Thousands Of Tri-State Japanese-Americans Wait And Pray

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Stunned by the ferocity of the massive earthquake and tsunami, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said New York City will help direct local donations to the victims in Japan.

The tsunami was spawned by an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and slammed the eastern coast of Japan on Friday, killing hundreds.

PHOTO GALLERY: Deadly Tsunami Hits Japan After 8.9 Quake

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports: Mayor Michael Bloomberg immediately offers help to the victims

Bloomberg said in his weekly radio appearance on Friday that people who want to donate should call 311 or go to the 311 Web site. The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City was collecting the funds.

Bloomberg described the deadly earthquake and aftermath as “sad news.”

He said probably even the biggest nuclear bomb can’t compare to the energy of a big earthquake.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall Reports: Japanese Students At Stonybrook University Trying To Contact Friends, Family

Japanese student Ayumi Kamo, 18, who is studying at Stonybrook University on Long Island told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall she received a text in the early morning hours about the huge earthquake and later learned her family was safe. But, Kamo is still awaiting word from friends who are in Tokyo.

“I was really worried about Tokyo because it’s like a big city and I don’t think they’re used to tsunami cause they’re just used to the city life,” said Kamo.

A sizeable community of Japanese-Americans in Port Washington have been glued to their television sets watching the devastation overseas.

“I watched Japanese TV about the tsunami near my husband’s hometown,” one woman said. “I don’t know what’s happening. I’m just waiting.”

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports: Japanese-Americans on L.I. use every means to get in touch with relatives

At Nara, a food store and gathering point for Japanese-Americans, manager Nobu Tominaga said people are in a panic trying to get a hold of loved ones.

“I’ve been calling my grandmother, my uncle, my friends for the last five hours and six hours,” Tominaga said. “I couldn’t get them, couldn’t reach them; so I don’t know what to do.”

One woman said she was able to reach her son in Tokyo using Skype.

A Japanese-American tells 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks that watching the buildings crumble in Japan reminded her of the 9/11 tragedy

“It was really scary and I was like ‘My grandparents and all my relatives are there,” said 11-year-old Colin Ozeki.

Ozeki and his mother Nina of Brooklyn were heartbroken both to see the footage of the tsunami’s aftermath. They couldn’t talk to family and have no idea if they are alright.

“I have no idea, until I can talk to mom and dad, I have no idea,” Nina said.

Kanai Tsutsumi couldn’t get in touch with her best friend. “I’ve been thinking of her like since in the morning till now. It’s a scary time,” she said.

Others know family is not in the devastated area but mourn the loss of life. “It’s such an advanced country and still, you know, one tidal wave can cause so much damage. It’s shocking actually.”

There are 45,000 thousand Japanese-Americans living in the New York area.

“I can’t get through. We tried the Internet, everything,” John Chriss told CBS 2’s Demetra Ganias.

CBS 2’s Demetra Ganias reports Japanese In America Are Still Trying To Reach Loved Ones

Chris was frantic because his 10-year-old son attends boarding school in Tokyo. The fate of the students was still unclear Friday.

“Four hundred kids and it hit just as school was in session,” Chriss said. “They were in their classrooms. That’s why everyone’s going nuts.”

John’s wife, Sachi, told Ganias the earthquake that struck Japan on Friday morning was the nightmare they’d dreaded.

“There was stories going around in that region that a large one was coming,” Sachi said.

They are one of dozens of families Ganias spoke with Friday in Manhattan’s Little Japan, worried sick about loved ones back home.

While watching the heartbreaking pictures on television, Yo Katsuse managed to reach his parents in Tokyo. They were fine.

“My mother was in the house, hiding under the table,” Katsuse said.

CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey Reports On The Devastating Earthquake, Then The Tsunami That Hit Japan

In the meantime, there remains deeper concern about villages closer to the epicenter, where infrastructure is less than ideal.  John Chriss’ in-laws are an hour north of Tokyo.

“The family stays in the prefecture hundreds of years,” He said. “They never leave. It’s a way of life. It hits, you lose everything. One shot, all eggs in one basket, it’s gone.”

