Takako’s tears then joy

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Queenstown’s Takako Milburn relaxes after rare good news from her tsunami-battered hometown of Sendai, Japan – her family there are alive. 

Takako grew up in Sendai, which bore the brunt of a tsunami trigged by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake that’s left Japan reeling since last Friday. 

She spent an agonising weekend awaiting word from her parents, older sister and grandma – and finally spoke to her father on the phone about midday Monday. 

“I was crying all day Sunday,” a relieved Takako tells Mountain Scene while with sons Dan, 3, Noa, 1, and Kai, 4, in Queenstown Gardens this week. 

Her parents’ home was about 10km away from where the deadly tsunami waters finished up. Her parents are now hosting less-fortunate neighbours and elderly. 

“They’re so happy to be alive. They’re going to stay and help their neighbours.” 

Takako’s husband Mark Milburn says the family has since told Takako they’ve been advised to stay inside for three days as a precaution against radioactive leaks from stricken nuclear power plants. 

The Milburns have flown into Sendai Airport – wiped out by the tsunami – during visits in each of the past five years.

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