21 comments on “For the record, we here at Debito.org are all present and accounted for

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    Debito, safe here too.

    How about this for bizarre? The first quake struck as I was sleeping, and I bolted out of bed and got out of the building. When I returned, what did I find right where my head just was, after having fallen from the shelf above? A copy of your “Japanese Only”!

    Stop trying to throw books at me with your evil telekinesis, Debito! ^_^;;;

    — Ooh! Spooky! Maybe that’s a signal to get my new book! 😉 Glad you’re okay.

  • Thank goodness. I was worried when I saw it on the news. I am still worried about some friends of mine who haven’t gotten back to me yet. I hope all readers here are safe!

  • Russell Watson says:

    I was teaching a class in Tokyo when it hit. The irony was I had prepared a list of questions for discussion on natural disasters and extreme weather (from the bogglesworld teaching site) and was just talking about the little tremour we had last Wednesday when it began. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Luckily I took the decision to walk home. I arrived about three and a half hours later having figured out that I’d have still been huddled in a station doorway with thousands of others if I hadn’t.

    Hope everyone is OK.

  • Good to hear. All is well in western Tokyo (the burbs) as well.

    Just to kind of keep things on topic, did you catch the video of the session of the Upper House being disrupted by the quake? It shows the Ruling Party on the left, and the Opposing Parties on the right. When the shaking really started getting bad, the camera is focused on PM Kan trying to make sure if it would better to leave or stay. The camera than zooms out, and guess what, everyone on the left side (the Opposing Parties) had left. Their chairs were empty. I thought that spoke volumes. If anyone can find that video on the net, please post it.

  • I had to thank some people I connect with through Facebook from America who asked about me, since many people think I’m still in Japan. I’ve been in Pennsylvania for twelve weeks now. The Japanese government got me to safety a bit early . . .

  • The situation here in Fukushima is not good. I took a taxi from Yamagata to Fukushima this morning. The closer I got to Fukushima, the worse the damage. There is no running water here, and people are lining up everywhere for gas, food, water, you name it. I just renewed my earthquake insurance 2 weeks ago!!!

  • Seems the J gov is holding back info on the reactor. Hope that is only steam coming out. We need some unbiased investigation from other agencies on the plant.

    — The news on the reactors seems to be a bit more informative on CNN.

  • Perhaps I should not be complaining given the circumstances, but I wish that the major media would show more naturalized Japanese on the news instead of the many short-time foreigners they keep showing. With every foreigner I’ve seen its always been about “coming home” and “grabbing your passport and running”. Sorry if my complaints are not appropriate.

  • Jennie Timar says:

    What is the extent of damage and devastation in Kuji-shi, Iwate-ken? (one hour south of Hachinohe)? Also, Taneichi, Iwate-ken and Misawa, Iwate-ken. I cannot find anything on the news online about those towns. But Miyako and Hachinohe looked like they had been severely affected by the tsunami.

    I used to live in Japan (Kuji, Iwate-ken) a few years back. I’m helping the search for missing ALTs in the earthquake disaster area. I live in Los Angeles now.

    If you know this person or can help contact this person, I would greatly appreciate it.

    LOOKING FOR: Joseph Hinds. He is a Canadian ALT in Kuji and they have not heard from him.

    LOOKING FOR: Kevin and Gay Ann Kato (plus their two little kids). American couple living in Kuji-shi who work at the local junior college.

    LOOKING FOR: Masami Ito (or Ito Masami). Works at the Board of Education in Morioka last I heard (about five years ago). Japanese national who speaks fluent English. He was my mentor / supervisor and his email bounced back to me.

    Thank you and let me know if there is anything I can do to help here in Los Angeles.

    Stay safe


  • Sadly i fear one of the casualties of this (apart from the terrible human cost) is the truth.

    More spin and control to convey a “happy” and “ordered” life in Japan. Just makes those living in and around the zone less informed and prone to panic more.

    I get more news and updates from BBC..as they have reports on the ground there now too.

    Anyone near one of those Nuclear plants should run..and keep running. I read a report on their terrible lack of health and safety several years ago; some resulted in deaths. As always no real reporting and no accountability, same occuring year in year out. The sad fact of this “lack of accountability” is being seen live on TV now…all those corrupt managers and politicians, should be held to account. In any “normal” accountable country they would….is this the catalyst that finally wakes everyone up??

    Have you notcied that the houes washes away are those very same cheap crappy ones everyone is “forced” to buy. Yet the solid steel/concrete structure remain.

    The tsunami that hit Chile, seen here after their 8.8 quake:
    shows brick/concerte houses standing…..anything cheap and shoddy is washed away.

  • Jennie,

    I am not sure as to the accuracy of the info provided but Google’s People Finder for the Tohoku Earthquake lists a Joseph Hinds and mentions that “Someone has received information that this person is alive.” There is also a picture posted of the individual:


    A Kevin Kato that seems to match your description is also listed with the status of “Someone has received information that this person is alive.”

    In regards to Mr. Ito, it would be helpful if you could provide the Kanji used for his name as most listings for Japanese people are only shown in Japanese.

  • I am in Japan but my Japanese is not presently good enough to really get a handle on what the plans are. I know they are planning a rolling blackout in various areas but don’t really know anything apart from that.

    Could Debito act as a bit of an information gathering and distribution point?

  • GiantPanda says:

    I have been getting most of my information from Facebook updates from friends scattered around the country, but can I just say one thing. The behavior, resilience, decency and hope of the Japanese people in the face of this disaster is extraordinary. This may well prove to be Japan’s finest hour. In any other country we may have seen panic, looting, violence, displays of frustration, but in Japan they wait in the longest queues with no question, and accept whatever happens with a quiet forbearance and the knowledge that others have it far, far worse. I have had my share of complaints about this country, but one thing is proven to me now, that it is my HOME, and I love this country. No matter what passport I hold, there will always be a part of me that is proudly Japanese. And when this country gets back on its feet I will be cheering wildly from the sidelines.

  • Nick Wagner says:

    Also curious about Kevin & Gay Ann Kato … I taught at Allen Int’l Jr College in the mid-90s. Also wondering about Kyo Yahaba of the College …

  • David,
    am glad you are ok as is your wife. Havent seen you since 1982. remember we had ceramics and other art classes together. has been a very long time. Am praying for you and your loved ones over there as well as the rest of Japan. my heart goes out to those lost also. pray that help comes soon and maybe one day will hear from you when things calm down. I have a facebook also. take care and God Bless!
    your friend,
    Laurie Pane
    Geneva, New York

  • @Nick Wagner…

    A New Zealand ALT was stranded at her city hall until her American boyfriend from Kuji (who went to my university in Indiana) walked through the rubble from Kuji to Noda for 20 hours to save his girlfriend. He found her cutting up tablecloths to cover the dead bodies. Both them and 5 other ALTs are being housed at a local friend’s office for the time being.

    As for Kevin and Gay Ann and their two kids:

    Kevin’s sister-in-law sent me an email yesterday and said:

    “Thanks Jennie! We actually were able to talk to Kevin on the phone yesterday evening. They are well. He had just gone grocery shopping just before the tsunami hit, so they have food and water for now and were high enough not to have any damage. My husband Gordon is Kevin’s older brother and was extremely worried because we had read one report that the entire town was wiped out.

    Kevin did not seem to think that there was that much damage. but I don’t think he had gone out of his house yet (it was early morning their time) and he had just got power on when we called.”

  • Nick Wagner says:

    @Jennie …

    Thank You for your note re Kevin. Can You ask Kevin’s sister-in-law about Gay Ann and the children along with Kyo Yahaba and his family?


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