March 11, 2011 by Julie Montanaro
As the death toll in Japan continues to rise in the wake of a record-setting earthquake and tsunami, families in our area are still trying desperately to reach loved ones there.
Many have spent the day watching tv and worrying.
Masa Nagashima is usually focused on the lunch rush at Azu, but today he just can't keep his eyes off the tv.
"It's so hard to believe, yeah, so many cars, so many houses and still that tsunami coming," Nagashima said, "I was very surprised."
Nagashima has family near Tokyo ... a city which felt that record quake and is less than 200 miles from where that tsunami rushed ashore.
"I have a younger sister and two younger brothers still in Japan, near Tokyo."
Have you been able to reach them?
"This morning I tried, but, you know, telephone wouldn't reach," Nagashima said.
Tadako Knight has been on the phone all day. She was one of the lucky ones who managed to reach her brother to the south and a friend to the north of the devastation.
"As soon as she picked up my telephone, she said, Tadako, she didn't even say hello, nothing, she was so excited from the tsunami," Knight said.
Her friend's dishes crashed to the floor, her brother is preparing for high water and her her neice is reportedly watching fires burn near Tokyo.
"I feel ... oh ... I don't know how to express my feeling. Automatically I pray to God for their safety," Knight said.
Both Knight and Nagahsima said earthquakes are common in Japan, but this one is different.
We have already received several calls from people inquiring about tsunami relief efforts and benefits. We'll let you know when we get word of any firm plans.