Seattle's Japanese community tries making contact after quake

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by JOE FRYER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 11, 2011 at 6:14 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 11 at 7:58 PM

SEATTLE -- Japan's massive earthquake sparked fear and concern in Seattle as many struggled to reach friends and relatives affected by the disaster.
 
According to 2000 U.S. Census figures, 1.6 percent of Seattle's population is Japanese.
 
Yoko Angeli, who works at The North American Post, the region's oldest Japanese-American newspaper, could not reach relatives who live close to the quake's epicenter.
 
"I believe they are OK, but I'm still worried," she said Friday afternoon.
 
Patty Johnson's son, Aaron, lives in Tokyo with his wife, who is seven months pregnant.
 
"It's just worry, worry, worry," she said. "Is he OK?"
 
Johnson could not reach him until late Friday morning, when Aaron posted a status update on his Facebook page.
 
"I just got home -- 3:30 a.m.," the post said. "Tokyo is still a parking lot."
 
Aaron's wife was in a childbirth class at the hospital when the earthquake hit. She was forced to walk about three or four miles to get home, and then climb ten flights of stairs because the elevator was not working.
 
Still, Johnson was relieved to hear they were safe.
 
"Thank God for Facebook," she said.
 
Ben Erickson was still trying to reach some of his friends and former students Friday morning. He taught at nine different schools within 200 miles of the epicenter.
 
"It's just kind of a wait and see mode," Erickson said. "I hope their brothers and sisters and moms and dads are OK."
 
Koichiro Ikeda is a junior at University of Washington-Bothell. He was unable to reach his family Thursday night.
 
"I could not sleep," he said.
 
But he finally reached them Friday morning and learned they were safe. He wants to return home, but his family does not want him to return at the end of the academic quarter.

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