Mar 11

There’s so much going on in connection with 3/11 that it feels overwhelming to try and capture everything. Life has been busy with all of life’s things, and I realized that I was trying to put off thinking about 3/11 in some important ways. So I finally stopped myself and thought back to March 11, and remembered that initially I was frantically gathering information from every source I could find and trying to organize it in a way that would be helpful to JET alumni, family of JETs, and anyone else outside Japan who was seeking information on people and areas.

The post below is much of the information gathered in real time (at the time) and gradually organized into what I hoped were helpful ways. Reading through it brought back a range of challenging feelings for me as well as a comparative perspective on how things big and small felt then versus now. Feel free to read through and share your own thoughts and memories in the comments section below if you like.

One additional thought:  Taylor and Monty, you are not forgotten.


March 2011


Map of the Tohuku region in northern Japan and its prefectures

Last update: 10:06 pm NY time March 14.  Email jetwit [at] with any updates you’d like to share.  (Apologies for delays.  I’m taking care of my 14 month old daughter while trying to keep doing things on the computer.)

(10:06 pm) “I talked to a person from the US embassy today. The US has not issued any evacuation for it’s citizens. If you want to escape you have to do it on your own, but they said if we have something we need to call them. I told him food and he said he needs food himself, so everyone is in that situation. We are now strictly rationing our food. Do not expect any help from the US government.”

(9:38 pm) From JET Greg Lekich in Sendai: “Everyone, I’m heading over to the home of Iain Campbell where we will set up a system for dispatching people on the ground to check on people. Will be back online a bit later.”

(9:36 pm) “Report from Furukawa area. Northern rural areas are fine. Furukawa not too bad. Power and communication sitiation though still not reliable.”

(9:32 pm) Iwate Grass Roots Aid Facebook Group

9:05 pm “NEWS on CTV: Japanese government spokesman reporting that many northern communities are still cut off and have not been reached yet :(”

Shiogama (6:27 pm NY time): A photo of Shiogama High School and some of the survivors.

Shiogama (via JET alum friend’s FB) (5:53 pm NY time Monday, March 14):

bizarrefighter RT @plasticOL: 塩竈市港町、地震と津波(床上浸水)のWパンチで家は相当のダメージ/港町から貞山へいく通りには死体が浮かんでいた/警察も人手が足りないためか、生存者の確認を優先しているようだ/尾島町のコンビニでは津波直後に商品の略奪があった #shiogama #save_miyagi

Shiogama Minato-machi – with th…e one-two punch of the earthquake and tsunami (water covering the floor), there’s quite a bit of damage to houses. Walking from Minato-machi to Teizan, there were some floating bodies. Possibly because the police don’t have enough manpower, they are prioritizing confirming survivors. There was some looting of goods at a convenience store in Ojima-cho immediately after the tsunami

bizarrefighter RT @KECOCO33: 浦戸の安否確認情報です。野々島はほとんどの島民が浦戸第二小学校(浦戸第二中学校)へ避難できたそうです。#shiogama

Safety confirmation for Urato: almost all of the residents of Nonoshima were evacuated to Urato Second Elementary.

ayatter0831 千賀の台、倒壊家屋もなく地震発生時、ご自宅にいたかたは無事とのこと。停電(一部復旧)、断水継続。救援物資は全くないが、各家庭の備蓄物で一体となり助け合ってるとのこと#shiogama

Chiganodai – no damage to houses, and those who were in them at the time are unharmed. Power outages (restored in some parts), water pipe…s severed. We’ve had absolutely no material support, but we’re coming together to help each other out with what we had in our houses

Sendai update (via Foreigners From Miyagi FB group) (3:57 pm Monday March 14)

I am currently in downtown Sendai, where I have been since before the earthquake struck. I haven’t ventured outside of the city center, but the situation downtown is subdued. Although we were shaken hard by the first quake, most damage here appears to be cosmetic. Electricity and water were restored to our apartment by 10:30 the morning following the quake, although many areas of the city are still without one or the other. Tremors and aftershocks have continued non-stop since the first hit, but thus far nothing has approached the strength of Friday’s jolt. We have been very fortunate that most of our friends and family appear to be unharmed and safe. The food situation is still unclear. A number of grocery and convenience stores were open on a limited basis today, but line-ups were tremendous and stocks seem quickly to have run out. I know of a few major supermarkets that are scheduled to open tomorrow (likely on the same limited basis), so there is some hope that supplies will be available. The city center remains orderly but cautious, and it appears everyone is just waiting for the continuing seismic activity to subside. I, for one, will be ecstatic when the damn ground finally stops shaking.

Christopher Craig

Ph.D. Candidate, Columbia University

Shiogama (3:38 pm Monday March 14): Apparently there are about 121 people, primarily Indonesian fishermen, in a junior high school in Shiogama, Miyagi who are alive and waiting to be evacuated.


