For that reason, Rowe said, she's been careful to show him what has happened to a place so familiar. It's a lot for anyone to comprehend, she said, let alone an 8-year-old.
When he heard that houses were swept away and people were sleeping in gymnasiums, he was devastated, his mother said.
"I'm personally just really moved by the level of support from the second-grade class and their level of generosity," she said. "I do think it's a testament to the community and the school."
Aidan's father, Stanton J. Rowe, works at Edwards Life Sciences in Irvine. The medical device company announced that it would match any employee contribution to Japan and decided to include Aidan's.
Edwards Life Sciences has regional offices in Asia, including one in Sendai, one of the most devastated cities in Japan. Many of the initial images that were shown were of Sendai's airport and its harbor.
On Friday, Aidan went to the offices in Irvine to deliver his $1,100 donation.
"I was really impressed, but especially when I found out he was 8," said Tom Abate, the firm's chief financial officer. "It was an impressive pile of money."
Abate said the company has been eager to do what it can to help. As of right now, he thinks it has about $60,000 in employee donations. They're going to close out early next week and then match the total, which they'll give to the American Red Cross.
Aidan's Japanese teacher at Waldorf, Masami Inoue, went to Japan after the earthquake hit and heard about his fundraising efforts via e-mail
"I was touched and moved that on Aidan's important birthday, instead of himself, he thought of the Japanese disaster sufferers by collecting contributions for them, and that his classmates pure heartedly cooperated," Inoue said in an e-mail. "I feel renewed pride that I teach at this school."
From 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday the Waldorf School will be collecting donated items for Japan relief. It's accepting items such as sleeping bags, diapers and camping chairs. Donations will be go to the Center for Women and Families, a nonprofit in Irvine, which will ship the items to Japan. For more information, contact the school at (949) 574-7775.
To donate to the Red Cross, visit redcross.org.