The students at Keio Academy in Westchester County know exactly how the people in Little Japan feel.

“In the morning I woke up and my friends are like there was an earthquake … the big one,” student Takuma Ueno told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.

CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez Talks With Japanese Students Who Are Trying To Reach Family

“And I saw all these pictures of tsunamis and I was very, very shocked,” added Yuto Kamada. “I was just saying ‘oh my God, oh my God.’”

More than half of the 334 students at this Japanese boarding school in Purchase are from Japan.

Reyna Yamamoto, Ueno and Kamada have family in Tokyo living the nightmare first hand.

“Some of my friends were crying because of worry and they couldn’t have contact with their parents,” Yamamoto said.

Just a few hours after the quake hit, school officials acted quickly, not only helping students to reach their families but also providing counseling for students and staff.

“The counselors of the school took care of them — to make them calm down and make sure they can attend classes,” Headmaster Sumio Sukamora said.

With phone lines down in Japan, the students helplessly worried for hours. The Internet would later deliver good news.

“I tried to send emails and Facebook messages over the Internet and around like noontime my brother sent back an email saying they were alright. So I was very relieved,” one student said.

Others with family in the earthquake epicenter were still waiting Friday evening.

The hope now is that the worst is over.

Keio Academy is planning fundraising activities to send donations to the victims in Japan.

The American Red Cross announced inquiries concerning U.S. citizens living or traveling in Japan should be referred to the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 or 202 647-5225.

The Red Cross also suggests using the Google Person Finder:

To make a donation to the Red Cross click here.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (35)
  1. Sal says:

    Are the charities collecting money for Japan going to wait 15 years to distribute the money like the charities for 9/11 are doing?
    I’m never falling for that again, sorry.

  2. blazz says:

    Gee … those Japanese engineers are so expert at constructing earthqueake resistant structures … that they couldn’t have a diesel standby diesel generator on a flat bed truck. Have you ever been to a canival? Didn’t you ever see the diesel generators on a trailer?

  3. blazz says:

    You have to be nutz to contribute a penny to these people. It’s thier tree, they’re sitting in it. Would they come to out aid if the same catrosophe were to happen? Nah. Donate our monies to the national debt instead!

  4. blazz says:

    December 7, 1941. Payback is a beeotch.

  5. Chris says:

    Reality check.
    Our Major Bloomberg should take care of his own backyard because the financial distress that the City and its inhabitants are going through we owe it to him. Major Bloomberg and his bodies must fix the mess of our City instead to show of as the Generous Mayor who is giving away OUR MONEY through our own donations to other people in some other country.
    I am sorry for the Japanese people but Japan has way more money than us and I am sure that they don’t need our donations.

  6. Margaret says:

    Really Bloomberg; really? Donating money to Japan is great, but what about the 2100 teachers you are axing?

  7. kiki says:

    wow this is so big and very dangerous

  8. Willy says:

    What will happen to the Ninja’s?

  9. nathan says:

    Its not Haiti, Mike. Japan has the 3rd largest economy in the world. Do they really need my 10 bucks?

    1. abner says:

      Shove your ten bucks

      1. nathan says:

        Abner you don’t want it? Its more than your wife makes streetwalking.

  10. Ellen says:

    I pray for the people of Japan for what they are now going through. People Pearl Harbor happen more then 60 years ago. Most of the Japanese weren’t even born during WW2. Lets just pray that the world will come together to help out Japan.

  11. NYCEmployee says:

    no wonder why Japan want to invade around the globe, especially China, Taiwan, Korea, Hawaii. the knew their island is going to sink soon. that is why they want to move inland.

  12. chris says:

    how about donate for the 5000 teacher that is planning to laid off.
    Bloomberg is out of his mind

    1. Your Face-Palming Teacher says:

      How about you learn to spell?

    2. Your Face-plamed teacher says:

      Howzabout you learn how to form a proper sentence?

    3. OMFG says:

      If you happen to be a teacher, let’s hope you’re one of them.

