March 14, 2011
First New Zealand, now Japan. We spent Friday sorting out the safety of our students and friends in Japan. Here’s what Gary DeCoker, Director of Japan Study at Earlham and the hub of our many Japanese relationships wrote to the Faculty about noon on Friday:
“We just received confirmation from 2 of the 7 [Earlham] alumni who are teaching in the Morioka public schools that all 7 of them are in touch with each other and are safe. Yuki Hatakeyama, our program associate in Morioka, and her family also are safe. As I reported earlier today, the Japan Study Resident Director in Tokyo has been in touch with all of the students on the Japan Study program at Waseda. Our contacts report that life in Tokyo is fairly normal. Morioka is still without power in many locations and phone/internet communication remains disrupted.”
No doubt we will discover, as more news comes, that friends of Earlham are among the casualties. Morioka, in Iwate Prefecture, where we have a semester long program (but not this semester), and where we often send graduates to teach English, is inland, just 120 miles north of Sendai, in Miyagi Prefecture, where the earthquake and tsunami damage was centered.
Over decades, we have learned so much at Earlham from Japan, from its people, from its ways of life. We will need to find ways to be of assistance, even from this distance.