan Eats and, as far as we have been able to ascertain, our friends and colleagues, were spared the worst.

As of this writing, on the evening of March 24th, Tokyo is inconvenienced more than anything. Insofar as you worry, do so for the people up North who are no different from us but that they are undergoing a trial that even their friends and compatriots but a short distance away can barely begin to imagine.

Readers outside of Japan may have come close to having the worst natural disaster in Japan’s recorded history pushed out of their minds by one of its pernicious side effects: the extensive damage to and ongoing emergency at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Despite what you see on TV, it is inarguably the horrific loss of life, livelihood, property, and peace of mind in Tohoku that is the larger tragedy.

Japan, as anyone reading, watching, or listening to the Anglophone media knows, was just about as well-prepared as it could have been and is a wealthy country with the infrastructure and know-how to get back on its feet as fast as any other place on Earth. The earthquake itself was a triumph for Japanese engineering. It is safe to say that the time, money, and effort spent designing buildings and infrastructure to withstand earthquakes saved thousands of lives and allowed for a better response to those areas in which the truth that mankind will always be smaller than the inexorable forces of nature was brought so relentlessly to bear.

Nevertheless, hundreds of thousands of people need your help. Young and old; men, women, and children; rich and poor – they have lost, in some cases, everything, and in nearly all cases are suffering through the bitter Tohoku winter without power, without water, without sanitation, without privacy, without creature comforts and, in far too many cases, without information about their situation and prospects, or even all of their friends and relatives.

Japan Eats is a food and drink site and we, as much as anyone, know the value and rewards of seeking quality, but in these extreme circumstances, we join many, many others in asking everyone who is able to give as much as possible. People in Japan’s Kansai region are cutting down on power consumption and donating the savings to disaster relief. Bars and restaurants in the country’s more fortunate locales have hosted parties and donated the entire day’s takings, and more, to the people who need it most.

Right now, aid organizations say money is the most effective gift as transportation is difficult and needs change from place to place, day to day. There are things most of us can do to squeeze a bit more out. Maybe the reverse-Jesus, for example. Pass on buying that lovely bottle of wine you’d been dreaming of and turn that money into clean water for the people who need it. Or a change of (warm) clothes. Or a book to read to stave off the tedium and fear. Whatever you can do, it will help.

Here’s a list of groups doing good work in Japan who could use your help:

  • Japanese Red Cross Society – Primarily focused on disaster relief, emergency medical treatment, and health and sanitation issues.
  • Oxfam Japan – Primarily focused on mothers and children, as well as on getting assistance to foreigners/non-Japanese speakers.
  • Second Harvest Japan – A foodbank distributing food to shelters and serving meals to disaster victims and the homeless.
  • The Salvation Army – Primarily focused on the provision of basic needs and coordination with other groups to get victims’ more specific needs taken care of.
  • Rescue Japan – A specific relief coordination effort begun by a group of Tokyo-based small businesses. Primarily focused on getting daily necessities, such as drinking water, toiletries, and clean underwear to shelters in addition to distributing items such as books and toys.
  • Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support – A coordination effort between three established animal protection groups in Japan. They do just what it sounds like.

Of course, another way to help that might appeal to our readers is to remember that the people in unaffected areas of Japan are doing all they can to help their stricken compatriots and, while they don’t need charity per se, normalcy helps them. So, if you were considering a trip to Tokyo or anywhere West of Tokyo, or to Hokkaido, please come – it’s still one of the safest, cleanest, best-functioning places in the world. The hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops still have employees and Japan’s economic recovery will only be helped.

We will be back very soon with more specific information about the situation in the Tokyo area, particularly as it relates to safety and, our favorite, food and drink.

Update: Japan Eats wants YOU!

September 14, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

So you think you have what it takes to write for Japan Eats?

We’re currently looking for food and drink obsessives (even casual ones) to contribute recipes and restaurant reviews as well as feature articles (e.g., a story on the changing Japanese diet, a brief history of Japanese whisky). The only rules are that articles must be related to Japanese cuisine/food or drink in Japan and that they be well-written.


Join us on a journey through the world of Japanese cuisine

While we’d love to hear from people in every tower and hamlet of the country, we’re especially seeking writers living outside metropolitan Tokyo – especially those from such culinary capitals as Fukuoka, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, or Sapporo.

While the ability to speak Japanese is helpful, it’s not mandatory. You should, however, be able to negotiate a menu and have a basic knowledge of Japanese food-related terms.

If this sounds like you, please email us with a sample of your writing: lovitt@japaneats.tv.

Japan Eats is also looking for people to help us produce our video content. If you think you’re the next panelist on Japan Booze Blind or could operate a camera on Tokyo Bites, we want to hear from you. The only requirement is that you live in or near Tokyo (unless of course you’re willing to pay for us to come to you!) Again, contact lovitt@japaneats.tv if this sounds like you.

Unfortunately, we’re not in the position to pay for articles or your skills as a videographer. You’ll be doing it for love, people. You will, of course, get credit and the invaluable esteem of your fellow food and drink aficionados.

Update: Facebook, flickr and your photos

March 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

We want your photos!

Your Japanese food and drink photos, that is. Whether they’re of your homemade curryrice or that inarizushi you snapped last week on the flight to Los Angeles, we want you to share them with the world.

There are now two places to post your images. First, you can upload your photos to our facebook fan page.

Takikomi gohan

Takikomi gohan - just one of the images you will find in our flickr group

Then there’s our brand-spanking-new flickr group.

If you’re not a member of either service and would like to take part, start by signing up – it’s free. Join us and start contributing.

You can also initiate discussions about all things food and drink related on both sites. Have a question about where to buy quality shochu or which Tokyo supermarkets sells imported Iberian jamon? You know where to ask.

So what are you waiting for? Sign in and show us what you’ve got!

Special Event: Japan Booze Blind LIVE

February 21, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

It’s almost hanami season!

Every year, Japanese throw outdoor parties beneath the sakura (cherry blossoms). Known as hanami, these flower-viewing parties are really just an excuse for families, co-workers or groups of friends to meet and drink together.

To celebrate the arrival of the cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Japan Eats is hosting an exclusive LIVE event. Hosted by Christopher Pellegrini, Japan Booze Blind will go out live Sunday, March 28th at 3 p.m. (Tokyo time) on Livestream. We know you’ll have questions about hanami season – what it is, and how best to celebrate it. We invite you to submit them via email (pellegrini@japaneats.tv) or in the chatroom during the show.

This is your chance to get involved. We look forward to hearing what you have to say!

Japan Eats on Livestream

February 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

As part of our neverending quest to bond with you over food and drink as much as possible, we here at Japan Eats are expanding into live broadcasts (or, rather narrowcasts) as well as our existing recorded shows: Japan Booze, Blind and the forthcoming Tokyo Bites.

For now, it’s just fun and games, though. Join us early Thursday afternoon (exact time TBA) to participate in the first ever Japan Eats Live Throwdown, or whatever we end up calling it – everything is up in the air and open to your suggestions at this point.

So, please come around and join JBB Host Christopher Pellegrini, Japan Eats video Director Marcus Lovitt, and Producer Garrett DeOrio  for some food and drink and, more important, to help us decide what should come next in the future of live video for Japan Eats.

So come visit our Livestream page.

We’ll be talking about what’s coming up for the site and taking questions and comments about all things food, drink, and Japan. We hope to see you there.