Central Leader : March 16th 2011
3 CENTRAL LEADER, MARCH 16, 2011 NEWS Quake hits home for Rina Shattered: Tokyo shaking is something Rina Joll is used to but when last Friday rattled around it took her hours to realise the scale of destruction. Photo: JASON OXENHAM By HANNAH SPYKSMA and KELSEY FLETCHER ' I just can't believe the earthquake and tsunami happened -- it's surreal, like a movie. ' Rina Joll RINA Joll is having trouble comprehending how so much of her home country has been destroyed after the massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan last Friday. I just can't believe the earthquake and tsunami happened -- it's surreal, like a movie,'' she says. I managed to get hold of my mum two hours after I heard what was going on and she told me she felt seasick because the shaking just kept going.'' Her mother is assistant to the New Zealand ambassador in Japan. Rina and her younger brother grew up in downtown Tokyo. The 21-year-old moved to New Zealand earlier this year to learn more about her Kiwi heritage but never imagined she would feel so far from home. The Christchurch earth- quake happened and every- body from home worried about me because I am in New Zealand. But now it is the opposite, I'm so worried about all of my friends.'' Fortunately her family, from Tokyo and Shizuoka, are all safe after the 8.9-magnitude quake and huge tsunami that destroyed the north-east coast. But some friends haven't been so lucky. On Saturday, Auckland University students living at Huia Residence in Grafton gathered around the tele- vision watching the horror unfold. Rina says one Japanese friend was only able to call his mother who was trapped on a bus when they briefly talked. The friend is from one of the areas most devastated by the 10-metre-high tsunami, Miyagi, and he hasn't been able to contact any other friends or family. He presumes they are among the thousands who were killed. In a recent Skype call to another friend, the ground started shaking in Tokyo as they chatted away. I've felt a few shakes while living in Tokyo and I've always been so scared,'' Rina says. But before when I was talking with my friend, another aftershock happened and she wasn't fazed, they've been going on so long now,'' she says. One of the things that has made the reality of being so far from home okay for Rina is having the internet. While phone lines have been down, communication via Skype, email, text and Twitter has eased the worry. In an act of solidarity, she decided to go Japan Day at the ASB Showgrounds on Sunday. The annual day went ahead as planned, but with an air of sorrow as news con- tinued to flood in. Japanese Society of Auck- land chairman Masa Sekik- awa says the numbers of visitors they had expected at the event was lower com- pared with last year. The society decided it would be best to hold Japan Day to honour its people. During the event, tele- visions screened news as it broke and speakers blared radio bulletins. Mr Sekikawa says this was good for many of the Japanese people living in Auckland like homestays or people on working holidays. The Japanese people who don't have pay television could come in and watch the news. Many hadn't seen the images, they had just heard news so it was good for them.'' He says Japan Day had a good feeling from both Japanese and Kiwi visitors. The feeling was joint together between the Kiwis and the Japanese because of the two earthquakes.'' Mr Sekikawa has friends and family in Sendai, one of the worst-hit cities. I got in touch with them over the phone, but it took a while to get through. They are safe though,'' he says. A team of 15 Urban Search and Rescue staff from Auck- land left for Japan on Monday to help with relief efforts. Auckland central fire district chief fire officer Brian Edwards says the 15 are part of a 42-man team, pulled together from Christchurch, around the North Island and Auckland. Mr Edwards was at Auckland airport on Monday morning to see staff off. He says the USAR teams which left include Fire Ser- vice and St John personnel. Some of our advanced party left over the weekend and on arrival they will make arrangements for the further crews which are on their way.'' Open invite to Brain Day Auckland University's centre for brain research will hold its annual Brain Day on March 19 in the Owen G Glenn building. The public is invited to come along to the free day which aims to raise awareness of brain research and disease through public lectures, hands-on activities, re- search and workshops. Brain Day will be pres- ented in association with the Neurological Foun- dation of New Zealand. A full programme of Brain Day events is available at www.cbr. auckland.ac.nz.
March 11th 2011
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