Washington DC & Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festivals; Kumamoto Earthquake

April 20, 2016 Yoko Lewis

Hello everyone and a special greeting to everyone who came out to see us in Washington DC and Philadelphia's Cherry Blossom festivals over the weekend. The weather was perfect both days and we had a good weekend. We're always happy to meet our FB or website fans FTF, and we made new friends. Thanks again all!

As for the earthquake in Kumamoto: First of all, our deep thanks to all of you who reached out to us with your support. I was able to share your messages with my sister Fumi who, amazingly, with her iphone,never lost internet during the worst of earthquake.

But the news is not good unfortunately: Monday they had another quake of 4.9 very near to my sisters homes (close to my own home) and aftershocks continue. As of now we don't know how much more the houses will be able to sustain if this continues. Experts are now inspecting houses for whether or not they are safe to stay in. As for my family, my brother, two sisters and one of my married nieces are back in their houses (as of an hour ago). Another married niece and her family are still in the evacuation center too afraid to return while there are still aftershocks. Many people in Yamaga (where my sisters live) are sleeping in their cars and staying outside only dashing into their houses between aftershocks (almost 600 since Saturday). The anxiety level is through the roof and many places cannot be reached to get food and water.

We are extremely grateful that, unlike our surrounding neighbors, we lost no one and no one was injured. The broken windows, roofing, furniture and household items can be replaced or repaired, but at least we have everyone still with us and - for now -- our houses survived. The Japanese Seismologists say that the aftershocks will likely continue for at least a week.

Compared to the Ecuador earthquakes, Japan's damages are significantly less. I think it is notable that the building code in Japanese buildings built in the last 30 years, plus the very old buildings built in the old Japanese way (no metal nails and built to sway in earthquakes), handled a 7+ earthquake very well. However, the anxiety is up now as no one knows how sustained and repeated quakes over 4.5 will affect even the houses built tot he strict code. We are praying and waiting with bated breath.

We appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers and do pass them on to my sister, who marvels and is very appreciative as well. Thanks again to all. Yoko

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