LIST OF TOHOKU REGION JETS ACCOUNTED FOR ON THE CLAIR-NY (aka Japan Local Government Center) website:

Last Updated 3:41 pm (NY time) Sunday March 13:  Number increased to 654 US JETs, 145 Canada JETs and 193 Other Country JETs.

Special request to all current JETs in all affected areas:

“Please email CLAIR-NY at> to let them know your status, even if you’ve already responded to CLAIR Tokyo or another office. The NY office is handling communication with concerned families and would like to respond to their inquiries. Thank you!”


JETs Mentioned in Media Coverage



Volunteer efforts for Tohoku:  “I Am/Will Be In Japan and Want to Volunteer in Tohoku” Facebook group

Note: if you need to get out of Miyagi please look at this group – is for people who need a floor or bed or somewhere to sleep. Lots of JETs and other foreigners signing up and offering rooms. CouchSurfing – Japan Crisis Housing

I heard from one alum in DC who said she’s heard from friends that phone lines are down in Gunma and Tokyo and most of Kanto.  Another JET in Osaka said earthquakes/aftershocks are still happening even though they’re not all being reported.  Also said that the there’s a lot more detail on Japanese news about what’s been happening to people than we’re getting back here in the U.S. on the news, which is more big picture stuff.

Also, JET alums are asking about their various towns and if anyone has any news:

  • Fukushima Prefecture
    • A JET’s Experience in Fukushima
    • In Souma City, Fukushima Prefecture, rescuers have still not been able to reach residents trapped in their homes because of flooded roads.
    • Miyako: “Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel sent by helicopter to check the extent of damage spotted wood fires at seven places in the city of Miyako early Sunday, the Defense Agency said.” (Japan Times)
    • 9:07 am NY time March 13 – Namie: “The Fukushima Prefectural Government said it was still unable to contact 1,167 residents, including 918 in the town of Namie, boosting the tally of those unaccounted for in its latest data.” (Japan Times)
    • “Images from Soma and Shinchi are pretty bad. Shinchi (or at least a large part of it) is gone.”
    • “The evacuated the village I used to teach in to Miharu.”
    • “Fukushima-shi and Koriyama-shi are both far enough inland that they should be unaffected. Ryan McDonald has been all over CNN actually. He filmed part of the quake on his iPhone.  Both cities were damaged by the quake, but were far enough from the tsunami that the problems there are mostly water/power etc.”
    • Motomiya – Anyone know anything about Motomiya? Update:  “890 people went to emergency shelters, 2 houses damaged. The damage seems very light.”
    • “People looking for info on Fukushima can get the latest info released by the Prefectural Offices. Click on the third link down to get an excel spreadsheet with a breakdown of numbers of current evacuation centers, damage, etc.”  (In Japanese) (If someone with decent Japanese skills wants to dig through this and email the info so I can include it here, send it to jetwit [at]  Yoroshiku.)
    • 5:45 pm March 12 (NY time) – Watching an NHK report showing an aerial view of a coastal town in Fukushima that seems to be largely washed away. All wooden houses appear to have been swept away. 78 people reported dead in Fukushima and over 500 missing, according to NHK, 23 in the town of Iwaki.
  • Miyagi Prefecture,
    • During the tsunami and after. The Yuriage pines still stand.

      Foreigners from Miyagi – there’s a lot of info being exchanged among JET alums here.

