Kathryn Ebert is flanked by Japanese hosts Manami on the left and Nozomi. Kathryn is holding the Japanese character for 'friend.'

Japanese disaster felt deeply by local family

Sister city exchange students' trip cancelled

Struggling to hold back tears, Donna Ebert just had to relate how she is connected with the devastation in Natori, Sooke’s sister city in Japan and one of the cities wiped out by the earthquake and resulting tsunami.

 

“Haruka is feeling very sad. A day before earthquake we went shopping for Canada trip. At that time, she was very happy and really looked forward this trip.”

 

Those are the words on an email coming from a Japanese family in Natori.

Haruka Kikuchi was to come to Sooke for an exchange visit and would have been staying with the Ebert family. Not now. Further emails say how their home was safe as their house is high on a hill. Their house may be safe but the husband’s family is among the missing and he is in the military so is being kept busy dealing with the aftermath of destruction. They are without water and gas. The sewage system was destroyed and they are very much concerned with radiation as their home is 100 kms from the nuclear plants. The emails are short with not too much detail, just enough to let the Eberts know the basic circumstances.

The school 13-year-old Kathryn Ebert attended last year in Natori is still standing although fires burn all around it. Students in Japan are very respectful of education and their schools. She said the students in Natoria clean up their own school out of respect and pride. The school is now being used for shelter.

Kathryn went on an exchange trip last year through Journey Middle School and was very much looking forward to Haruka’s visit.

“She was going to come on March 29,” said an emotional Donna Ebert, Kathryn’s mother.

Donna and the family have been in contact with the Kikuchi family and realized the trip would be cancelled. She is understandably upset, but what is more unsettling to her is the loss of contact with the host family Kathryn stayed with last year. They had not heard a thing from them for some time, but now have.

“My daughter loved that the people of Japan are very outgoing, very good to them and helpful. The other family went out of their way,” said Donna.

“You have already know I’m not going to go to Canada. I’m very sad. But I will visit to Canada someday.

See you.

Haruka.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

View Royal Coun. John Rogers stands next to an unearthed home heating oil tank. As a way to prevent environmental disasters, he is lobbying for a provincial registration system and mandatory inspection for all above-ground tanks, as well as a requirement to remove any underground tanks not used for a prescribed period of time. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Efforts to regulate Greater Victoria home heating oil tanks continues

View Royal councillor part of movement to identify old tanks, prevent catastrophic leaks

Bruce McLean, 91, has published his first novel, The Manana Treehouse, which is inspired by his wife’s experience with Alzheimer’s. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
91-year-old Saanich man publishes first novel based on wife’s Alzheimer’s experience

Former journalist Bruce McLean ‘on cloud nine’ after making fiction debut

Residents enjoy the annual Halloween Trick or Treat on Oak Bay Avenue. (Robert Harwood Photo)
Oak Bay to host series of Winter Markets

No Halloween, Christmas events in Oak Bay Village

A new roundabout has been completed at the intersection of Peatt Road, Brock Avenue and Larkhall Road in Langford. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
New roundabout along Peatt Road completed in Langford

Allows for better turning movements for Langford’s fire trucks, improved safety

The British Columbia flag flies at dusk in front of the B.C. legislature on election day 2020. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
NDP claims six out of seven Greater Victoria ridings after preliminary results

Mail-in ballots yet to be counted in provincial election

(Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay)
QUIZ: A celebration of colour

Fall in British Columbia is a time to enjoy a spectrum of vivid colours

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read