Former KGMB sportscaster shares first-hand about quake and tsunami

Ross Mihara
Ross Mihara

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

TOKYO (HawaiiNewsNow) - When a 9.0 earthquake devastated northeastern Japan a little over a week ago, Ross Mihara was at home in his Tokyo apartment.

"That was definitely the biggest shake I've ever experienced, and I've lived here for almost 17 years now," Mihara said. "It went on for three or four hours, just wave after wave of aftershocks. So, that was a bit disturbing."

Mihara was a sportscaster for KGMB until 1994, when he was hired by NHK in Japan to be a sumo announcer for the network.

Mihara said there have been concerns about the problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, but believed that the government may be getting a handle on the situation.

"From what the chief cabinet secretary said, the radiation levels there at the nuclear power plant went down a bit," said Mihara. "Not a whole lot, but down a bit, so that's a step in the right direction."

Mihara was aware of the fears about radiation traveling across the Pacific and possibly affecting Hawaii and the mainland. But he's not as concerned, even though he's in Tokyo, just 150 miles away from the reactors.

"I think all of this, from day one, has been a bit overblown," he said.

There are also concerns about the impact the quake and tsunami will have on tourism to Hawaii, especially since Golden Week -- a period when many Japanese go on holiday and travel to Hawaii -- is coming up at the end of April. He noted that most of the country has not been impacted by the disaster.

"You have people in Tokyo, you have people down south in Osaka, in Kyushu and Okinawa; I don't think their lives have been impacted at all by this earthquake and tsunami, so if they had plans to go to Hawaii during Golden Week, I don't see why they would want to cancel those right now," he said.

Mihara also tried to quell the fears of Hawaii residents who have friends and family in Japan.

"My only message to them is, stay positive, try to stay positive," Mihara said, "let's take it day by day, and we all will get through this. I guarantee it."

Mihara also said some of his friends have actually traveled to Hawaii since the earthquake, perhaps as a way to escape what's happening at home.

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