    • Sendai Earthquake Family & Friends – another Facebook group just set up – Is now in contact with up to 5 people in Sendai (3:21pm March 13)
    • Shizukawa High School – Facebook group for information on students and faculty that have attended this High School.
    • “Help line for foreigners in Sendai 022-265-2471 on NHK.”
    • ********
    • Oshioka Peninsula: “100 bodies discovered on Oshika Peninsula. Communities from Watanoha in Ishinomaki to Ayukawa at the tip of the peninsula have been decimated.”
    • Nakanosakae: “My Wife’s family is from there and the wave came up but was not so severe. They are back in the neighbourhood now.”
    • Murata: “Apparently no fatalities in Murata according to the town mayors twitter feed!/HideoSato”
    • Minami-sanriku: “According to Canadian news Minamisanriku was completely flattened, People did have a chance to evacuate though. We believe from websites people are in Shizugawa High School.”  “On steve mendoza’s missing person page someone posted this video”  “Hoping those at the high school will be evacuated soon! Hoping Canon Purdy is among them.”
    • Taiwa + Tomiya: “Glad to see Taiwa is fine (I taught there in HS), I would suppose (hope!) Tomiya is ok too, any news?”
    • Osato: “Osato is fine…just some structural damage!!”
    • Kesennuma:Milt Moise (Kesennuma ALT) has been confirmed alive and well.”
    • Tagajo: “Everyone, I will be away from my computer for part of the day as friends and I are biking out to Tagajo to check on a friend of ours – I will try to update via my friend’s iPhone but if not will be back later this afternoon.” (from Sendai Earthquak Family & Friends Facebook page)
    • Shiogama: “Just got this email from a teacher from Shiogama High School:  ‘im ok. so many people,over 10 thousands,were killed but we cant know whats going on…no electrisity, no gas, no water right now,my mobil started 2 work its so cold.still now lots of earthquakes have been happening…shiogama, tsumami came into the city, there is water over the roads, in front of the shrine. fires with bombs r burning the city but nobody can do anything because of water over the roads. scary…we cant get detail info. But we r ok. about students, no lessnns at the day so we dont know they r all alive'”
    • Kesennuma: “I read that at least 10,000 from kes were evacuated to shelters in the area…
    • Shizugawa: “Please update us on JET alum Canon Purdy if you hear of people being evacuated from Shizugawa.”
    • Town by town update on NHK website:
    • Rescuers are struggling to get to 24,000 people who remain stranded in the tsunami-struck region.
    • These isolated outposts have been confirmed in 80 places in Tohoku region including Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures.
    • Kesennuma: In Kesen-numa City, in Miyagi, more than 3400 people are still trapped. More than 1700 people are in a island of the city, and 1000 are in a fish market.
    • In Minami-Sanriku town, at least 2300 residents are cut off. Among them, 800 people are waiting for help in a gymnasium while nearly 1,000 students and adults are thought to have taken shelter in two schools in the area.
    • In Ishinomaki City, at least 4300 people are isolated. Among them, about 1000 people are in a junior high school and about 600 people are stranded in a shopping center.
    • In Rikuzen-Takata City, Iwate Prefecture, about 100 students are still waiting to be rescued from a high school playing field.
    • Kesennuma: “Kesennuma’s in very bad shape but word is trickling out that some people there were evacuated successfully. Will update once we know more.” 
    • Yuriage: “The pines in Yuriage have stood for 300 years. Despite standing right in the path of the waters, they still stand. Through all the destruction they’re still there. I find that reassuring.”
    • 3:53 pm (NY time) March 13 – Unofficial comment from someone on one of the Facebook groups:  “Inland areas, while lacking power and cell phone reception and thus incommunicado, mostly seem to have suffered only minor damage. If the person you are worried about lived outside the tsunami impact zone, they’re likely okay even if you haven’t heard from them as reports on Japanese news suggest minimal casualties outside of seaside areas.”
    • Natori: “メールありがとう。いま名取にいるALTもみんなげんきで、Eric Chan(CN)、Mona Lim(CN)、Melissa Lee(AU)、Phillip(AU)は館腰小学校でボランティアをしてもらっています。Marchall N Ikeda(CN)は大学にいる とのこと。もし家族やお友達から連絡が入ったら伝えてあげてください。名取は海沿いの地区、ゆりあげ、下増田の東側の津波被害がひどく、市内各所が避難所になっています。 なぎさ” “Thank you for the mail. Right now the Natori ALTs are all well. Eric Chan, Mona Lim, Melissa Lee, and Phillip are volunteering at elementary schools. Marchall Ikeda is at the university. If you can contact their family and friends, please tell them. The coastal districts of Natori, Yuriage and eastern Masuda, were hit hard by the tsunami. People are taking refuge throughout the city.”
