Ottawa musicians safe after Japan quake
Two Ottawa musicians who are big in Japan are joining the cleanup in the disaster-ravaged country, despite living near the epicentre of the powerful earthquake that triggered a devastating tsunami and an ongoing nuclear crisis.
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Brothers Maynard and Blaise Plant — the Canuck half of the Canadian-Japanese pop-rock band Monkey Majik — are based in Sendai, about 300 kilometres northeast of Tokyo. It's the capital of Miyagi prefecture and was one of the area's hardest hit by the triple disaster.
The brothers — whose band has sold hundreds of thousands of albums in Japan — say they plan to help with the coastal cleanup.
It took almost a full day before they were able to make contact with each other after the March 11 quake. Once they did connect, Maynard made his way to his house in the mountainous outskirts of Sendai, where he found his wife and children waiting for him, unharmed. The house was badly damaged, though, and they only had food to last a couple of days.
"My wife actually went down to the community centre, she lined for about an hour or two, and all she got was a slice of bread," he said.
The death toll was rising and fears of radiation loomed, so Maynard decided to drive to Hachinohe, about 300 kilometres north, to stay with his wife's family. The lineups for fuel stretched more than five kilometres and it took more than nine hours to make the normally three-hour journey, he said.
Back in Canada, Gary Plant is relieved his sons are safe but he says he can't stop worrying.
"My wife especially is almost in a panic at times, because of the bad news coming out of there every day," he said.
Maynard doesn't know when it will be safe to return to Sendai, but he has no plans to leave Japan.
"I have everything I need," he said. "I have my family and my brother is here. And that's all that really counts to me."