Friday, March 11, 2011

Sendai Quake--Update

I have been in San Diego this week visiting my family--just me.  My husband and kids are in Yokohama.
An 8.9 quake just hit off the coast of Sendai, a city about 30 or 40 miles north of Tokyo.  A 30ft tsunami has hit the coast. I was talking to my husband about three hours before it happened.  He just happened to be at home today instead of in Tokyo--Teddy had a cold, so he stayed home.

I can't get through--I can't call.  I think they have no power.  I can't skype or email him either.  My brother-in-law and his family are in Tokyo not far from Chiba.  My hands are shaking badly enough I can hardly type this.  I have never traveled without my family.  I was supposed to fly out tomorrow--but I have no idea whether flights can still go into Haneda or not.  I don't know whether I can get home.

Yokohama is ok, I think--it's farther south.  I think they are ok, but I don't know since I can't call or get through.

This is the big one--but it hit Sendai, not Tokyo or Yokohama.

I am crying for the people of Sendai and the coastal towns that have just been swept away--no figures have been released yet.  They don't have any idea how many people have died.  My computer is on Japan time--it hit at 2:46pm in the afternoon.  People were out in cars, on trains, in buses, walking.  Children were still in school or just starting to walk home.  I can hardly bear to think how many people have just been killed.  How many children have just been killed.

I don't know whether Mr. Harris is ok or not--or whether he's in England.

I apologize if this is hard to read-- I hardly know what I'm writing.  I hyperventilated when my sister called me on skype because I didn't have the tv on.  Tsunamis will probably hit Taiwan, Hawaii, Guam, Indonesia as well.  I have family in Hawaii (Oahu) as well.

I wish I had more information.

There is a major tsunami warning for sagami bay and tokyo bay.  I still don't know anything.  I don't know where they are.  Whether they are evacuating to higher ground.  my husband was at home with Teddy when it hit instead of  at work in Tokyo, so my kids are with him and not alone.  People in Tokyo are stuck there because all public transportation has shut down.

A tsunami warning has also just been issued for the west coast of the US--including San Diego where I am now.  This area is fairly close to the coast.  They just said some areas of Tokyo are also submerged--I don't anything about Yokohama, which is a major port.


This is a link to an article from someone living in Yokohama when it hit.  I know my husband and Teddy were at home and Koshi and Cici would have been still at school.  School children know to get under furniture, or under their school desks at school.  I'm saying this trying not to imagine that Teddy might have been injured at home by something falling.  Our big cabinets are bolted to the wall, but the ones in the north room are not.  I hope he was in the tatami room lying down on the futon since there isn't that much in that room.


I just got a video Skype call from my husband.  They are all fine--I could see Koshi, Teddy, and Cici.   No one was injured.  My husband had just left the house to pick Cici up from school when the quake hit--Teddy was alone in the house.  He knew to go right under the table.  My husband ran back home to get Teddy, then they both went to school to pick up Cici and Koshi.  My mother-and father-in-law also drove over from Ofuna (20 minutes away).  They have returned home now.  Our building is not damaged, and the area seems to be ok, but is still under Tsunami warning.  I still don't know when I will be able to get home.  All flights into Tokyo are cancelled indefinitely.  I heard that the US army and navy bases are letting planes that have been stuck in the air land on the bases.

Thank you so much to all who have been thinking of me and my family.  We were the lucky ones.  It could have been much worse.

If Pat Robertson says even one word about god's justice, I will personally find him and beat his face in.


I'm going to try to lay down for a little bit.  Thank you again and again to all of you who have been concerned for my family's safety and mine.  If you could see me, I am on the floor bowing my thanks to you for your kindness.  I can hardly express how grateful I am.  I can hardly bear to think how many people--how many children--have been killed in Sendai.


  1. I just caught the tail-end of a news broadcast about this. Came here to see if you were okay. I'm glad you are, and I hope all your other personal news turns out to be good. Not that that makes all the other suffering, and the deaths, any better of course, but still... Ah, heck, you know what I mean.

  2. thanks daz. I'm just sitting here shaking and watching cnn. I can't do anything. I can't get hold of my family. I don't know when I can go home. thanks for thinking of me right off. It's the middle of the night here. I can't sleep.

  3. I worked a night-shift, but now I can't sleep either. Who is Mr Harris, and do you have an itinerary for him in England? I might be able to find something out.

  4. Tim Harris who has commented here--it was he whom I visited at the park in tokyo with the plum trees. All I know is that he was supposed to be in England in the beginning of March.

    A tsunami warning has just been issued for the whole west coast of the US also-- San Diego, La Jolla, where I am right now. Sometime around 8 or 9 am in the morning (it's 1:45 am here now).

  5. Yeah, I just caught the widened warning on the BBC. Looks like flights to Tokyo are all cancelled, too. (9:50 am here)

  6. i can't get home. I don't know when I'll be able to get home.