    • Shichigahama: “If you can read Japanese, this blog has a good summary of informal (mixi, etc.) news coming out of Shichigahama as of 1:00 p.m. on March 13: Can’t be sure of source, but post suggests that residents had 40 min. between earthquake and tsunami to seek refuge. Seems like many made it. If anyone has more information, please share.”  (Note:  “Mixi” is a Japanese social network.)
    • Oogamari: “Doesn’t look good for Oogamari.” (In Japanese);da=96958A88889DE2E0E3EAEAE7E6E2E0E3E3E0E0E2E2EBE2E2E2E2E2E2
    • Dan Ross from Kesunnuma confirmed to be ok, according to Google people finder. (posted on Sendai Earthquake Family & Friends) (3:21 pm March 13)
    • Photos (with captions) of Sendai, Ishinomaki, Natori, Shiogama and more:
    • Ishinomaki: “and in one of the shelter in Ishinomaki (a high school at the area), a water trunk had came by and now people who are staying there have water. the trunk driver is a great volunteer who lived there and was thinking about all the people there so he wanted to help.” “In some shelters, NTT (phone company in Japan) managed to set up phones so people can call home/family as well.”
    • Iwanuma + Tamaura: “A former colleague at Iwanuma Elementary School (Kato Takuya) just reported that 1500 people are currently staying in Iwanuma Elementary School. He also reported that the Tamaura area of Iwanuma was devastated by the tsunami. Food, water and power supplies still seem to be critically low.”
    • A few photos posted on the “Foreigners from Miyagi” Facebook page:
    • 1:45pm NY time – Natori and Yuriage: “The head of the Natori City Response Department has just been on the TV news confirming that they have now been able to get access for a crew to start going door to door looking for survivors in buildings still standing, or partially standing in Yuriage.”
    • Seeking info about:Canon Purdy (2008-2010 JET), Minamisanriku or Shizugawa Junior High. I am her mother, Adrienne Regard aregard [at]”  Canon had apparently returned to Miyagi to attend the graduation for her former junior high school.
    • Shiogama: “”enta43 RT @plasticOL: まちBBS転載12:07〜本塩釜駅付近、道路に陥没あり。液状化も発生した模様。水の跡を見る限りでは最大2mぐらいまで水が来た模様。全壊等の目立った被害はなし。車や浮遊物が多数流されているため、壁等の破損は多数。水は上がったままで引いてない箇所あり。 #shiogama   enta43 RT @plasticOL: Reposted from the town bulletin board. Around 12:07 p.m. in the Hon-Shiogama area, the roads have collapsed in places. Seems like there’s been some liquefaction. From what we can tell from the water marks, the water reached a height of about 2 meters. Nothing completely destroyed, but a lot of cars and other flotsam were washed along, so there’s a great deal of damage to walls and so on. In some parts, the water has not yet receded haretahigasuki RT @daiki0083: 塩釜の状況です。町は少し落ち着いてきています。ただ、北浜あたりは被害がひどそうです。一部を除いて水はひいてます。45号線あたりは冠水して通れません。多賀城も市役所から先は封鎖してあります。#shiogama haretahigasuki RT @daiki0083: The situation in Shiogama: the town has settled down a bit. But the damage in the Kitaham area is apparently severe. Apart from certain areas the water is receding. Route 45 is underwater and impassable. In Tagajo, the 45 is also closed from the City Office onward.”
    • Shiogama: “FC2 site with a focus on Tagajo, Shiogama and Shichigahama. Twitter continues to appear to be among the best web resources for information at this stage.
    • Shiogama: “links to info on shiogama (japanese):”
    • Shiogama and Shichigahama: “I’ve emailed a former colleague Sachie Takanami whose family lives there, but I don’t expect to hear back any time soon.” “Just saw video from Tagajo/Shiogama on the news- there are some oil fires and tons of water damage. The place looks like a wreck. To this point, I’ve only heard definite word from one friend living in the Tagajo/Shichigahama area who works at the Kokusaimura and lives in Tagajo. He told me he was able to cross the bridge back to Tagajo to get home at least.” “I saw footage of some industrial complex in Tagajo burning. Awful stuff.” “I believe I know where that was- the industrial park area is luckily quite a bit separated from residential areas, closer to the harbor. The images of downtown Tagajo were more concerning to me, but I do find it heartening that at least one friend has gotten back to me. I’m hoping the phone lines are overloaded and people are just too busy trying to help one another get out of this mess.” ‘In Shichigahama, it seems a lot of homes in Shoubutahama, Matsugahama, Hanabuchihama and Yougai have been washed away or flooded. The water apparently made it as far as the fields beside Koyo-chu, hundreds of metres inland.” “People are staying in Ekiraku-shou and Matsugahama-shou. The higher areas like the Yakuba and Kokusaimura are apparently ok” “


