Local News

Mar 17, 2011 2:26 AM by Ariel Wesler

Local couple looking to get out of Japan

Over the weekend, we told you about a Central Coast couple that has lived in Japan for the last five years. Pennie Tovar and David Cochran shared their perspective on the earthquake. We caught up with Pennie today on her way to work to get an update.

"It's not a very healthy environment to be in. I just want to get away from here," said Pennie Tovar, who teaches English in Tokyo.

Tovar is looking to leave Tokyo as early as this weekend. It's a far cry from how she felt just days ago when we first spoke with her and her boyfriend, David, on Saturday.

"I feel safe here. I'm not worried or anything. I think my mom is more worried than I am," she said.

She says these days, it's hard for her to shop and the city is at a standstill while the country rations power.

"Transportation is all off. I don't know what's going on with the electricity," Tovar said. Lots of stores are closing because they have to because of rolling blackouts."

But when stores are open, they don't have much to offer. Tovar says people are hoarding food and supplies, preparing for the worst.

"I see that there's no bread in the stores, that there's no milk. There are long lines of cars at gas stations. The one gas station by my place is already sold out of gas," Tovar said.

She says the U.S. Embassy has been telling Americans to listen to what Japanese leaders are telling them. Despite supply shortages, she says most people are remaining calm.

"You wait your turn in line and you don't complain about it. You just do it because that's what everyone else is doing," she said.

In the meantime, Tovar isn't sure what she and her boyfriend will do next.

The couple teaches English in Japan. The earthquake obviously hits close to home for their families as well. They want to Penny and David to come back to the U.S., but the couple isn't sure if they'll leave Japan. Tovar says she might just travel to the south, where the cities are not as impacted by the disaster.


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