Japan tsunami: Expectant mum labours over 7-hour trek home (+ pics)

By Beck Vass

English teacher Jennifer Wadams Uzuki and husband Toru Uzuki, pictured here on their wedding day, had arduous journeys to be reunited. Photo / Supplied
English teacher Jennifer Wadams Uzuki and husband Toru Uzuki, pictured here on their wedding day, had arduous journeys to be reunited. Photo / Supplied

A heavily pregnant New Zealand woman living in Tokyo was forced to walk 25km to her home when public transport came to a standstill after the earthquake.

The arduous trip took Jennifer Wadams Uzuki, who is 8 months pregnant, about seven hours - the last 5km stressful and "at a snail's pace" because she began suffering from leg and pelvic pain.

Stopping at vending machines and convenience stores, she stocked up on drinks so she didn't dehydrate and go into early labour.

She stopped in office buildings when she needed a restroom.

When she took a wrong turn in darkness near the end of her journey, people offered her directions.

She considered stopping at friends' homes but feared she would divert from her route to find they weren't home.

So she thought it best to just keep heading home.

The trip would have been a lot less worrying if she had not left her cellphone at home. She was feeling guilty that her husband, Japanese national Toru Uzuki, would be worriedly calling but unable to reach her.

"Of all the days to have forgotten it I can't believe I picked that day."

So she stopped at payphones, most of which had long lines of people waiting, but every time she tried him the phone was engaged.

She attempted to get a bus but traffic was crawling, and she found the wait at the bus and taxi stops - some lines were 100-people long - more tiring than the walk.

"I probably could have flagged down a car at some point, told them I was pregnant and trying to get home, but the traffic was so bad I just felt it was better to keep walking.

"I knew I'd get home eventually if I did that. I've done a lot of hiking and trekking and even though it was a lot harder being this pregnant I felt I could make it."

She finally made it home at 10pm to find text and Facebook messages from her husband, who arrived home about 30 minutes later.


At the time of the earthquake, Mr Uzuki was at work in a different part of central Tokyo.

Not knowing what had happened to his wife, he borrowed a bicycle from friends and reached home after cycling 32km.

Mrs Wadams Uzuki was in a cafe in the city when the quake struck.

She said it started off small but escalated and she was forced to grab a table to stay standing.

Despite this, people reacted in a very calm way, emerging from buildings and starting to walk in the direction of home.

Some were wearing the helmets that many companies have supplied in case of disasters.

About 30 minutes later, as she was walking home, she watched buildings sway and fought to stay standing once again during an aftershock.

Mrs Wadams Uzuki said she had a hospital check-up the following morning and both she and her baby are fine.

The couple are monitoring the situation with the nuclear power plants in Fukushima and trying not to worry too much as they wait for their child to be born - hopefully not far from its due date of April 6.

- NZ Herald

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