While Tokyo was given a good shake, amazingly it survived largely undamaged. However, one feeling we've all sharing at the moment is a terrible sense of uselessness. Reports over Twitter suggest that plenty of people have taken it upon themselves to get in a car and head north – perhaps not the most sensible option. So here's a few things you can be doing for the time being.
For those living in Tokyo and Japan at large
While some nationalities may be turned away (there are strict rules concerning the process), it is thought that the need for blood will increase in the coming weeks. Before giving blood, make sure you haven't eaten fatty food, but make sure you have eaten something.
There are currently 11 places to do this in Tokyo (as of March 12), linked in Japanese on this map. The following ones are open:
(A) Shinjuku Station west entrance blood donation room (03 3348 1211); (C) Shinjuku east entrance blood donation room (03 5269 1431; near to Isetan); (D) blood donation room 'Shibu 2' (03 3770 0820); (E) Hachiko-Mae blood donation room (03 3476 2880); (F) Yurakucho blood donation room (03 3213 8666); (G) Akiba blood donation room (03 5298 2811); (H) Akiba-F blood donation room (03 3251 8201); (I) Ikebukuro East blood donation room (03 3988 9000); (J) Blood donation room Buratto (03 5950 3000); (K) Blood donation room Kichijoji Takion (04 2221 9000); (M) Machida blood donation room Comfy (04 2732 8494)
Taking physical action
The official advice is not to move from the area you are currently in. Until things are considered more stable, it is suggested that you stay local to your house, so as not to overcrowd transportation and disaster relief routes. Heading to the afflicted area will only crowd the situation, putting more pressure on the limited resources they currently have. For the time being, money donations are considered to be the best way you can help.
Offering financial support
The Cause Action website has an extensive list of groups accepting donations for disaster relief efforts, ranging from Yahoo! to the Democratic Party of Japan. Some are payable by bank transfer, in case you don't have a credit card, though most of the information is currently only available in Japanese. See the complete list here.
The following international sites are recommended:
American Red Cross
Canpan Fields (Japanese NPO)
Save the Children
Non-Believers Giving Aid (scroll down the page for Japan earthquake relief)
NGO Jen (in English and Japanese)
International Medical Corps
Association of Medical Doctors in Asia
Lawson stores across Japan (other than Ibaraki & Tohoku) are accepting cash donations, March 13-26. Money will be given to Japan Red Cross. If you have a Lawson Ponta Card, you can also donate your points at Loppi shops.
Tokyo city office is now accepting relief supplies for the affected people in the north. For a full list of what they're hoping to receive, see this page.
Tokyo-based food bank Second Harvest Japan is taking donations of food and supplies for earthquake victims. Details are available here.
Finally, there's been an unexpected show of support from pop megastar Lady Gaga, who is selling US$5 Lady Gaga Earthquake Relief Wristbands via her online store.
Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yukio Edano, has requested the country to use as little electricity as possible, and the rolling blackouts occasionally witnessed in Tokyo are to extend into unaffected Tohoku areas, March 16-18. Edano has also warned against hording food and petrol supplies, pointing out that supplies are needed to help the affected people in the north.