HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the suffering in Japan plays out on television screens in every corner of the world, Tokai International College professor Toake Endoh shares a feeling common on the Hawaii campus -- the desperation of distance.
"We are concerned but at the same time I feel I'm so powerless and helpless," she said.
Several of Endoh's relatives in Fukushima lost everything. She still holds out hope for an uncle and a cousin who have not been heard from since the earthquake and tsunami.
"Maybe for some reason they just can't communicate with us right now," she said.
This semester the liberal arts college has 89 students from Japan. Fortunately, none has a relative who died in the natural disaster. But they all know someone back home who has been affected and who long for life's basics.
"My mother says if I can bring some toilet paper rolls from Hawaii," sophomore Kento Takebayashi said.
Takebayashi and Sayaka Noguchi have organized a fundraiser for Friday and Saturday at the university. The proceeds will go to Japan's Red Cross Society
"Even though I'm far away from Japan, I want to help them somehow," Noguchi said.
The disasters turned life in Japan upside down. Endoh's relatives in Fukushima are living in shelters.
"They are also affected by the uncertainties of the effect of the nuclear disaster and that shortage of power," she said.
A distance of 3,850 miles stand between Hawaii and Japan. The students and faculty at Tokai are reminded every day just how far away they are.