While preparing disaster gear like your emergency bag and stockpile items is crucial, what will really help you to take it to the next level is participating in disaster drills, workshops, and other forms of training.
While most of these opportunities in Japan are offered solely in Japanese, there are some organisations and events that are run in English and other languages. Here are a few examples that are worth considering!
1. WaNavi Japan
WaNavi is a Japanese non-profit that offers a variety of English-language disaster preparedness trainings to schools, universities, corporates and others. They offer fun, interactive and comprehensive training for adults and children alike, and their trainers are disaster prevention experts. Highly recommended. See their website here for more.
2. Household Disaster Preparedness Workshop
3. Wilderness Medical Associates
Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA) offer a variety of training courses, ranging from 2-day Wilderness First Aid training to 5-day Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician training. This is mostly done in Japanese, but they do hold courses in English from time to time. Please see their website here for more details.
4. Life-Saving Training (CPR/AED/Basic First Aid)
Advanced Life-Saving Certification Training (上級救命講習 – jyoukyuu kyuumei koushu) is run by many Fire Departments. In Tokyo, it costs 2,600 yen and lasts 8 hours, mainly covering CPR, AED usage, and basic first aid skills. As far as I am aware, these are only conducted in Japanese, aside from on very special occasions. For those in Tokyo, please see this website for more details. If you are outside of Tokyo, please ask your local government office or Fire Department.
5. Medic First Aid Training
Medic First Aid programs are provided in Tokyo in English (nationwide, CPR / AED / First Aid). See their website here for more information.
6. Tokyo CPR & First Aid
Tokyo CPR & First Aid offers training in English on Primary and Secondary Care, Care for Children and CPR/AED usage. See their website here for more.
7. Japan Basic Life Support Association
CPR courses with English-speaking instructors and English-language textbooks and videos in Kanagawa Prefecture. Certified by the American Heart Association. See their website here for more.
8. Japanese Red Cross Society
The Red Cross offers first-aid training courses (mainly in Japanese). See their website here for more information.
A number of government and civil society groups run multi-lingual, multi-cultural disaster prevention drills (防災訓練, ぼうさいくんれん, bosai kunren). It’s best to contact your local government office to see what’s on offer.
Disaster prevention (防災, ぼうさい, bosai) events and drills are often held around the first week of September, to commemorate National Disaster Prevention Day, 1st September (the day of the tragic Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923).
Below are some examples.
9. Saitama Prefecture
Saitama offers a number of drills and exercises for non-Japanese speakers.
See here for more information.
10. Shinjuku Bosai Festa
Shinjuku Bosai Festa is a fun, interactive, and inclusive annual event, held in early September in Shinjuku ward, Tokyo. There are several volunteer interpreters (who speak multiple languages) to help non-Japanese residents and travelers to join in the fun and learn bout disaster prevention. See their website here for more information.
11. Tokyo Metropolitan Government
The Tokyo government offers multi-lingual disaster prevention drills across the capital throughout the year. See their website here for more.
12. Minato-ku Comprehensive Disaster Preparedness Drills
Minato ward in Tokyo, one of the most foreigner-friendly parts of the capital, offers multi-lingual disaster prevention drills throughout the year. See their website here for more.