UPDATE, March 30: I’m now in Japan! My tweeting  has slowed down quite a bit, mainly because I am busy ^_^ - but also because the real news has pretty much slowed down. Please check out my personal site  for significant behind-the-news type updates that aren’t food-related. By the way, life here in Yokohama (which is right near Tokyo, for the geographically challenged) is pretty much close to normal. Kids playing outside in the sun, mom’s chatting, people going to work as usual, etc. I guess there is a bit of tension in the air, and lights tend to be dimmed at night, but that’s about it. The biggest problem people are griping about right now is the high pollen count. Sorry to disappoint some people who were expecting far worse!
As I said before, my family and friends are all ok, (including my mom, who I know has quite a lot of fans via this site) though my stepfather hasn’t been able to reach one of his brothers in Aomori as of yesterday update: all family member have been contacted and are safe.
I’ve gotten emails and so on asking specific questions about missing individuals and other thing. I am only a private individual, and I’m pretty much overwhelmed at the moment. I have no power to help you officially. Please use official sources to get information/assistance. For online information, the Google Crisis Response  page is a good place to start. I also periodically post pertinent links on the abovementioned Twitter  stream.
Since many people have asked, I’m putting a list of places to donate. If you have specific questions about donating to a particular organization, please consult their website. I’ll update this list as needed. To send in listings for other places to donate, (new request) please post it as a comment to this article, so it will be at least accessible to everyone before I have time to update the page.
Money donations are the best way you can help from overseas. At the moment roads are very congested to hard hit areas because of partial closures, etc. Don’t try to send goods; they may not even get to victims. Money can always be used to purchase needed items.
Finally, for my fellow Americans (and yes, I am a U.S. citizen), just in case you’re hesitant for whatever reason about lending your support, please see this report, after Hurricane Katrina. Japanese prove truly “A Friend In Need” . I believe this is at least partly why the U.S. Military operation name for the disaster assistance is named Operation Tomadachi. Tomodachi means Friend in Japanese.
UPDATE I’m putting any time sensitive fundraising events up at top here.
Note the international Red Cross organizations (see below) have set up earmarked funds for Japan.
A U.S. nationwide-bakesale taking place on April 2nd. See Bakesale For Japan .
Still ongoing auctions to help the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Organized by Japanese-American Japanese-American ceramic artist Ayumi Horie . She, Ai Kanazawa Cheung, and Kathryn Pombriant Manzella have mobilized to solicit, promote, and auction handmade pieces of art generously donated by talented artists throughout North America and Japan. Facebook page .
My fellow bento bloggers have set up a fundraising site, See Bento4Japan .
Artists Help Japan is a charity movement initiated by Dice Tsutsumi, an art director at Pixar Animation Studios. It gathers together the efforts of artists communities around the world to help raise money for Japan disaster relief. Artists Help Japan .
The Japan Society of New York has set up a Japan Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund. Details here . The Japan Society is also doing benefit concerts and more. Check on their web site.
The Japan Society of the UK has also set up a Japan Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund. Details here .
The JCCCNC has also set up an Earthquake Relief Fund. Details here .
You can order a We Pray For Japan wristband  via Lady Gaga’s official site. You can add money to the $5 price to donate if you wish.
Cranes For Japan  is an initiative to gather 100,000 paper cranes. For every crane the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $2 towards relief efforts.
Wow, this is a very creative way to raise funds. The Society of Typographers  is calling for type designers everywhere to contribute a glyph to a special typeset that will be sold to raise funds to be sent directly to organizations in Japan. Info here .
A collaborative literary and photographic book, proceeds to go to Japan disaster relief. Quakebook site .
Another collaborative literary effort, proceeds going to Japan disaster relief. Write for Tohoku site .
Songs for Japan is an album of songs donated by several artists. Included John Lennon’s Imagine, donated by his widow Yoko Ono. iTunes link  (See how to donate to the Red Cross via the iTunes store too, below.)
If you live outside of Japan, you can donate money to support Second Harvest’s efforts to provide food and supplies for disaster victims and more. Second Harvest Japan . (See below if you live in Japan.)
Via the American Express donation page listed below, I found this list of Japan related organizations . Even if you don’t have an Amex card, you may find it useful to find a local organization.
Note that many international organizations are now earmarking funds specifically for Japan’s disaster.
Both my grandparents on my father’s side were Salvation Army officers. I have great faith in this organization.
MSF is another great organization. They’ve already started work in Japan.
The Japan Red Cross is taking donations by bank transfer (in Japan) or credit card (in Japan and from overseas) but their site is understandably swamped. Try this link .
Otherwise, all international Red Cross offices are accepting donations earmarked for Japan.
If you live in Japan, you can donate food and supplies to Second Harvest Japan. Be sure to read their list! Second Harvest Japan .
Also contact your local city/town government offices or look on their web sites - many if not most communities around Japan are now set up to accept donations of goods or volunteers, besides money.
If you’re in Japan as a visitor, the easiest way to donate is to put cash in the donation boxes at all konbini (convenience store) cash registers, including 7-11, Lawsons, FamilyMart and am/pm. If you’re in an unaffected area, also check if government offices or local businesses have donation boxes.
Otherwise most if not all Japanese donation methods require a Japanese bank account or cellphone. The page I linked above  has many links to donation sites in Japan.