FORT WORTH -- Keiko Couch can still feel the shaking.
Couch, a local color and image consultant, was in Japan when last week's deadly earthquake and tsunami hit. She and a friend had just finished touring an old castle in Odawara, outside of Tokyo, when the ground started moving.
"You don't know if the whole world is shaking or whether it's just you," Couch said Tuesday, one day after being able to fly back to Texas. "You just think you are having some dizziness, but it feels as though the whole world is shaking.
"It was very scary."
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Couch was worried she wouldn't be able to return that night to Tokyo, where she had conducted several color and image workshops, because all of the trains had stopped.
She waited with hundreds of others who were also stranded, and they were eventually taken to a makeshift shelter in a school gym to stay the night and were given blankets and crackers.
Couch heard a rumor that the last bullet train of the night, taking people to Tokyo, might be running. Taking a chance, she went to the train station before midnight and was able to catch the train. She got back to Tokyo about 1 a.m. Saturday to find traffic gridlock, and it took her until 3 a.m. to make it back it her hotel room.
It seemed the shaking never stopped, with constant aftershocks rolling through until Couch -- whose original flight back to Texas on Sunday was canceled -- was finally able to fly out of the Narita International Airport on Monday.
Now that she is safely back in Fort Worth, watching scenes of the devastation in her homeland of Japan seems "almost surreal," Couch said. "I look at it but can still feel it, because I was there."
Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610