Walla Wallans Robert and Linnea Keatts have visited our sister city in Japan a number of times over the years and have been concerned about the welfare of all Japanese citizens, including the people they've befriended in Sasayama.
They have been receiving e-mails from some of them following the 8.9 earthquake and resulting tsunami on March 11 that wreaked havoc on the east side of Japan.
Their friend Noriyuki Ashida resides in Sasayama, Hyogo Prefecture. An ESL teacher from Homei High School, Noriyuki is working on special assignment in Kobe, according to Robert, chairman of the Walla Walla-Sasayama Sister City Affiliation Committee.
Noriyuki has come to Walla Walla as a chaperone with high school students on three occasions.
In his message, he apprised Robert on Saturday to his situation.
Since Hyogo Prefecture is on Japan's West side, they didn't experience the damage like those in Eastern Japan. He said they were surprised to have such an awful disaster and the TV channels are broadcasting lots of reports of the earthquake.
"We're lucky that atomic powers are not seriously damaged, though some are forced to stop in the East Japan."
He's also concerned that the price of gas and electricity will soar so they will indirectly be affected by the earthquake and flooding.
Noriyuki estimated that "It will take at least 10 years to recover all the functions in the areas destroyed by the earthquake."
Robert also heard from exchange students near Gifu, Japan, which is to the west of the earthquake area and they are OK.
When I Googled Japan tsunami, I found a Japanese person finder.
It's at japan.person-finder.appspot.com/?lang=en.
Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at email@example.com or afternoons at 526-8313.