Woodleaf man in Japan when earthquake hit

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 15, 2011

By Shavonne Potts
The parents of a Woodleaf man who is in Japan on a business trip are asking for prayers as their son travels in the damaged nation.
A 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami last week, sparking fires and causing ongoing devastation in its wake last week.
Chris Myers arrived in southern Japan last Wednesday in an area that hasn’t seen substantial damage. He was in Japan testing machinery for his company, Engineered Sintered Components Atsumi Tech in Troutman, where he is a process engineering manager.
He was at a train station near Chino in the Nagano area when the first quake hit.
“I assumed it was a train coming by at first but my colleague who is from Japan said he thought it was an earthquake,” Myers said via e-mail.
The tremor got worse, but not bad enough to knock anything over or cause any damage, he wrote.
Myers and his colleague were able to take a train to Nagoya and were supposed to move on to Osaka, but they were not able to get a train.
“They were literally pushing people in so the doors could close,” Myers said.
Luckily, another colleague who lived in Inazawa, (south of the Fukushima nuclear plant explosion) was able to find them a room there. The next day Myers and his colleague went back to Nagoya and took the train to Osaka.
“This far south it was really business as usual. No damage and everything running as normal,” he wrote.
Myers has been in regular contact with his parents, Gene and Susan, via e-mail and Facebook.
“It was by chance that he was there when it happened,” Myers’ father said.
Although Myers was not in a heavily damaged area, his parents ask the community for prayers for his safe return home. They submitted his name to their church, St. John’s Lutheran, for prayer requests.
“We as a family are appreciative of everybody’s concern,” Gene Myers said.
“He’s not been involved in any of the catastrophic areas,” Gene Myers said.
The southern part of Japan where Chris Myers is traveling is where many of the manufacturing companies are located, his father explained.
In the northern region, where it’s more rural, is where much of the damage has taken place, Gene Myers said.
There are some things Chris Myers has been able to observe firsthand, but because he doesn’t speak the language he is unable to understand many of the news programs, his father said.
“He’s been able to get information from us,” Gene Myers said.
All together Chris Myers will have made stops in Okayama, Hamamatsu and Shizuoka.
“I think Shizuoka had an earthquake last night here, so I’m not sure what my schedule will be at this point,” Gene Myers said.
A 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit near Shizuoka on Tuesday in Japan. Japan is more than 13 hours ahead of Salisbury.
There is no way to know what travel will be like for Chris Myers in the coming days.
Chris Myers has traveled because of his job to Japan before and other parts of the world, Gene Myers said.
His mother said he is scheduled to fly to the U.S. on Friday.
“We will be very glad when he gets home safely,” Susan said later.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.