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Local Japanese-Americans praying for quake victims

March 12, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Japanese-American communities throughout the Southland remain concerned about loved ones caught in the Japan disasters. Many people are trying to contact relatives and raise money for the relief effort for the island nation.

Parishioners at the United Christian Methodist Church in West Los Angeles gathered Sunday morning and took part in a special prayer service geared toward the well-being of those caught in the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The Rev. Gary Oba said many members of his congregation have relatives and friends in the regions that were affected by the disasters.

"A lot of our members have relatives in the Tokyo region and they've been able to contact them, but we do have members who have relatives in the Sendai region, and they've had varying degrees of success," said Oba.

Many members of the congregation said that praying together and simply being in the company of each other gave them strength and sense of control in a seemingly uncontrollable disaster.

Oba added that a few were able to contact relatives in harder hit regions by way of social networking websites.

"A lot of people have expressed frustration at still not being able to contact relatives," he said.

Japanese-Americans are hoping to help victims of the disasters in any way they can. In the Little Osaka area of West Los Angeles, there are signs showing people how to help through organizations like the Red Cross.

Also, a musical fundraiser was held in Little Tokyo on Saturday to raise money for the victims.