We’ve all seen the devastating footage of the tsunami in Japan and we know the outlook is not good. In case you’ve been avoiding the harsh light of reality here’s where we’re at: one month after the original earthquake in March an aftershock measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale hit, causing the government to raise the nuclear emergency level to seven (the highest level) – making this the worst nuclear emergency since Chernobyl.

The death toll has reached 12,600 and is expected to increase to 20,000 as the search for 14,700 missing people continues. More than 188,000 people remain displaced or are housed in temporary shelters. Over 135,000 houses have been destroyed or damaged by the disaster. Needless to say the situation is desperate.

The scale of the crisis is overwhelming and it’s easy to feel helpless in this situation. And while there’s no quick fix, it’s important to remember that every little bit helps. Whether it’s going to a dinner, buying a beautiful piece of art or just a pair of chopsticks, every act raises awareness and stimulates action.

We’ve already seen Market Lane raise $6800 dollars through two hugely successful events: Rossettas for Relief and Cup of Relief. These kinds of events are all about like-minded people coming together to have a good time and raise money for a worthy cause. If you have the opportunity to get involved do so. Every little bit helps.

The Press Club Dinner at PM24
The Press Club Group is holding a fundraising benefit for the Red Cross Japan Disaster Appeal on April 21, with Philippe Mouchel of PM24 hosting the event.

All five of The Press Club Group restaurants are supporting the benefit, with head chefs from The Press Club, Maha, Hellenic Republic, PM24 and St Katherine’s (not yet open) coming together to design a menu specifically for the night.

Guests will be treated to an array of canapés representing all corners of the globe, and traditional Japanese-style entertainment.

An auction will be held on the night for items including a dinner party for six cooked at your home by Philippe Mouchel; four laps around Sandown Racecourse with John Bowe in a Ferrari 458 Italia or Lamborghini LP640 Murceilgo; and dining opportunities at The Press Club Group restaurants.

Tickets to the benefit are available for $200 by contacting the venue on (03) 9207 7424 or through the website.


Art for Japan
Art for Japan is an online collective of compassionate artists who have banded together, driven by a common desire to help those in Japan. They are creating and donating their work to auction off and raise money for the Red Cross relief efforts in Japan.

The project is being run by Melbourne-based artist Cam Diamond but numerous artists are involved. These include highly esteemed, internationally renowned tattoo artist Chad Koeplinger, photographer Matthew Sleeth and painter Anthony Lister.

The artworks will be displayed on the website as of next week. Once all the ark work is up, the pieces will be put on eBay with 100% of the sales going to Red Cross humanitarian effort in Japan.

“With each bid, we will increase awareness for our cause, inspire more people to join the auctions and raise more money for those who really need it,” notes Cam.

Artwork should be for sale early May. Check here or the website for more details artforjapan.net.

Sake for Sendai at Nihonshu
Nihonshu Shochu & Sake Bar presents a night of sake, beer and pizza in honour of the people of Japan. All proceeds from the night will go directly to the Red Cross to support Japanese tsunami relief efforts.

Nihonshu Shochu & Sake Bar is Izakaya Chuji’s lively little sister. The venue is full of character and Tokyo charm, albeit not very big. Thus only 60 tickets for the night are available. Get them from the venue for $65.

Nihonshu Shochu & Sake Bar
163–165 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Chopsticks Heal Japan
From the creative gurus at BMF comes an innovative fundraising initiative to help provide aid for those in Japan.

The idea is simple: when in a Japanese restaurant, customers will be asked to donate $2 for the use of their chopsticks, thereby creating a simple, social, donating mechanism to raise more funds to help heal Japan. All proceeds will go to the Australian Red Cross Japan and Pacific Disaster Appeal 2011.

A large number of Melbourne restaurants have already committed to the project and are displaying the red posters and collection tins proudly.

Chris Kay, Head of Account Management at BMF, says "We have created a small idea that will hopefully make a big difference to a country in need. Because the donating is done in a social setting, we’re confident this small action will encourage others to think, act and donate.”

If you are a business wanting to get involved go to bmf.com.au for more information.