  7. Right now, I feel so *useless*! All I can say is that you're in my thoughts. Which ain't much, I know. Sorry.

  8. it helps, actually, to talk to you--it's the middle of the night here. My sister and parents are asleep. Most everybody is asleep or in Japan they have no power. It means a lot that you immediately checked here to see how I am--and that you're talking to me now. Thank you.

  9. Your friends from the WEIT pages are thinking of you & your family & of course those others affected.


  10. thank you, Dominic. I feel helpless and alone and scared. thank you for thinking of me.

  11. a little less alone since you guys are talking to me. I have no idea when I'll be able to get home.

  12. Well, you're certainly welcome to whatever small help I've been! Any new real news there? All we're getting on the BBC is 'shock-horror' stuff without much real information. (Aside, I just realised NZ's gonna catch the tsunami.)

  13. nothing much--other than that all flights into tokyo have been cancelled and I can't go home. So far I haven't heard any mention of Yokohama, just the norteast and Tokyo.

    And as soon as they said New Zealand--my heart just broke for them. They've been through enough already.

    I wonder if all this seismic activity is related to the eruption down in Kyuushuu...

  14. Just heard an announcement. The problem with the phones is due to volume of traffic, more than infrastructure damage. Hopefully that means you'll get through sooner rather than later.

  15. Thanks--that's good to know. I just hope he has his phone and computer with him. I have no idea whether they are at home (we live on the fourth floor--so probably safe from tsunami flows, but possibly dangerous from aftershocks), or whether they have had to evacuate somewhere.

  16. I just got up Amy, and headed right here once I turned the news on.

    I'm so glad that your family made it through, my thoughts were with your precious babies the second I saw where it was. I can't imagine being away from my Sage if something like that happened.

    LOTS of virtual hugs from Detroit and I'll keep my fingers crossed that your area will be alright.

  17. This was my first stop this morning. I am so glad to hear you and your family are OK. I will keep the people of Sendai and the rest of Japan in my thoughts today.

  18. Very glad to hear that everyone is well.

  19. If Robertson starts anything, I'll be happy to help you.
    - Hempenstein

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  21. It's fortunate since you are safe

  22. My first thoughts were for my Japanese sister-in-law whose family lives just outside of Tokyo, though I'm not sure where. After her, three of my friends who are working there. Facebook let me know they were okay. I still don't know about my sister-in-law's family, but expect to find out later.

    After that, I immediately thought of my blog friends in Japan! So glad your family was alright. I can't even imagine how terrified you must have been, being away, but how fortunate your husband stayed home.

    I'm thinking of you all.

  23. As I said in my email, I am so happy you and yours are OK. The people in Sendai are not so OK. This is going to be a long and hard road to clean this up and the human loss is going to be high. If Pat Robertson says a damned thing, I hold the old bastard down while you hammer him.

    But truly Amy, I, like so many other times in my life, wish there was something we could do for you. I wish North dakota was just a little closer to San Diego than the 1900 miles it is. We'd be there.

    I hope you make it home soon and as selfish as it sounds, I fervently hope that everyone you know is fine. I will be coming back time and time again.

  24. Scary! I was worried about you when I heard about it just a few minutes ago and am so glad you and your family are safe. An 8.9 with 30ft tsunami is freaky dangerous. :(

  25. Glad you and your family are safe. Otherwise, I'm at a loss for words about the situation.

    I'm looking to donate to as many organizations on the ground as I can.

  26. i'm so glad to hear you're all OK. I have to try and get ahold of my cousin some time today. I'm sure he's fine, but it doens't hurt to check in on him and remind him that we love him.

  27. I'm very glad to hear you and your family are ok, my thoughts are with you and the people in Japan.

  28. I'm glad you got good news from home, Amy, and sorry about the horrible night you had - and the terrible time so many other people are having.

    "Everything happens for a reason." Oh thank you so much!

  29. I just learned about the quake; I immediately thought of you and your family; I cannot say how glad I am to stop by here and learn that you are all OK. I hope you'll be able to get back to Japan as soon as possible; I cannot imagine how much you must be aching to be reunited with your family.

  30. It's Tim Harris - now in England. I am so glad that you and your family are safe. I came downstairs at my sister's house this morning to find the television on and those terrible pictures of what was happening. It made me feel ill, and tears came to my eyes. We (my wife is here with me) have managed to get in touch with cousins in Yokohama, and they are shaken but ok. We are very worried about our house (all those book-cases), but haven't been able to get in touch with our neighbours yet. I don't know what to do - we have a performance to do next Thursday (if the laryngitis I got on the plane lets up - well, even if it doesn't); we want to get back as soon as possible, but whether it will be possible to change our tickets, I don't know.

