Tohoku is still in dire need of support to help its recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in 2011. But it must be remembered that recovery is a slow process, and there are many who are also still struggling after the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, which destroyed a large portion of that western region.

If you wish to show your support, why not join visitors to a series of Christmas charity concerts, which are being held on Dec. 14 and 25 in Nishinomiya, one of the cities that was hit the hardest by the 1995 tragedy.

"We held our first concert in May 1995," two months after the earthquake struck, said Kazuhiro Matsuda, one of the organizers of the concert. "We intend to continue hosting the event until the 20th anniversary of the quake in 2015."

Participating artists include the Toujours Saxohone Quartet, flamenco dancer Teru Tsujikawa and guitarist Daichi Mitsuki.

If you can't make it in time for the Christmas shows, don't worry — organizers are also preparing a few more events in January to mark the 19th anniversary of the Hanshin earthquake.

The Hanshin Daishinsai Hukko Kinen Concert 2013 takes place at Amity Hall in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Pref., on Dec. 14 and 25. Two shows are scheduled for Dec. 25. Starting times vary depending on the day. The event is free of charge but visitors are encouraged to make a donation of at least ¥1,000. For more details, call 0736-62-9963.