Native Japanese in Mississippi watch tsunami developments - - Jackson, MS

Native Japanese in Mississippi watch tsunami developments

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By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email | twitter

Lunch time is steady at Sakura Bana in Lefleur's Gallery in Jackson Friday. Some who work there are Japanese, some are not. But they're all keeping their eye on the news and the quickly changing developments in that country.

Takoshi Kimura stopped by to see a friend. He talked to WLBT News about the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit his homeland. A quake had rumbled off the northeast coast of Japan on Wednesday as well. He believes the country could have been better prepared.

"They didn't believe that kind of big earthquake, the alarm system expected a magnitude 7.5, actually it hit magnitude (8.9), 90 times bigger than they expected," Kimura says.

He and his wife Schiko Kimura have been in the United States for eight years. They work at Little Tokyo in Ridgeland, and that's where Schiko is able to watch Japanese satellite TV. Their families are several hundred miles inland, so they didn't get hurt.

"I watched TV two days ago on Wednesday night, small tsunami happened already," Schiko says. "For information I watched the TV show, to discuss with my husband. But after one day, so big earthquake."

Miwa also works at Little Tokyo. A student at Holmes Community College, she's been living in the states for five years. Her grandparents, who live close to the devastation, suffered structural damage to their home.

"Only people I could keep contact with is who has iPhone, because iPhone has applications like Skype, Viper... I could talk to them by chat or phone call," she says. "I'm shocked. I can't believe this happened in my country right now, and I'm here, living. When I heard the news, I had that moment (thinking) I lost my entire family."

But everyone in her family is OK, and Miwa has been able to make contact with her cousin. 

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