Gilroy’s sister city gets power back, deals with aftershocks

Map of Takko Machi 25 miles north of where the tsunami hit.

When a gargantuan 8.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan, Keiko
Sato was in a chamber of commerce meeting and had nowhere to
hide.

I was so scared; the building is so old,

she said. Even though Takko-Machi is a couple hundred miles
inland from the epicenter of the disaster site, Sato said her city
continues to experience aftershocks
– which were especially unsettling over the weekend since power
wasn’t up and running until Sunday morning.
When a gargantuan 8.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan at 2:46 p.m. Japan standard time March 11, Keiko Sato was in a chamber of commerce meeting and had nowhere to hide.

“I was so scared; the building is so old,” she said. “I thought the roof was going to fall down on me.”

She said the one table in the tatami-style room was too small and narrow.

“I couldn’t do anything. I was just holding the table. I was just watching outside, watching the electricity pole and the lines, and they were swinging and shaking,” she recounted over the phone Saturday.

Sato handles relations for the Garlic Center in Takko-Machi, one of Gilroy’s most active sister cities. She’s visited the Garlic Capital more than 30 times and wanted to thank Gilroy residents for their “warm” thoughts and prayers.

Even though Takko-Machi is a couple hundred miles inland from the epicenter of the disaster site, Sato said her city continues to experience aftershocks – which were especially unsettling over the weekend since power wasn’t up and running until Sunday morning.

“We can still feel it even though we’re inland,” she said. “When we did not have power, the whole town was so quiet and when the aftershocks came, the houses make noises, and it’s scared us a lot,” she wrote in an e-mail Sunday.

Sato said she has friends in Minami-sanrikucho and Fukushima city.

Minami-sanrikucho had about 17,000 people, and more than half of them are missing or feared dead, according to some reports. Fukushima, the site of a nuclear power plant quake-induced explosion, has also been riddled with disaster.

“I could not (get a) hold of them yet. I am so worried about them. I’m just praying for them,” she wrote.

For a Takko-Machi update on Facebook, click here. To read how Friday’s tsunami scare affected Gilroy, click here.

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