    • Arahama and Wakabayashi: “”Photo of people being rescued from Arahama-sho”“Arahama area and Wakabayashi ku is in a bad way. Anywhere near the coast is in bad shape. We just now made contact with people in Tagajo this afternoon some are safe some are awaiting rescue still. I haven’t seen anything specific on these schools”  “‎400 were rescued by helicopter from arahama sho. Sendai city homepage is updated at least daily (Japanese only):”
    • Sendai City website now being updated:“For those who read Japanese, sendai city home page has been updated at least daily with lots of info on rescues, evacuation centres, recorded damage to schools and other public buildings, utilities, etc.
    • Photos from Miyagi, including Shiogama, Sendai, Tagajo, Natori:
    • Kesennuma: “Ground SDF troops, meanwhile, rescued about 5,800 people in the Miyagi town of Kesennuma and its vicinity, the Defense Ministry said.” (Japan Times)
    • Onagawa and Ishinomaki: About 4,400 people remained isolated as of Saturday night in schools, hospitals and inns in the tsunami-swamped town of Onagawa and neighboring Ishinomaki, as well as at the Onagawa nuclear plant where they had been evacuated to, officials in Miyagi Prefecture said.” (Japan Times)
    • Higashimatsushima: “In Miyagi, about 200 more bodies were found in the city of Higashimatsushima, the National Police Agency said.” (Japan Times)
    • Itsutsubashi: “I’ve got power and water and food in Istustubashi.”
    • Kurihara City: “If anyone has any information about Kurihara City, I’d like to know. I can’t reach my relatives in Wakayanagi.”
    • Sendai: “Want to make a point here for everyone: western media are greatly sensationalizing this story. Yes, entire areas are devastated but I saw a newspaper story this morning that claimed the city of Sendai had been “annihilated”, this is not the case as damage in the city center and other residential areas is mostly minor (broken windows, cracked sidewalks, collapsed tiles, etc.). The threat at the nuclear plants in Fukushima also appears exaggerated as Japanese TV is reporting the situation much less dramatically than western outlets. Please don’t panic or let others panic unreasonably.”
    • “we know there is a relief centre here – Ono Elementary School Name: Ono Elementary School Address: 39 Cross Street behind Ono City, Miyagi Matsushima Azuma. Hopefully that is where scott, amanda and co are. can a japanese speaker see if the school has a contact number? i understand it probably wont be working at the moment.”  “TEL(0225)87-2014 FAX(0225)87-2921”  Thank you so much for this. This was one of my old schools and if it’s being used as a relief center then it wasn’t hit by the tsunami. It looks like you ran the address though a translator, so it’s a bit off. Here’s the full adress: 〒981…-0303 宮城県東松島市小野字裏丁39番地 Miyagi-ken, Higashimatsushima-shi, Ono-aza, Uracho, 39 banchi. The phone and fax above are correct. If anyone makes contact with this school or any other in Higashimatsushima, please let me know.”
    • From Sendai Earthquake Family & Friends:  “UPDATE: Julian Crocker and Family, LOCATED, Kaori Konno’s Family, unknown, Sendai, The Sato’s, unknown, Kawamae, Hiroki Sato, unknown, Wakabayashi-Ku, Hiroki Suzuki, unknown, Toyosato, Daniel Ross, unknown, Kesennuma, Kayako Sakurai, unknown, Shiogama, Noriko Ujie, unknown, ??, Martin McKeown, unknown, Ishinomaki, Yuko Sasahara, LOCATED, Sendai, Abigail Bailey, LOCATED, Sendai?, 3 successes so far. Everyone keep spreading the contacts. We need contact”
    • “Julian Carl Crocker and family confirmed safe”
    • Shichigahama: “Small update on Shichigahama from TBS – fire still burning at the refinery, Oshiro and Matsugahama are evacuated. There was another tsunami warning a few hours ago and people had moved to high ground but it was a false alarm so they returned.”
    • 8:00am NY time – Shichigahama: “Latest from twitter on shichigahama – the bridge at Homac is ok, the bridge at Co-op is down. Phones and power are still out. Apparently the phone at the rekishishiryoukan (history museum) is the only one still working. They’re short on food and blankets.”
    • Nagamachi: “some news from a friend whose family home is based in Nagamachi: Apparently her folks are fine, but not the house.”
    • Shibata: “Only two people are reported as of dying in Shibata, both of whom were working on the baseball grounds at the time. If you get in touch with your friends, there is food and electricity for charging phones are the community center which is near funabasama elementary school.”
    • Kitakami: “Please help. A friend of mine has a friend working in Jet up North based at Kitakami and they haven’t heard from her. Her name is Sarah Cannavan from Aus. She was apparently working in Ishinamaki teaching yesterday. Any news?”
    • Kitakami: “They literally just had a reporter in Ishinomaki on TBS news. Apparently the water was as high as 3m in some parts of central Ishinomaki but is now down to 1m. There are about 1200 people sheltering in a school and are waiting for food and supplies but it seemed relatively calm.”
    • Rifu: “I do know that Rifu is quite hilly and has only a small bit of coastline so it was not nearly as badly hit by the tsunami as other coastal areas. Many people still have no way to make contact however.”
    • Natori: “Miyagi Nogyo is near the airport and was completely devastated. No word yet on survivors, the Natori Sapporo brewery is supposed to have collapsed but hard to confirm.” “I have RECEIVED an email from a close friend and neighbor who stated homes and businesses were damaged, but my friend and his family had time to get out. I have HEARD from a couple of sources now that the tsunami was not able to pass over the Sendai Toll Way. I have HEARD that many people are sheltered in Aeon Shopping (Diamond City), an Area JHS, and Natori-eki.”  “I have confirmation from a number of sources (via Mixi and e-mail) that the Gym, Bunka Kaikan and City Hall all were unaffected by the tsunami, and that only the older of the older buildings were damaged severely by earthquake.”
    • Nobiru: (aeriel photo with locations written in)  “It’s totally wrecked. I hope the videos I’ve seen indicate that people were able to get to high ground.”  “Have tried to contact David (the current ALT at Naruse Daini) but without success. No phone calls getting through to anyone along the coast.”
    • Wakabashi – “NHK news streams show Wakabayashi Ward Office and it seems in fine condition.”
    • 11:06pm (NY) March 12:  “Anyone have information on Martin Mckeown? he was living in Ishinomaki at the time.”
