VANCOUVER A Vancouver, Washington, woman said she was able to speak to her son in Japan after the devastating quake Friday, despite limited communications.

Through the wonders of technology, said Laraine Graham, I was just able to speak to my son, Tristan, through Skype and his iPhone.

Her 24-year-old son is an assistant language teacher (ALT) in Sendai, Japan, and was spending the night in a gym with about 100 other people after the tsunami warnings were issued there.

The school where Tristan was teaching had just had graduation so there weren't many kids at the school when it happened, Graham said. Most of the kids were able to go home, but those that found no one home came back to the school and were helping out after the quake.

It went on for a long time, Tristan said about the quake. But fortunately no one was hurt at his school. He said reports indicated that tsunami waves had reached 10 meters.

Graham said people there were having trouble communicating with friends and family. Only the people with iPhones are able to get out information, she said. And everyone who has one is posting on friends Facebook walls as they hear things so families and friends know their loved ones are safe.

He sounded calm when I spoke with him, she added. He grabbed his laptop to use that battery to charge his phone but it was only at 50 percent so he had to turn it off. Tristan told his mother there was no electricity or regular cell phone service available.

There are other ALTs from all over the world in Sendai so they've been trying to get in touch with friends and let families know that people are ok as they hear something, Graham said. She added that Tristan had not been able to make it back to his apartment, so he did not know whether it was destroyed or not.

Tristan grew up in Vancouver and graduated from the University of Washington. He has been in Sendai for four years.

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