Friday, March 18, 2011

Direct from Japan

One of the members of the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club has a friend who is in Japan right now.  He posted this message on our club forum giving a first hand account of what life is like over there.  Thought I would pass it along so folks could get a little more insight as to what is going on in Japan as opposed to what we hear through the news channels.
Dear friends,

Thank you again, everyone, for your thoughts and continuing pray. It's almost 1 week from last Friday.

For many of those who have been asking me update, I will some.

Nuclear plants issues we hear each hour have been unbelievable and shake my heart. There was another really big earthquake last night near Mt.Fuji that we also felt a lot even in Shiga, and that area also has nuclear plants. Weather has been also absolutely unusual these days. It's snowing here over the last couple of days as we had about 10cm snow this morning (in the middle of March!!), so this means the devastated area have more snow and cold. This unseasonable coldness put people inside of their houses/buildings where they would use so much electricity to stay warm. That makes much huge scale of blackout. Can't provide enough power to the damaged area... Vicious circle... Everything is just completely unexpected and scary.

Thank you also for sending hundreds rescue teams & specialists from all of your countries, They have been wonderful support.

After that biggest earthquake, hundreds of bigger aftershocks in whole norther east parts (Tofoku) & Tokyo area -> bigger 3 and more in Nagano -> many here and there includes a smaller one but heart-shaking one in Shiga -> a couple of in Gifu where is just east next to Shiga -> a really big one near Mt.Fuji -> another bigger one in Nagano -> A big one in Tokyo area yesterday -> many smaller but really close to us... Just too many aftershocks everywhere and too scary. Next one can be at any time anywhere. When you open the earthquake record in Japan, you see over 200 aftershocks each day still now. So, in whole nation, people tends to feel like "It's coming this way!!!!!!!", you know. It has been making people get crazy as they go and buy anything before something happens around them, any kind of food, water, drink, battery, candle, gasoline, blanket, tissue, toilet paper, under wear, spare outfit, just anything to live!, as if they are forgetting all the victims have been in much MUCH MUCH needs of those things for further looooong time. Absolutely chaos we have never ever seen before, in all over the country. With this speechless & measureless fears, thousands of foreigners living in Japan are leaving for their safer home. Can't complain at all.

These too much craziness are shame, but on the other hands every single people personally and most of Japanese companies are supporting the victims and the disaster sites and the rescue teams in many ways they can, like saving unnecessary electricity at any buildings(so that we can assist the damaged electric power company in Tokyo), reducing all kinds of power, raising donation money/goods, stopping unnecessary/non-urgent business trips then send the saved-money to the devastated area instead, etc.

Also I am very proud of Japanese people and being a Japanese. Tears come down unconsciously with many of these sweet messages.
Yes, we all Japanese will cope with, helping caring each other as we are always.

Scheduled blackout has been done in whole area in Tokyo and several major prefectures around. It's been making more chaos with million people. However, it is not as much as we expected. Surprisingly but as we could imagine, people have been caring each other very well. No car accidents with no traffic lights-on with million cars driving by in such major cities. This is impressive. Yes, people's kindness and caring are shining through in this crisis.

My brother's LakeStars has been doing great as well in this time. All their games were canceled this past weekend by the league decision as other all pro sports events were same, but instead, they had charity at a gym near here where they were supposed to play games, in order to raise donation money & goods. Since I have been so irritated not to be able to do anything for the victims and the damaged places, I grabbed my sister and collected as much money & new practical goods as possible we could get from our houses, then went to the gym. Guess what? Almost 5000 fans came up and LakeStars raised 5,300,000yen($53000)!!!! and a gym-full donation goods over the weekend. (they raised 1,500,000yen more during this past Mon-Wed!!!, so they totally did over 6,000,000yen($60000)). All of them were sent to the damaged cities today. Best team! Best fans! Again, yes, I am so proud of Japanese people and being a Japanese.

Some of you asked me if I could get through my friends in Sendai yet, where is one of the most damages cities. Thank you for your thoughts. I tried to call them many times since then, during lunch time from work, at night from home. But phone line had been too busy, and it took me 5 days, and I finally was able to hear from them last night!!!!!!! What a great relief... They live very close to the local airport where was sank by Tsunami & rubble but fortunately the flood didn't reach their house. Thank God. However, they lost many friends and relatives and neighbors, have no water, no gas, no gasoline, yet, though only electricity is back from yesterday. They say their area looks like a hell (TV shows only "nicer" issues...) but people there will never give up and carry on. Please keep praying for their further future. Other our friends in Tokyo area are all safe.

Many of you asked how you could help Japan. Maybe one of the ways is donating to Japanese Red Cross.
That would be so much helpful.

My family and myself have been doing well. Everyone is terrifying to see any videos about the devastation, but we have been saving any kind of power and money and goods to send them to the victims again. It's been extremely cold for March, roads got icy and bumpy, but we don't complain at all thinking of all the victims evacuating in much colder air.

We feel all of your thoughts and that make our hearts so warm.
Thank you so much. We truly appreciate.

Stay safe.
Thinking of you all,


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