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March 25, 2011

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Local efforts for Japan's quake victims

THE disaster which devastated Japan has sparked a worldwide show of support and Shanghai residents are among the concerned. Nie Xin looks at some of the ways money is being raised to help the victims.

Mindy Chen is busy preparing for a show next Wednesday. It's not a solo performance, but a charity event she is organizing for victims of the recent Japanese earthquake.

The 9.0-magnitude quake and the following tsunami on March 11 devastated the northeast coast of Japan. The worst earthquake the country has ever experienced since 1923 that washed away entire towns has taken the lives of more than 9,000 people and about 12,000 are still missing.

When the disaster happened, Chinese and Japanese communities as well as expats in Shanghai reacted without hesitation to join global efforts to help the victims.

The Consulate General of Japan in Shanghai and Shanghai Red Cross are officially accepting donations. From last Friday when access opened at the consulate, to this Wednesday, several million yuan has already been donated.

According to the consulate, among all the donors, two-thirds are Chinese with the rest expats from more than 16 countries.

"As these tragedies unfold, we cannot afford to stand by and watch," says Chen, who with the Jane Goodall Institute, is organizing the charity party along with two other Chinese friends - Whitney Yang and Nina Kong.

The fundraising event "Quake Appeal" will be held at Horizen on the Bund.

"This will be a casual evening filled with live music, a raffle draw and an auction," says Chen.

The evening's proceeds from the entrance fee (30 yuan, or US$4.57/person with one free drink) and sales of drinks, raffle tickets (30 yuan for one and 100 yuan for four) and the auction will go directly to the Japanese Red Cross, with 50,000 yuan expected to be raised.

"We hope people join us for this special event as we put our hands and hearts together for Japan," adds Chen.

Events of this kind have already been held since the disaster hit Japan, also among the expat communities in Shanghai.

Last Saturday night, BEAN Shanghai, a local volunteer organization, held a charity gig "A Last Minute Tsunami Relief Show" at Lune, in collaboration with City Moments, a community based around the nightlife scenes in Shanghai and Beijing.

Shanghai comedy-rockers the Dudettes, the surf/garage band Beat Bandits, the Latin/fusion party band Hotter Than Teppanyaki and sitar-based band Sal & Upnavala Groove performed.

"Originally it was going to be a standard high-rocking and awesome free party, but we felt it would be more appropriate to help those in a desperate situation. The event asked for a 20-yuan donation from each guest," says Brian Offenther, aka DJ B.O., who also performed at the event.

The night didn't end until about 5am and many participants were generous enough to donate much more than the minimum required.

The night finally raised about 14,800 yuan for tsunami relief in Japan. "I was surprised by so many people that night, and really enjoyed the performance. The drums were changed in Lune before the show and this made our performance even better," says Toshihiro Kanamaki, 29-year-old Japanese bassist in both the Beat Bandits and the Upnavala Groove which performed on the night.

Kanamaki has been in Shanghai for more than 10 years and his family in Tokyo were safe when the disaster happened.

But he is still worried about the radiation threat.

City Moments and BEAN will hold another fundraising event "Drop Loves Tokyo" on April 8 at Drop nightclub. "All the donations will be collected at the entrance and transferred to the Japanese earthquake NGOs," says Lee Lam, Shanghai general manager of City Moments.

DJ Baru from Japan (owner and resident DJ of Node Lounge), Drop resident DJs and extra Japanese DJs will play, and special song and dance performances will also be presented.

Meanwhile, some people are organizing material donation for Japanese victims.

"Material donations are not accepted directly by Japanese Red Cross, so we hope we can do something else for Japan," says Zhang Yan, from Rock Faith Culture Dissemination Company, a local culture communication company.

The company is organizing a material donation campaign, collaborating with Japanese companies in Shanghai and famous artists.

Materials such as bed clothing, toys and infant care products are on the supply list. As soon as the collaborating companies which will sponsor materials have been confirmed, the project will be put into practice, hopefully no later than early April.

"At that time, we will promote this project via Internet sites like micro blog," adds Zhang.

Well-known artists from Japan will assist the promotion of this project, including rock band Creature Creature, adult video actress Hotaru Akanei and musician/actor Gackt Camui.

"One of the most difficult things is to deliver the materials that Japanese victims need directly to their hands, and we have luckily got help from a Japanese delivery firm," notes Zhang.

? "Quake Appeal"

Date: March 30, 8pm

Venue: Horizen, 22-23/F, 1 Jinling Rd E.

For more information, e-mail, or call 1822-1602-008.

? "Drop Loves Tokyo"

Date: April 8, 10pm

Venue: Drop, G/F, 55 Yuanmingyuan Rd

People who would like to donate money can go directly to the Japanese Consulate General at 8 Wanshan Rd (5257-4766).


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