    • “I am looking for information on Dan or Daniel Ross. He lives in Kesennuma and does a good deal of translation work for Sendai City and the International Center. He was in the JET program in the early 90’s.”
    • Shichigahama: “Thanks for that, Pete. Just heard from someone about Chiba-san in Shichigahama, one of the head teachers for the BOE was caught up in the tsunami and separated from her daughter (the one who contacted my friend). She’s gotten reports that she was rescued, but they haven’t been reunited yet.”
    • Julian Carl Crocker, a British teacher, is missing. His wife Yukino, and little boys Leon and Shaun are also missing. If anyone can help, please contact me. They live in Aoyama Rifu-machi Miyagi-gun Miyagi-ken 981-0131″
    • Shiogama: “I’ve been reading lots of Twitter posts about Shiogama and Rifu. Seems lots of people are cut off and gathering at schools and shopping centers waiting for help. Also seems that phones are very slowly starting to come back on. Will keep reading for info.”
    • Shiogama: “The school is badly damaged, the wall of the gym has collapsed and the some walls in the school are broken too. If we have any large aftershocks the school may collapse. The kendo-room is fine so people are sheltering there. In Shoubutahama, Yogasakihama, Yogai, Hanabuchihama, Shiomidai Minami houses have been washed away and boats and cars are dotted around the land. No news on number missing and people are sheltering in cars. Cell phones are finally starting to come back online.”
    • Shiogama: “just received an email from Tomoko Wada, a JTE at Nanachu.”
    • Shiogama: “I’m looking for Kayoko Sakurai from Shiogama”
    • Shichigahama, Matsugahama, Oshiro, Tagajo: “The TBS reporter was just in Shichigahama. The fire at the Tagajo refinery is still burning and there is a risk of an explosion so they are encouraging all people in Matsugahama and Oshiro in Tagajo to evacuate.”
    • “We hear people on the news from Sendai, so there is some communication. We are waiting to hear from: Julian Crocker (Rifu) and his wife Yukino, and 2 boys Leon and Sean. Yuko Sasahara found and is OK as is her sister Miyuki. Kaori Konno still wants to hear from anyone in her family from Sendai. (Julian has been entered on to the Google People Finder site and Youtube video posted.) Abigail Bailey located and in contact.”
    • “If anyone knows anything about Higashi Matsushima Shi (Naruse-cho and Yamoto-cho joined in 2005), I am looking for anything. It is close to Matsushima and Ishinomaki. I lived there on JET as the first ALT in 1997-1998. I haven’t heard a peep from many close friends, teachers and students who still live on that coast and in Sendai.”
    • “Still waiting to hear news about Jacob Peterson. He is the current Interac ALT in Misato, but he lives in Wakuya. I spoke with his parents on the phone this morning – Worried sick, naturally.”
    • Taiwa, Ohira, and Yoshioka are ok!!”
    • Motoyoshi-cho area?
    • “Friends in fujigaoka area are doing okay, and even on the hard hit coastal areas there are nearly 5,000 people who got to safety in the major centers. Considering the population of all of natori including the inland regions is ~60k, that’s a sizeable chunk of the people on the coast, and there will be more who made it to their homes or who were out of the area at the time. The statistics are better than they seem from the destruction.”
    • Inai Junior High School? “Has anyone heard or know anything about a JET named Taylor Anderson, We believe she was teaching at Inai Junior High School, but we are not sure. Any info about that area would be greatly appreciated.”
    • Natori – “Natori gym now has over 200 bodies from the Natori & Iwanuma areas, and the number of missing/presumed dead is over 1800 and expected to rise.”
    • Yuriage – From the Facebook group “Foreigners from Miyagi” – “Those of you who know Yuriage, this is from the fly over walkway near the Lawson and the rice silos leading to the bridge over the Natori river. Size isn’t good, got it off a Japanese newspaper site.”
    • Minamisanriku, in Myagi Prefecture — some 9,500 people, half the town’s population, were unaccounted for, Kyodo reported.  The figure is more than half of the population of 17,000 in the town on the Pacific coast, they said.”
    • CNN: “Shirakawa, south of Sendai, rescuers dug through rubble with shovels to try to reach 13 neighbors trapped when the earth opened up and swallowed their homes.”
    • Miyagi JET Reunion Facebook page has a few posts on it, some of which are reflected in the info below.
    • Shiogama – According to a CIR JET alum who was in Shiogama: is saying that the coastguard units based in Shiogama might have been swept away, and listing dead and missing as over 1K as of right now. It’ll be light in Japan fairly soon, so we may get a better idea of how bad it all is from now on.”
    • “For people who want to know what’s going on in Shiogama, Miyagi: the tsunami reached as far as the station [presumably Hon-Shiogama? – RT]. In the Kitahama area, floors are flooded. Chiganodai is without electricity, but there doesn’t seem to be much damage to houses. This is from a source on the ground, so it’s likely accurate”.
    • “Several oil refineries are ablaze, including the Cosmo Oil facility in Shiogama, a suburb of Sendai, where a large explosion was reported.”
    • “According to an NHK official, Sabusawa-jima [of the Urato islands] has several tens of people stuck on high gro…und, having taken refuge in a temple on high ground. More than half of the island is apparently submerged. March 12, as of 10:31 a.m.”
    • “From what people are saying in Japanese on Twitter, keitai service in the area appears to be out, but a few sources are saying that there appears to be relatively little damage to buildings – though that’s compared to Natori, so what that actually means, I’m not sure.”
    • Oshima – off coast of Miyagi, 4 villages have been decimated according to NHK report
    • Yamamoto – NHK showed footage of people trapped on rooftops.  Self Defense Forces trying to get to people and helicopter lift them.
    • Onagawa – some photos posted to Twitter:
    • South Sendai – “I believe this is the bridge over the Hirose River in south Sendai where Leslie Zegalski used to live. Evidently the Tsunami drifted an entire house under it.”
    • A post from a Sendai JET on discussion board of “”:
    • Shiroishi – Via CNN:  [10:23 a.m. ET, 12:23 a.m. Tokyo] In Shiroishi, a town near the area hardest hit by the quake, two SH-60 helicopters from U.S. Naval Air Facility Atsugi delivered 1,500 pounds of rice and bread donated by people in Ebina, southeast of Tokyo, the U.S. 7th Fleet, said in a statement Saturday.

