HORONOBE-CHO, HOKKAIDO, JAPAN–I am relieved to report that my friend and fellow Wooster Geology classmate Kaz Aoki and his family survived last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. Kaz, his wife Sachiko, their four daughters and their new son-in-law all are unscathed, considering themselves “very lucky”. Their previous hometown, Kamaishi-shi was severely damaged. They say a tsunami warning 30 minutes before the event saved many lives.
Kaz is working in crisis mode right now. He is a Principal Senior Scientist in the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) at the Geological Isolation Research and Development Directorate. We can only imagine the stress in the face of repeated failures in several nuclear power plants.
The Wooster Geology Department, all four faculty members, our Administrative Coordinator Patrice Reeder, and a group of students are leaving this morning for our field trip in the Mojave Desert. This blog will be filled with fun posts and colorful images, as it should be. We will not forget, though, the current travails of the Japanese people and our particular friends the Aoki family.