Pacific student shares impressions from Japan

Leilani Powers '13

March 9, 2012

Leilani Powers '13 is studying abroad in Japan, where much of her family lives. She shares her impressions of the recovery a year after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

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Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of the massive earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan last spring. For some of in the States, the disaster may have faded from memory. For those in the island country, though, the recovery isn’t over.

Writer Wanda Laukkanen talked to several students, alumni and friends of the University for a piece on the recovery effort in the fall issue of Pacific magazine. Today, she follows up with Leilani Powers ’13, a Japanese-American who spent hours after the disaster trying to reach her mother in Japan (see how Portland TV station KATU told her story) and who is now studying abroad in Tokyo.

Leilani shared long emails about her impressions and experiences—from her own fear of quakes, based in her childhood experiences in Hawai’i, to the decimation many families are still experiencing, to the industrious efforts of a country to survive and move forward from tragedy.

“There are still places where broken families (missing mothers and siblings) have to rummage through debris to collect firewood to heat their houses at night, houses that may not be theirs or may not be whole,” she writes.

At the same time, she sees a Japan that is again moving, with day-to-day business proceeding, transportation running, restaurants and sporting events offering entertainment and families celebrating together.

Read the full story here.

Do you have friends, family or other personal connections to Japan? We’d love to hear your stories a year after the tragedy.