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Central Texans With Ties to Japan Calling Home, Following Massive Earthquake, Tsunami

Houses are in flames while the Natori river is flooded in Natori City. Miyagi Prefecture. Yasushi Kanno/The Yominuri Shimbun/AP image via

Central Texans with ties to Japan are closely watching the news and getting in touch with friends and family following the magnitude 8.9 earthquake and major tsunami that hit Japan's northeastern coast Friday. Etsuko Honda lives in Austin with her husband,who attends the University of Texas. Honda has contacted her family and says they are ok. She’s relieved they don’t live in the impacted area.

“They are just watching TV, they are stay calm, and they are so surprised on what’s going on, on the earthquake," said Honda. "My family lives in the Nagoya  area and it’s located between Tokyo and Osaka.”                  

While her family is ok, Honda said she is worried about a good college friend who may be living closer to the disaster area.

Tracy Dahlby is a professor at U-T’s School of Journalism.  His wife’s from Tokyo and he’s lived and worked there.  Dahlby’s wife called up her mother early this morning.  His mother in law said there wasn’t major damage at her building in Central Tokyo but she told Dahlby she felt the effects of the magnitude 8.9 earthquake that hit Japan’s northeastern coast. 

"She said it was a big jolt and went on for a long time," Dahlby told KUT. " She estimated a minute or more which when shaking it’s a long time.  She has a big chest of drawers and several of the drawers popped out."

Dahlby’s sister in-law, who also lives in the same building in Central Tokyo, said her television fell off its stand.