    Bridge over the Hirose River in south Sendai.

  • Iwate Prefecture
    • 7:48pm NY time March 13 – List of shelters and survivors in Iwate:
    • “List of names who evacuated to Morioka, from the coastal area.”
    • In Rikuzen-Takata City, Iwate Prefecture, about 100 students are still waiting to be rescued from a high school playing field.
    • More photos of Iwate and Miyagi: (might be some overlap.  I haven’t had time to review.)
    • Lots of photos of Miyagi and (further down) Iwate:
    • Ofunato: “A nursing home accommodating 30 elderly people was also washed away in the city of Ofunato.” (Japan Times)
    • Otsuchi: “It also has been unable to communicate with the mayor and officials in Otsuchi after the town office was swept away while the mayor and town officials were apparently inside the building.” (Japan Times)
    • 9:03 am NY time March 13 – Rikuzentakata: “In Iwate Prefecture, north of Miyagi, many bodies were found Sunday morning under the rubble in Rikuzentakata. About 5,000 houses in the city had been submerged by the tsunami, and the city office has confirmed that only 5,900 of its population of about 23,000 had taken shelter.” (Japan Times)
    • From the Iwate page on Facebook: “Iwate Prefecture Update: For those following the earthquake, I have finally received word from the Iwate International Association. The power has been out. Morioka was not hit as bad, but from reading the news, the worst of the damage was in southern Iwate along the coast.”
    • Ofunato – NHK showing damage, fires.  Also:  “Life video of Ofunato, Iwate – a warm, lovely coastal town that I was fortunate enough to frequent years ago – being completely washed away.”
    • Kamaishi, Iwate –
    • Rikuzentakata images from Iwate;_ylt=A2KJjahR7npNtAQAC6TQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTEwMGFvZTZwBHNlYwNpbWFnZQRjb2xvA3NwMgR2dGlkA1VTTkMxN18x?ei=UTF-8&p=Iwate%2C+Rikuzentakata&fr=news-us-sshow&section=photo
    • 67 dead so far. (7:23pm March 12), 130 missing.
    • JET alums looking for info on their former towns, “particularly the Ichinoseki, Ohshu and Kitakami,” and also “up north, particularly Ninohe-shi or Morioka.”  “Also looking for information out of the Kitakami area. My brother, a JET alumn, still loves over there and we’ve yet to hear from him.”  “Ditto on Iwate — especially Morioka-shi. I have heard from a non-JET ALT in Tamayamathat his apartment shook terribly and things flew off the walls, but he is okay. He is without power. Likewise for another ALT downtown — she has texted family, but is without power.”
      • From a Japanese friend living in the U.S. who is from Iwate:  “My family are all fine. Home is too badly damaged to stay, but they say still lucky to be alive, hundreds of people dying and missing. And the earthquake is still going on. If you are trying to reach someone in the affected areas, they have no electricity. You have to try their cell phones which still have battery.”
      • Update from same friend:  “I have talked to my sister and parents. they are trying to keep themselves warm without electricity, food is available as long as they line up.”
  • Aomori Prefecture:
    • JETs accounted for. Apparently all JETs in Aomori have been accounted for except for one.  (8:38 pm NY time Sunday March 13)
    • From the Aomori JET Alums Facebook group: “As you are aware the recent earthquake has potentially affected many New Zealand JETS particularly those in the Miyagi, Fukushima, Iwate and Aomori regions. If you have any infromation on JETS in these areas please forward details to Mr. Ato. (”
    • “In case anyone was inquiring, a friend of mine from Takko-machi (nanbu side of Aomori just east of Lake Towada) wrote me early this morning:  “We are ok,but dont have electricity,no telephone.still shaking,its been 4hrs…”  I know it’s not really much, but at least they seem to be ok. I’m asking her for more information, but thought I’d send that on. They’re pretty close to Hachinohe, though, and things are definitely not good over there.
  • Ibaraki Prefecture
    • Ishioka: “Looking for Atsushi Kinoshita, in Ishioka, Ibaraki Prefecture. How badly was this area damaged?”
    • 3:21 pm March 13 – “Hitachi, the city I used to live in, and other areas in Ibaraki have not been mentioned in the media. Though there is less damage there compared to Miyagi, there has not been any food or water supplied.”  “Many people have posted to twitter & have contacted TV stations to ask for help, but to no avail. There was even a post that the price of gasoline in Hitachi rose rapidly and costs are now about $13/litter. If it’s not too much to ask, please spread the word so other areas receive the aid they need. Thanks so much!”
    • “There’s confirmed casualties in Ibaraki, although unsure how many. Oarai was hit. Joban expressway near Mito is pretty torn up. Hitachinaka hit pretty hard — there’s a picture of cars ready to be shipped out completely tossed about, and that’s in Hitachinaka.”

