Japanese Student Association brings attention to disaster

The devastation of the tsunami following the magnitude 9 earthquake off the northeastern coast of Japan has left many fleeing while unaware of the next steps.

While Japan faces growing uncertainty, organizations across continents and seas are unreservedly answering the call to comfort.

The SF State Japanese Student Association responded immediately to assist the relief, even before a formal group decision took place.

“We didn’t wait,” said JSA Vice President Miki Fukai.  “We were like ‘let’s just do it now, right at this moment’.”

The JSA will be tabling rain or shine from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this week in an effort to raise funds for those impacted by the disaster.

Several JSA members implored passersby to donate to the cause.

“A lot of innocent people are hurting and dying,” Fukai said. “We want students to be aware of what’s happening overseas.”

Although no JSA members have lost immediate family members in the tsunami or earthquake, the catastrophe has affected many close to the group.

“We were born and raised there, and we have heart there,” Fukai said.

In a single day of fundraising, the JSA raised more than $3,300 for the victims of Japan.

At the time, the funds were being placed into a single cardboard box in the center of the JSA table and was nearly filled Tuesday afternoon.

Due to the hurried response by the JSA, the organization of the charity may have been lacking, but the compassion of the cause is obvious.

While some threw in large bills others could only throw in a few coins; regardless, JSA members said they were more than thankful for the emotional and monetary support  of  the SF State community

“I feel such support and love, it was such a great emotion to have,” Fukai said. “Our country is loved by this city.”

As a thank you to those who donate, the JSA table was littered with tiny origami figures to be given to those who give any amount

Patti Patterson, a biology major, made a quick stop to give her contribution.

“My heart really does go out to the people there,” Patterson said. “We could suffer a similar fate in California, we should help each other.”

Patterson, who was saddened by the images of Japan, said she would likely come back to make another donation.

“It’s devastating to watch,” she said. “I think people should try every opportunity to help.”

The JSA is still holding conversation to decide which organization the funds will be allocated.

After the success of tabling, the JSA plans to continue relief efforts by coordinating future charity events.

Members commented that because the future of Japan is so vague, donating perishable goods could be of little help at this point in time.

“We want to raise money, as much as possible and as soon as possible,” said JSA career coordinator Mayumi Minoda.  “Our one goal is to help people through their suffering.”

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