At first, Kuniko Yamamoto thought reports of nerve gas in her native city's subway system were a joke.
But she wasn't laughing as reports of the dead and injured made Monday's attack in Tokyo all too real.
"I used to work close to that place," the president of Kansas University's Japanese Student Assn. said today. "All my cousins live like two stations away."
Eight people died and more than 4,700 were treated in hospitals after lethal nerve gas spewed from packages in at least five subway cars on three train lines.
Police said the toxic agent was sarin, a nerve gas developed by the Nazis during World War II. The gas, even in small quantities, can be fatal.
Police were calling the incident a terrorist attack, unheard of in Japan, Yamamoto said.
"I can not believe this incident," said Lawrence resident and Japanese citizen Iwao Nozawa. "Recently, there are a lot of unbelievable incidents in Japan. First, there is big earthquake. We are wondering what (is) next."
Both Nozawa and Yamamoto said their families and friends were not hurt, as far as they knew.
No group has claimed responsibility. An intense investigation continued today.
Yamamoto, a senior majoring in sports medicine, said it was difficult being out of the country because news here was limited.
Spring break was working against the thirst for information. The Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center in Wescoe Hall, which offers live and taped international television broadcasts is closed this week.
"It's so small amount of information I can get from TV," Yamamoto said. "They don't broadcast this kind of stuff."