  31. Tim Harris, again: Thank you very much, Daz, for your offer, but I think - I hope - we shall be all right.

  32. Tim-- I'm going out to the airport in a little while. I don't expect to learn much, but I can hope. I can stay with the parents of friends of my sister's who live here in San Diego for a day or two if needed. But another 6.something quake (or aftershock) just hit central japan. If it will be longer, I can get a cheap Southwest tickets to Tucson to stay with my parents until I can get out. I'm so thankful your family are alright.

  33. Just been catching up with your story, as didn't hear anything on the news until a couple of hours ago. Here's thinking of you - which is about all I can do from here.

  34. glad to hear you and yours are OK.

    still seems like everyone is trying to sort out exactly what the damage is, but all agreed that Sendai is pretty much gone.

    Aside, I just realised NZ's gonna catch the tsunami.

    danger passed. Tsunami was only about 30cm.

    of course, there could be other waves over the next few hours, but I think we're OK.

    oh, and, btw... if you need anybody to hold down Robertson while you beat the shit out of him, let us know?


  35. I am so relived to hear that you and your family are fine and unhurt. My heart weeps for Japan.

  36. Alice-- *virtual hugs back*

    Lynn-- thank you so much for thinking of us and for coming over here right off:-)

    Dominic-- thank you for all your kind comments and concern!

    Hempenstein-- you are so gallant:-)

    vvv--you are so kind to think of us:-)

    Summer--thank you! Have you heard from your sister-in-law's family? I hope you have and that all is well!

    KK--made it home fine, and all we know are fine. I know you would do anything to help--just knowing that makes me feel better:-)

    Aratina--thank you for thinking of me right off:-))

    Larry-- you are so kind to think of me, and to donate! Please comment any time:-)

    Sarah--thank you! Have you heard from your cousin?

    Brian-- thank you! Please comment any time:-)

    Ophelia-- thank you for thinking of us (and for the extra eye rolls--glad somebody else felt the same way about that;-)

    Lostinsophistication-- you are so kind to think of us right away:-)

    Roy-- thank you, your kind thoughts *do* help!

    Thomas-- *So* glad NZ was spared further damage! And I feel lucky to have so many gallant offers to re-arrange Robertson's face should he open his mouth:-)

    Misss.colleen-- thank you so much for your kind thoughts. Please comment any time!

  37. I'm thankful that your family is fine. I am trying to find out about my foster daughter in Yokohama but have not been able to find her. Nothing much has been mentioned about Yokohama and the Tsunami. Was it hit badly by the Tsunami? Any info you can give me from what you gleaned from your husband would be appreciated.

  38. Tiggysmom-- Yokoso! Thank you, we are fine here. I am in Yokohama now, myself, and can tell you that Yokohama (and Tokyo) were not touched by the tsunami. Shaken up by the quake, yes--but the tsunami hit the coastline considerably further north (Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures). If your foster daughter is in Yokohama, she should be just fine! There is also no measurable level of radiation here, so that is of no worry at present, either (at least in the Yokohama area). Please let me know if I can be of any help locating her! From my own recent experience, not knowing is the worst.

  39. Amy, thank you soooo much! I, like you am crying with relief that she didn't have to face the Tsunami (if she was in Yokohama at the time). I have been glued to the TV and computer, registering her name on every site I could think of, Google Survivor Search, Facebook, etc. etc. Could you please email me and I could give you her mother's address. I don't know the phone number because we always connected via email. It is a lot to ask, I know, but I would appreciate the help. Knowing the status of my dear Masami, her Mother, Nobue and her husband Kazu would give me some peace.
    By the way, your family is beautiful! I had a great uncle who was Japanese. He came to Canada in the late 1800's, early 1900's, panned for gold, was a bronco rider and eventually ended up being a world class chef, even being the chosen chef for the Prince of Wales when he came to Canada. (Just a little aside, to brighten this note) God Bless you Amy and I look forward to an email.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  40. sorry, the email is
    thanks again.....

  41. Tiggysmom-- I live here, and know perfectly well how far Yokohama is from Sendai, and I still spent hours frantic with worry, panicking and hyperventilating until that Skype call came through. If I've lessened your worries even a little, I'm so glad. Here's hoping I can help! I'll email so you can send me whatever details you know.

    (Interesting aside about your great uncle! I love family stories:-)

  42. Thank you Amy and I think my yahoo account is not working so use the rogers account.
    Your story sounds interesting too. I just can't help thinking about how frantic you were while you awaited news of your family's safety. I was never blessed with children, but Masami and I grew so close over the many years that she visited Canada to study English, that she became a part of my 'heart' and when she left to go home for the last time, I felt like the air had been sucked from my home---there was such a vacuum there. But for someone like you, who carried and bore the children, the feeling of fear must have been a thousand fold. You were fortunate to be able to get a flight home. You must tell me how you managed to do it so soon after all the turmoil. I look forward to hearing from you in your email so that I can send you the info regarding Masami and her family. Many thanks again for your understanding and offer of help.