Local Japanese woman recalls the quake - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Local Japanese woman recalls the quake


ROCHESTER (KTTC) -- One local woman's family managed to escape the quake and tsunami's devastation. But she has spent the last few days worrying about her relatives' safety. Early Monday morning she found out that thankfully, they all are safe.

Even 5800 miles away and a 14-hour time difference can't stop Junko Maruta-Ihara from feeling connected to her homeland of Japan.

"Kind of a new experience for me, worrying about my country," said Junko.

After a relaxing, month-long trip home to Japan, she returned to Rochester on Thursday, just hours before devastation struck. Junko said she was worried a large quake might strike, because on Tuesday she felt shaking while waiting in line at the bank.

"I kind of immediately felt the shaking and it lasted for a long time. That was unusual to me, but I saw other people in the bank and nobody seemed to pay attention," explained Junko.

Friday morning, Junko learned of the quake. She said panic spread throughout her.

"Oh my goodness, I thought maybe it had destroyed all of Japan. So scared, even if my mom is here," recalled Junko.

Numerous attempts to contact her family were halted for days.

"Finally they got electricity. They couldn't watch the TV or even hear the radio for 3-days after the earthquake," said Junko.

Now, their biggest fear surrounds the nuclear reactors.

"Radioactive things coming thru the wind and then maybe rain. So, they're afraid of that," stated Junko.

Although Junko's family was lucky enough to live on a mountainside in Sendai, some of their friends' homes along the shore were destroyed. In the days to come they hope to help others rebuild their lives.

Junko told us she is devastated by the scope of the disaster, but is hopeful this will unite Japan's younger generations, giving them motivation to rebuild the once peaceful country.


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