29 years ago, Yuakri Fujimoto was planning her move to the U.S. from her home country of Japan and then the Great Hanshin Earthquake hit. The shock caused her sister to go into early labor and injured her brother.

I know how bad earthquake was,” she said. “It changed their life.

Fujimoto’s trip was delayed for months, as all methods of transportation were shut down. She said her family traveled nearly half a day by foot to bring food and water to victims and that was just one way.

Now, as the owner of Japanese restaurant Ikkyu on the Northside of Tucson, she keeps in close contact with a friend two hours away from the earthquake destruction that began in the Noto peninsula on January 1.

“Its supposed to be family having fun, but that day, New Year’s Day, its sad, Fujimoto said. It’s one of the most celebrated times of year for Japanese people.

Her friend told her the shock of the earthquake made items fall off the shelves in her home, but everyone there is unharmed.

Others were not so lucky.

So far, at least 84 people have died and hundreds more are injured or missing. Those barricaded in by the damage are displaced with limited food, water and power.

“My friend organized an NPO [non-profit organization],” Fujimoto said. “She’s trying to go there, but the street…is destroyed,” adding that her friend’s in-laws are some of the people trapped in Noto, but okay for now.

Fujimoto saw her friend just five months ago when she was visiting Japan. They road-tripped to six different spots in the area where the earthquake hit hardest.

“We have memories there, but next time we go it’ll be different,” she said. “And I know its going to take a long time to get back.”

Fujimoto said each morning when she wakes up, she checks her phone for news updates or messages from her friend. Every day there’s no news is a good day.

During her time in Tucson, Fujimoto has become a pillar in the community, serving as the president of the Japanese Association of Tucson for the last 25 years.

The organization held a fundraiser for the victims of Japan’s last big natural disaster in 2011 the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami.

And now they’re working on another over a decade later.

Its a hard time for Japan, but its a hard time for us too, she said. We cannot be there, but we can try to do something to help for them…So, we just show we feel together.

The group is still working out the details for the event, but it will be held in the near future.