A year on, memories still haunt city expats | gurgaon | Hindustan Times
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A year on, memories still haunt city expats

gurgaon Updated: Mar 11, 2012 00:51 IST
Divya Sethi

A year after a double tragedy struck Japan, the people of the island nation working in the city recall the trauma that followed a devastating earthquake and an equally catastrophic tsunami.

The Japanese nationals staying and working in Gurgaon say they still get goosebumps while recalling the memories of March 11, 2011.

They narrate the harrowing tales of how they were not able to contact their friends and families and lived in constant fear of losing their dear ones.

Hiroyuki Nakagawa, 25, and Rikako Yoshida, 19, — on an apprenticeship with a travel agency in Gurgaon — were in Japan last year when the deadly magnitude-9 quake hit the country.

“I was with my grandparents while my family was at Tokyo Bay. My family was at the 10th floor and two floors of the building had already sunk in. I tried calling my parents but there was no mobile signal,” Rikako said.

“I managed to contact my family after 12 hours and only I know how I spent those 12 hours. Those were the most horrifying moments of my life,” she added.

She explains how in her country youngsters start living separately after turning 16-17.

“But this incident brought me closer to my parents. Now I understand what it means when you lose a dear one,” she said. On the other hand, Hiroyuki was staying in a hostel on a mountain when the quake struck. “I thought I was going to die,” he said.

Though Hiroyuki survived, he says the day has been imprinted in his memory ever since. “Nobody in my family had an idea whether I survived or not because there was no way to communicate with them,” he recalled.

It was only after a day that he was able to tweet his brother that he was alive. He was compelled to stay on in the hostel for three days.

“I had a friend living in Oofunato area of Japan, which was the worst affected. I was keeping my fingers crossed as I did not want to lose her.”

A number of Indians employed with Japanese companies like Maruti Suzuki and other automobile companies were also stuck in the island nation in the aftermath.

Saying thank you

The Japan government will hold ‘JAPAN NEXT — Quality Products Show — The 60th Anniversary of Japan-India Diplomatic Relations’ from March 16 to 18 at the Ambience Mall in Gurgaon.

The event is part of the JAPAN NEXT campaign, which aims to express gratitude to the world for support after the March 11 earthquake.