Friday, March 11, 2011

Beth Kinsella Sakanishi –“We are all Fine”

The Kinsella Family woke up to the news that Japan was hit by an 8.9 Earthquake, its largest ever. Our sister Beth has lived there most of her adult life, with her husband Takeshi, so we followed the news closely. My brother Tim was able to get her on the phone, which was a relief to us all, and then she emailed in more detail to Mom and Dad.

Beth wrote this morning:

“It was big, it was scary, even here (5 or 6 hours south from the biggest of the tsunami waves, but we are all fine. Things were shaken here, some things broken, but mostly it was just very, very long (much longer than most quakes are) and the swaying was very back and forth and then speeded up until I thought for a few minutes it was THE one. Downstairs, Michiko and Atsushi (Takeshi’s parents live on the first floor of their house) did not feel it as bad, so it was just worse on the 2nd floor.

Takeshi just got home a few minutes ago. I cannot tell you how relieved I am. It took him two hours to walk home, after the train stopped (and he was stuck in the train between stations for 90 minutes before that...).

The tsunami is going to have done the most damage. The highest waves in Fukushima (about 5 or 6 hours north of us), were last recorded at 7 meters, but they have not had any readings after that because, likely, the observation areas are inundated. The tsunami area is huge -- when you see the map of Japan about 70 % of the coastline is highlighted.

We are inland, so don't have to worry, but the pictures of the tsunami-hit areas, and those near the epicenter, are scary as heck. I am sure the number who died will rise (it is now 48), but my impression from watching the non-stop reporting, is that they did have a good amount of warning time and most people got to higher ground.

It is night here, we will see what tomorrow brings, but again, the tsunami will do the worst damage.

Pray for Takeshi's nephew who goes to school in Sendai, where the really big tsunami hit. They haven't been able to get in touch with him yet.”

Beth just wrote a short time ago:

"Dear All,

We did finally get a hold of Takeshi's brother and he said San-chan, T's nephew in Sendai, is fine. We don’t know any more than that, and Sendai is very hard hit (a lot of it is underwater) and still under tsunami warning, of course.

There were towns all along the coast that were just washed away.

We are still having aftershocks and have been warned that a big as or bigger (than the original quake) one may come any time in the next month. I did not get much sleep last night (every 15 minutes or so, during different times at night, there would be an aftershock and we'd be on the futon thinking, 'Is it bad enough yet that I should get up and run to the doorway?')

But -- Tokyo is getting back, slowly, to its routine. Not all train lines are running but some are. One of my friends -- central Tokyo -- had to stay overnight at her office and was wisecracking to us about how the 'emergency rations' tasted like rice Krispies, only with soy.

Dad - I am sorry I did not call you and Mom but the phones were out. I can't believe Tim got through. Or Takeshi, twice, on his 'journey' home

Last we heard, the death toll was 1000, but that will rise. Most of the dead are from the tsunami areas.

Things are not bad here, at the moment. In fact, I am waiting to see if anyone calls me to cancel the Sat. com. center class I am supposed to teach today. If no one does, by 9:30, I will go.

We are fine. Not in any danger, at the moment. I know it looks terrible -- and is terrible for those in the tsunami area -- but it would have so much worse had the epicenter been underneath Tokyo. Our part of Chiba is one of the safest areas to live in.

The huge worry right now, for us, is the nuclear reactor (that we had all been worried about from the moment it was built -- HELLO, this is earthquake country -- near the coast -- hello, again, tsunami???) that is leaking radiation. Supposedly, it is only a small amount, but they don't have the electricity to cool down the reactor, and we are all watching that. That's about 5 or 6 hours north of us.”

Thanks Beth, little sis—we are thinking of you and your family, and praying for all there who are in such worse straits than you are. Love and safety to you!


Judy said...

So, so Happy to hear from you and that all is OK. We love and miss you both. Judy & Jimmy

annie bananaie said...

just read some of your information on everything that is happening. all our good thoughts + prayers are coming your way. glad you humor is still intact when you were yelling at the tsunami about being in the earthquake area!!!!!! was laughing with you! love ya cousins!!!!