I do not have any relatives in Japan, and I’m grateful for that. No need to worry in that regard.
But I do have friends living in Japan, people I’ve met both in real life and online. I’m not sure if this qualifies as irony, but whereas the folks I know primarily through the internet I can more easily find through those channels (or at least try to), the people I met in real life first are the people I have less chance of contacting. Whether it’s through changing e-mail addresses or just lack of contact over time, I have people whom I would call friends who are probably in Japan right now and I have no idea if they’re okay or not, and I have no way of ever finding out. Part of me regrets my own lack of initiative to try and keep up with them in the first place.
It reminds me of the first time I ever ate udon and onigiri, at a small Japanese restaurant in the World Trade Center, back in about 1999 or so. The udon was amazing as far as I could tell with my limited experience, and the onigiri were $2 per ball and absolutely gigantic. I never really got to know the owners or anything, so when 9/11 hit I found myself wondering whether or not the people working there made it out okay. Of course, I have no way of ever knowing.
I do not have any amazingly close ties to Japan. I’m not going to lose much sleep over it. But I do hope my friends are okay.