Monday, March 14, 2011


QUAKE UPDATES Day 3  ++

Tough day yesterday...

Called Kasumi’s cell phone many times but battery likely out as seems to be a common problem with cell phones inundated with well-wishing inquiries that use up battery life... so on an off chance E called their apartment phone and there they were!

K and T had just arrived back home to look things over; the building was damaged externally but structurally ok as of the moment (T is an architect, so I trust his judgement), so they went in and began trying to clean up while the girls stayed back at the gym and played with friends... When the big loooooooong quake (first tremor 20 times longer than the Kobe quake of '95) hit on Fri afternoon K was home alone working on her jewelry when suddenly the building began rocking violently she stood in the room doorway for a bit but the shaking was getting worse, she figured she’d better get out, got the front door open went out as the shaking got worse, figured she shd head for school and the girls, but by then she couldn’t walk, the building was tossing her around, so she just stood there holding on to the railing... oddly, there was no one else in sight! In quake intervals she finally got down to the ground, took her bike to the school over the broken road, found kids milling around outside and inside, the teachers looking everywhere for the Earthquake Emergency Guide, she took the girls home, Miasa barefoot, lost her shoes in the gym, had to run back and find them amidst the tremors and screaming children everywhere, they finally got to their still shaking home, grabbed some blankets and pillows and slept in the car. Well, the girls slept. K said she couldn't sleep at all in the car... too worrying, too cold and earthquakes every 15 minutes,though it's a lot better now, only an earthquake an hour...

More soon...

Love to all for your kind messages and thoughts...

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After all I’ve seen, wherever I go around here, my eyes expect disaster... Words fail, the things we’re seeing and hearing 24/7... over 10,000 lost, injured and missing thus far, homes lost, whole villages, cities lost... only by chance and good fortune were Kasumi and family spared... the sorrow everywhere, people finding each other, losing each other, tales of helplessness at watching family members washed away perhaps never to be found... who can sleep? I want to go there with water and food and help... so many tales of courage... husband, wife and daughter washed away holding hands, swirled far away until, passing a stationary fragment of another house managed to clamber onto the roof of the car in the remains of the garage, stood there all night as the water roiled at their feet; father tiring, daughter took off her belt and looped it over an wooden beam of the garage so her parents could hook their arms through and hold on... an elderly man in the flooded house, hearing their panic in the darkness, kept yelling out all night “Ganbatte! Ganbatte! Ganbatte! Hang on! Hang in there! Don’t give up!” His cries weakening through the night... when in the morning they were saved by rescuers, the man in the house was found to have died.  

Other glimpses:
...he can’t even find the street where their house used to be... roofs full of people, rivers filled with houses, even the water is on fire... cars speed down narrow streets, the drivers fleeing fishing boats... village floats past its residents, watching from the hillside... all the paddies now sea marshes... everywhere smells of gasoline... boats on expressways, cars clustered like bacteria, no exit from the flooding bridge... waves full of roofs... was that a person? the center does not hold... only the sea is true... the sound of trucks, roofs, earth, walls, cars grinding together... it all... slows... to silence... then reverses faster, faster out to sea... Amid the aftershocks, elderly woman points to building in her garden, asks What is this? How did this get here? So many tales of strength... Tatsuya starting out from his workplace right after the first quake and walking the debris-washed beach road of the lightless night through the aftershocks, tsunami threats, mud and wreckage to get to his family 7 hours away... Husband and wife in their late 80s rescued from the wreckage of an old inn, he and she smiling, saying Let’s push on, let’s rebuild! They remembered the last tsunami and how they did so then... There’s the heart to it all...

And in the young couple holding hands in the distance, walking the lost road out of the remains, their lives in their backpacks...

More, soon as I can...

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Only once in 1000 years - quake magnitude 9.0

*

Astonishing before-and-after photos of tsunami areas - slide black bar across photos...                    via Mary Contrary

 *
Can’t even send Kasumi packages by private delivery services...

*

--"Partial Nuclear Meltdown 'No Disaster'" says the talking head... The awkwords of authorities trying to calm us down...

*
 Rolling power outages start today in Kanto...



16 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

WOW! i can imagine the stress, worry, sadness and on the other hand, u are experiencing, relief, happiness.. Now the recovery begins and the healing..

jaykaym said...

One phone call can make you start to breath again. I am so glad this update brought you good news.

Anonymous said...

So glad you finally got in touch with your daughter. Nothing worse than knowing your child is in danger and not being able to talk to them. Prayers coming your way.

joared said...

Thinking of you and family. So glad you've had contact from your dtr and family. Thank you for sharing your experience here. Positive thoughts and wishes will continue coming your way, but wish more concrete assistance was possible. Hope help reaches all soon.

Chancy said...

So glad you had good news about your family. I think of all of you often and continue praying.

I know you can at least breathe again now

Mary Lou said...

I have shared your blog with my facebook. Your account of the tragedy is so much more compelling than the news we see over and over and over again! Know that We are thinking of you and your family 24/7!

catmomaj said...

The world is praying for Japan! Your words are connecting us to the human experience that is swirling around your own family. I live on an island in the P.N.W.in WA. state. We are prone to earthquakes here as well. May God be with you and keep you and your loved ones safe.

Joy Des Jardins said...

I can't tell you how happy I am that you reached your family and that they are ALL safe. I can't imagine the relief you must have felt. I just watched a show on tv about the quake and the sunami...almost unreal; but not to all of you. Thank you for updating us Bob. I pray you and your whole family stay safe...God Bless you... ~Joy

tracyd said...

Oh Robert, I'd send a short message asking if you and your's are okay. I just came here after not hearing back, to read all the updates. How are your children/grandchildren now? Can they get to where you are, or is that not even possible at this point? So glad to know you are fine. My thoughts are with you all!!

ceruleandaze said...

Hi Bob. Wow. So happy to hear that Kasumi and Tatsuya and the girls are all OK! Sorry to hear the apartment is damaged, though. And 30 km from the plant (Fukushima Dai-ichi/Dai-ni?) sounds awfully close. Glad to hear you both are OK too. I was editing away at home when it hit and thought the extra-long swaying very odd as well. Little did we know how it would turn out, though. Can't watch much news, though, without sitting down and crying. Too surreal. We're OK, though, and counting our blessings knowing we got lucky this time. Take care, you both, and K & T and the girls too! See you Thursday.

Suzann said...

Bob, so glad your family is safe. I have been thinking about you and yours since i heard about the quake. Sending love and light.

Maggie said...

Thank you for all this. These are the first personal accounts I've read. I am so very sorry and wish I could help from here. My thoughts continue with you and yours.

DJ said...

I continue to pray for you and your family. I'm so glad to hear you were able to reach them and know they are ok. *hugs*

Alfred said...

Hope and prayers coming from here in San Francisco.

annie said...

So happy you have talked to Kasumi and her family. Hope that you will be able to get to them, or they to you soon.

I weep for Japan and her people. May love, hope and strength carry you all forward along with the help and prayers of the world.

No one but you can tell it so well.

Hugs to you all.

Anonymous said...

I've been an off-and-on reader of yours for years. I admired your writing before, but loveliness like "the awkwords of authorities" in the midst of a crisis of mind-numbing proportions is breathtaking.

I'm watching too and praying that Kasumi w/ husband and m&ms is soon safe and warm in your home.