UNL Professor recounts earthquake in Japan

UNL Professor Carlos Asarta was in Tokyo for an economics conference when the earthquake struck.

It's the tallest structure in Tokyo and on Friday morning, it began shaking.  Asarta says at first , he thought it was just the wind.  It didn't take long for him to realize it was much worse.  “It was pretty scary.  At one point, I thought that was it.  I thought that I wasn't going to be able to make it.”

He caught the whole thing on tape.  He says with people screaming, the camera is what kept him calm.

Asarta didn't make it home until Sunday because despite the destruction and constant aftershocks, the conference he was there for went on.  He says, “Once that airplane took off, I felt an incredible amount of relief.  I actually slept for 10 consecutive hours in the airplane.”

He says the four day trip turned into what are likely the most memorable four days of his life.  Now he's happy to be back in Lincoln with a new perspective on life.  “I came home and I gave my kids big hugs, my wife a big hug.  You take some things for granted and it can just be taken away from you.”

Asarta is back in class.  Some students have asked about the trip, but he says they're there to learn about economics and that's what he focused on.