OSU Japanese Students Host Fundraiser For Quake Victims Back Home

Sunday, March 27th 2011, 9:31 pm
By: News On 6

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

Stillwater, Oklahoma -- Japanese students at Oklahoma State University are doing what they can to help earthquake and tsunami victims back home.

Despite the chilly temperatures, the students hosted a fundraiser on Sunday to warm the hearts of donors.

The Japanese community in Stillwater knows how to have fun. They brought out their traditional games from the common to the unusual-- martial art demonstrations and cultural pastimes like calligraphy and origami and delicious Japanese food.

But their fundraiser is for a very serious cause -- helping earthquake victims.

OSU alumna Soreiyu Umezu is from Sendai, the epicenter of the March 11 earthquake. She and the other Japanese students said they all lived in fear after the tragedy, not knowing if their loved ones had survived.

"I couldn't sleep for three days because I couldn't talk to my parents, and I couldn't keep in touch with my friends over there," Umezu said.

Stillwater resident Mary Ritchey's mother also lived in Sendai and she died last year.

"It's been really difficult and then with the earthquake and tsunami in Sendai, it's brought back a lot of good memories and some sad memories," Ritchey said.

The Japanese student association and graduates organized the fundraiser to help the relief effort.

"They don't even have water. It's just crazy. We must do something as soon as possible to help those people out," said fundraiser organizer Takehiro Ryu.

All the money they collect will go to the American Red Cross.

"I'm just hoping everybody in the world can help just a little bit, donate a couple of bucks or do something like this. Just help out," Ryu said.

With more than 10,000 dead and 17,000 still missing, help can't come soon enough.