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Budget Travel reader reaches out from Japan

By Laura Buckley
updated February 21, 2017

Amidst the aftermath of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the northeast coast of Japan on Friday that triggered a massive tsunami, Budget Travel reader Julia Bahner found refuge in her hostel in Asakusa, Tokyo, where she reached out to us via Facebook:

mood is very somber, no one knows when we can get out, aftershocks are much worse than quake, i am supposed to fly back on monday, I don't see how that will be the case, i can't leave hostel so not sure how rest of tokyo is

What was supposed to be a four-day extension in Japan from a vacation in Sri Lanka where she was celebrating a friend's 40th birthday, has now turned into "a horrible experience." The aftershocks, she says, are possibly worse than the initial quake.

Bahner, a 38-year-old Seattle native, along with other travelers (many Australians and Europeans) some locals, and staff, are currently “stranded” in the crowded Quality Hostel K's House Tokyo Oasis, where no one is going out or coming in. The mood is unsurprisingly somber, as people are simply waiting—waiting for the state department to respond and get them home, waiting for a bed to sleep in, waiting for the aftershocks to stop, waiting for calm to reinstate itself. She says the staff has been amazing, and no one in the hostel has slept since the earthquake hit.

Luckily, Asakusa has not lost power, which is how Bahner was able to communicate with us. Power blackouts are affecting about 2 million residents around Tokyo alone, the government said.

Her request to the State Department has been unanswered as of press time.

American citizens in Japan or elsewhere who need information or assistance regarding the earthquake and tsunami can contact the State Department at JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov, or at 888/407-4747 from within the U.S. and Canada, or at 202/501-4444 from outside the country.

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