Japanese earthquake triggers support in San Diego area

Andrew Fergin and Lauren Mapp

In the wake of the natural disasters in Japan the nation as a whole banded together to begin the process of rebuilding. As events in the nation begin to settle again, San Diegans continue to show their support and some share their stories of family members affected by the earthquakes and the tsunami.

In the aftermath of the Japan’s disasters there was a great deal of confusion as land line and even wireless phone communications were brought to a stutter for a time. For San Diegans with relatives in the country the inability to get through to their family in Japan was terrifying.

Mika Liu, a Mesa College student whose family lives in Japan, recalls the frantic moments after first hearing about the earthquakes. “My husband told me it happen and I the first time you know when I heard that I thought he [was] kidding.”

“I couldn’t contact anybody, I couldn’t sleep at all until I could make sure they were okay”, Liu recalled and continued to mention that “Right after the earthquake happened I couldn’t reach anybody in my country, not even Tokyo.”

The disaster has sparked an emotional note from Liu, who said that “I have no words to describe how I felt when I watched the disaster on TV.”
Jim Hernandez, another Mesa College student, shares his own experience as well. Hernandez is the son of a military veteran who was contracted in Japan at the Yokosuka Naval Base during the time of the quakes remember his mentioning that “The earthquake was pretty violent, greater than what he’s experienced before.”

As a “precautionary measure”, Hernandez stated that officials on the base where his father currently lives are handing out potassium iodine pills to prevent health issues developing due to the radiation from Fukushima’s damaged nuclear reactors.

Despite what Hernandez calls the “sensationalized” media coverage in the United States, the situation in Japan is not nearly as hectic as it would be elsewhere. “The Japanese are very calm and patient; in any other country there [would] be looting and pandemonium,” according to Hernandez.

In a more general show of support, this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park was held in dedication to the victims of Japan’s earthquake and tsunamis. According to NBC San Diego, visitors to the garden were able to donate money to a relief fund and sign a book with “words of encouragement and support.” The Cherry Blossom Festival raised roughly $10,000 which was submitted through the American Red Cross and the Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles.