In the hours and days following this month’s Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Scott Schumaker and his wife, Yasue, stayed in contact via brief but urgent text messages, a line of communication Scott Schumaker worried would end when Yasue’s mobile phone battery died.
Since then, however, the Kapolei couple’s exchanges have evolved into a riveting and very public series of dispatches about the state of relief efforts in Sendai, Japan.
Yasue Schumaker, a concierge at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa, returned to her native Japan five weeks ago to care for her mother, who is hospitalized with a serious medical condition.
When the earthquake hit, she sent her husband a text message that said only, "Huge earthquake, I’m OK."
In the coming days the couple’s communication consisted of brief messages and a two-minute call, just enough for Yasue to communicate that she was safe despite food shortages and a serious disruption to public services.
For the last several days, however, the couple has taken to the Internet to chronicle their family’s experiences in the wake of the disaster.
The Schumakers’ "Sendai-Honolulu Journal" is accessible via the Honolulu Magazine website (www. honolulumagazine.com). Schumaker is president of PacificBasin Communications, which owns the magazine.
In recent posts, Yasue Schumaker has shared reports of 50-person-deep food lines, the sporadic return of bus and train service and increased security at her mother’s hospital.
The dispatches continue despite a noticeable drop-off in media coverage of the relief efforts.
"I think the Fukushima nuclear reactor and the attack on Libya, and the attention the media is giving these stories, is impairing the relief efforts somewhat," Scott Schumaker said. "They still need help. My wife says there doesn’t seem to be any aid being set up in the larger downtown areas. It’s mostly neighbors helping neighbors."
Schumaker said his wife was able to receive an aid package through her cousin’s company. She plans to remain in Japan to continue caring for her mother.