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絆:ニッケイ・ストーリー ~東日本大震災から~

The Great Tohoku Disaster - Part 2

Read Part 1 >>

I will try to recreate my personal experiences from the e-mails that I sent to friends in Canada and Japan, TV news reports in Canada, the U.S., and Japan, and from what my wife Akiko tells me.

Saturday, March 12

We woke up exhausted from worry about family and friends in Sendai. Still no contact.

***

I got mail from Judith, the sister of my pal Tomo. She was frantic about his whereabouts:

Another message from Marnie from Australia, an old girlfriend of Senji, a good friend who lives in Sendai. The message is the same: “is everybody okay?”

Thank you for the information that he doesn’t live anywhere near the coast. Phew! Yes, we will just wait. I will stay in touch - thank you for helping me.

—Judith

***

Hi Judith, No problem! The phone lines seem to be down. My sister-in-law in Sendai did contact her son in a different part of Japan but calling Sendai seems to be next to impossible. My wife reminds me that the day after the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima that the city transit system was working the following day. Things will get repaired as fast as humanly possible. Will be in touch! Norm

***

I spend much of the day sending out e-mails to federal politicians who, while sympathetic, direct me to “emergency hotlines.”

***

Hi Norm - yes, like all politicians…they suck. If I could, I would get on a plane right now and find him myself…but it doesn’t look likely for a few days at least.
Can’t help but go crazy here.

Thanks for your post - we are trying to stay positive but the nuclear reactor news is very disturbing to say the least.

—Judith

***

Hi Judith, Hang in there. I have a rough idea about where Tomo lives and he should be fine. I am pretty sure that he was off work at the time and that all of the schools he would have been at would have been in Sendai city. The quake hit at around 3pm, I believe. The streets in Sendai are a maze, really, unmarked and impossible to navigate if you don’t know the landmarks. My wife was able to get a hold of her mother by phone tonight. She lives close to downtown Sendai. I’ll try Tomo again tonight. I’ve asked friends in Japan to try contacting Tomo but the lines are all cut off. Norm


March 13th/Sunday

Norm! Just got a message from O-san - she says “All Safe - No Damage.” Thank God.

I will be in touch - and I will let Tomo know of your helpful concern when the time is right.

—Judith

***

Hi Judith, Any more news from Tomo and O-san? I got news that another mutual friend of ours, Senji Kurosu and his family, are fine too. The rebuilding process is going to be a long one.

My wife will be in Sendai on May 26th and be staying for a month. Hopefully she will have a chance to meet Tomo and family then.

Sendai and the rest of the area are a disaster zone but it is good that those we know are well. I’ll send news as I get it. All the best, Norm

***

Hi Norm - right after the email they called us. Tomo and O-san were home when it happened and Tomo went rushing out on his motorcycle to pick up S-kun and bring him home. Evidently they can cook because they have gas. Tomo very emotional thinking about some kids not far from them that didn’t make it.

I haven’t received any further communication from them - perhaps the phones are down/internet down as well. Or maybe they are just trying to get food and water. It must be emotionally and physically draining. I know that we are drained - so I can’t imagine how they feel.

Thank you for keeping in touch.
Cheers, J

***

Hi Judith, Yes, my wife told me some of the sad stories that are coming out in the Japanese media now too... I know that my in-laws close to downtown don’t have gas so the situation varies. I’m going to try calling a little later. Electricity is still a problem. I’ve been told to try cell phones as they seem to be more dependable. Now the long road to recovery.... will try the Google People Finder. Will be in touch, Norm

Monday, March 14

It’s the first day of the March Break and I am stressed out. The day is spent watching the TV news reports about the tsunami and earthquake. I check out the internet and some of the discussions taking place there. Disaster truly brings out the very best and worst of people. Some comments stun me by their callousness and idiocy. These were mostly making a connection between the crimes against humanity that Japan committed during WW2, and the earthquake and tsunami…that they were some kind of divine retribution.

We are all worried. My parent’s friend, Miyo and family in Sendai, sent mail to let us know that they are okay.

My friend Yuri a Russian scientist who I got to know in Sendai when he was a post-doctorate student at Tohoku University was asking about friends and family there too.

***

Hi Yuri, Akiko’s family is okay. Senji and family are at a rescue center. My friend Tomo and family are okay too.

The coastline was very badly damaged. I can’t recognize the places that I have visited now.

Akiko will be going to Sendai at the end of May now.

Water, electricity, and gas are not available. Very hard situation in Sendai.

Will let you know when I hear more news.

All the best, Norm

***

From a former student, Shogo H., who lives 35km from the nuclear reactors in Fukushima.

Photo cortesy of Shogo Horiuchi

Hi Norm. I was back to Minami-Soma city (Fukushima).

Our house was broken by tsunami.

My family is all safe. Now nuclear power plant is most dangerous problem.

It is 35km near. I have fear. but almost safe. See you Norm!

My computer was broken too.

—Shogo

***

Good to hear from you Shogo.
I am very sad to hear about your house.
I am glad that your family is safe.
We are all praying that the Fukushima power plant will be okay.
Take care, my friend..... we are trying to help here in Canada too.
Stay in touch, Norm

***

Hi Norm: Just a brief note to let you know that Tomo called this afternoon. They are still OK and they are rationing food. He said he hopes to have internet access soon. This is all I know right now. Any news on your end?
I don’t know about the latest nuclear thing at #2 - sounds scary.

—Judith

***

Hi Judith, Thanks for the update. Yes we are on the same wavelength! Nothing new to report. Will let you know if I hear anything. All the best and please tell Tomo that we are all thinking about him and the family here too.

Don’t get too stressed out about this (easy to say) but I know that Tomo would want us to chill out and have a glass of wine. He will contact us when he can. I am sure that he and the family are fine.
Stay in touch, Norm

Photo cortesy of Shogo Horiuchi

Part 3 >>

© 2011 Norm Ibuki

Canada disaster earthquake Japan JPquake2011 sendai Toronto

このシリーズについて

人と人との固い結びつき、それが、「絆」です。

このシリーズでは、2011年3月11日の東北地方太平洋沖地震とその影響で引き起こされた津波やその他の被害に対する、日系の個人・コミュニティの反応や思いを共有します。支援活動への参加や、震災による影響、日本との結びつきに関するみなさんの声をお届けします。

震災へのあなたの反応を記事にするには、「ジャーナルへの寄稿」 ページのガイドラインをお読みください。英語、日本語、スペイン語、ポルトガル語での投稿が可能です。世界中から、幅広い内容の記事をお待ちしています。

ここに掲載されるストーリーが、被災された日本のみなさんや、震災の影響を受けた世界中のみなさんの励ましとなれば幸いです。また、このシリーズが、ニマ会コミュニティから未来へのメッセージとなり、いつの日かタイムカプセルとなって未来へ届けられることを願っています。

* * *

今、世界中から日本へ向けた、たくさんの支援団体や基金が立ち上げられています。日系による支援活動情報を入手するには、ディスカバーニッケイ のツイッターをフォローするか、イベントセクション をご覧ください。日本への支援イベントについて投稿する際は、「JPquake2011」のタグを付け、震災支援イベントのリスト上に現れるように設定してください。