  13. CBSGuest77 says:

    Oddly enough, that was my 11th comment on here.

  14. CBSGuest77 says:

    This earthquake happened on March 11, 2011 in Japan (3-11-11) just only six months shy of the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 (9-11) attacks. My heartfelt condolences go out to everyone who were affected by this terrible earthquake/tsunami in Japan.

    1. Get a friggin' life, you moron! says:

      Does everything in your world revolve around 9-11?

  15. RAA says:

    Gave my donations to Haiti and don’t know where it went-they seem to be almost in the same place when their tragedy struck. I refuse to donate anymore to these countries because the money never seems to reach those in need.

    1. Jeff says:

      FYI – Japan sent medical and rescue teams, as well as money to aid the earthquake in Haiti.

  16. Jeff says:

    Oh my God I can’t believe the hateful nature of these comments. “The Bataan Death March”? Are you kidding me? That was a very long time ago and those responsible are long dead. Let it go. Japan has been a wonderful friend to the US for generations and if they need our help we should give it to them. AND Ms. NYC – if you don’t have the ability to give money, that is understandable in this economy. However, your remarks are callous and cold and you should be ashamed.

    1. Mary Beth says:

      have they really been our friend? were they there helping us after 9/11? hurricane katrina? no bc all these countries only think of themselves. I feel terrible for Japan but Bloomberg should be focusing on helping NYC. It has nothing to do with Japan but the way Bloomberg is jumping at the chance to be noticed for doing something good (for another country)

      1. Jeff says:

        Mary Beth – After 9/11 and Katrina the Japanese Prime Minister made very supportive comments to this country. Japan plays host to several US military bases and has sent their self-defense force to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the US fight on terror. It is unlikely Japan will require financial assistance from the US as they recover from this earthquake just as we did not need their financial assistance to recover from Katrina or 9/11. All I am saying is if people in the US would like to extend a helping hand to people in Japan, I know it would be appreciated. I lived in Japan for 4 years in the 90s and the people are warm, welcoming and absolutely love Americans. Yes, Japan is a very good friend to the US.

    2. The Good Reverend Tuxton Sincere Jones says:

      Funny how Jeff can say, “That was a very long time ago and those responsible are long dead,” but God forbid anyone said that the we should get over the Halocaust, which happened at generally the same time as Pearl Harbor, or Slavery, which ended in America some seventy years before Pearl Harbor, and they would be labelled intolerant, a racist, an antisemite, or a biggot. The Jews and Blacks would go crazy.

      1. The Good Reverend Tuxton Sincere Jones says:

        Soon they’ll be saying 9/11 was “a very long time ago”!

  17. Mary Beth says:

    Agree with mrs nyc. Now is not the time to help other countries. We are still feeling the effects of hurricane katrina. Bloomberg if you want to help Japan dip into your pockets and give them your money!

  18. Mrs NYC says:

    sorry but why dont we have donations to help those of us who have been flooded out of our homes? We always help other countries but we never help our own. Hate to sound selfish but the reality is this economy can’t afford to help other countries! Does Bloomberg really think with the raise in gas prices New Yorkers are going to open up there pockets? Give me a break! Sorry but its hard enough to get by stop worrying about other countries and fix the one you live in! He is laying off teachers left and right but yes lets have donations to help Japan?! Bloomberg needs to get a clue!

  19. E says:

    May the LORD comfort Japan

  20. Lieutenantdan says:

    My father was a PEARL HARBOR survivor. My dad told me horrific stories of how
    our boys were treated by the Japanese.
    I hate to come off sounding cold but
    just Google
    What Was the Bataan Death March?

    1. Your conscience says:


      I’ll give u a dollar if you stop breathing..

  21. J says:

    This is not sad news everyone, this is Jehovah God letting everyone know that he is going to liberate mankind from not only Satan and his wicked angels, be from oppressive governments soon. Just look at all the earthquakes in recent years.

    1. Jesus says:


      You are beyond stupid. I can’t believe I created you. Ugh.

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