Note: NHK (which I’m watching/listening to via CNN with English interpreter) is reporting the number of dead and missing by prefecture and town.  I haven’t been able to get the names and numbers down.

And also on places that seem to be doing ok:

  • Ishikawa prefecture is fine! We felt the trembling but there was no damage in this area. – Sophie Bocklandt (CIR Kanazawa city hall, 2006-present)


General News

  • – This blog is a good source of general info in English, especially about what’s going on in Tokyo and elsewhere
  • Sunday March 13 (8:57 am NY time):  via Japan Times – “more than 2,000 people had been reported dead or unaccounted for, police said, while the official death toll topped 800. In Fukushima Prefecture alone, 1,167 people were missing and well over 600 bodies had been found in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures.”
  • ABC News piece includes mention of Sendai JET Aaron Strumwasser who managed to get in touch with his family thanks to Facebook.

Via incoming AJET Chair Matthew Cook (Osaka) twitter feed (3:20 pm NY time):

  • Reports from Evac facilities coming in..No more batteries or electy…no food for infants, only diapers!!
  • Japanese on TV:”I climbed 3 meters up a tree, thought I was safe. Wave carried me AND tree hundreds of meters!”
  • Another quake in Nagano and Chiba: 3.0
  • Fukui ALTs raised ¥129,830 for tsunami relief in ONE night. Here’s hoping ALTs in other prefectures will continue the good work!!
  • In Fukumshima:800 people in elem school evac center 1 riceball per TWO people!Govt is making them drink iodine for Radiation!
  • To Everyone in Kansai: Please don’t use unnecessary Electricity! It is now diverted to Kanto for Earthquake relief!
  • 5:24 in the morning here, been mailing and sending info all night…got to try to get some sleep..try to rest well Japan!




11 comments so far...

  • Dan Siercks Said on March 11th, 2011 at 12:43 pm:

    Also looking for information out of the Kitakami area. My brother, a JET alumn, still loves over there and we’ve yet to hear from him.

  • Dan Siercks Said on March 11th, 2011 at 12:49 pm:

    Lives/Loves. Sorry. One of those mornings.

  • Ashley Said on March 11th, 2011 at 7:52 pm:

    Shizuoka-ken is fine as well – we felt trembling around the prefecture but was fine. There were tsunami warnings issued far in advance so people could evacuate and so far it seems there hasn’t been much in the way of damage involving that. Will update if changes.

  • Jason Porath Said on March 11th, 2011 at 8:19 pm:

    There’s confirmed casualties in Ibaraki, although unsure how many. Oarai was hit. Joban expressway near Mito is pretty torn up. Hitachinaka hit pretty hard — there’s a picture of cars ready to be shipped out completely tossed about, and that’s in Hitachinaka.

  • Ashley Said on March 11th, 2011 at 9:20 pm:

    Any wid from Kanagawa? Kamakura especially.

  • Genni Myles Said on March 11th, 2011 at 9:43 pm:

    Does anyone know the status of Minami-Matsushima shi (used to be Yamoto and Naruse-cho) or Monou-cho a bit inland? Looking for friends, teachers and families and can’t get in touch with anyone.

  • Erin Nelson Said on March 11th, 2011 at 9:50 pm:

    I’ve heard from two more non-JET ALTs in Morioka City and they are fine. Colleagues there are also fine. No power, but so far, everyone I’ve heard from is okay.

  • Lisa Hendricks Said on March 11th, 2011 at 10:38 pm:

    Any information about how much damage in Oarai, Japan? If people are evacuating from Oarai, where are they going, what town? I have several JET friends there and family.

  • Bob Said on March 11th, 2011 at 11:14 pm:

    If anyone has news about Kitakami please share.

  • NHK News Live Streaming Online - FlyerTalk Forums Said on March 12th, 2011 at 3:09 am:

    […] […]

  • L Takahashi Said on March 13th, 2011 at 3:03 am:

    I can’t thank you enough for your conscientious efforts in keeping this page updated. As a non Japanese reader with Japanese family in Shiogama it has been heartbreaking and very frustrating to not be able to pick out any information about this small town. the info posted here almost sums up the entirety of what I know. I’m very grateful.

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