TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma -- Northeastern State University students are raising money for victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami while half a world away from the disaster zone.
NSU-Tahlequah has a large Japanese student population. Many of them went home fall semester, a time when Japanese businesses recruit new hires. Consequently, many were in Japan when the earthquake occurred March 11. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
NSU students are raising money, and their voices in a benefit concert. Along with the more than 100 students who came all the way from Japan for a college education.
It was a song of sorrow playing from an American pianist's fingers - perfectly in tune with a Japanese student's wrist. They were taking a cue from a pop star.
"It means, 'We pray for Japan' in Japanese. Lady Gaga made it for us," joked Arisa Sato, a NUS senior.
"It's so different. It's country. No cows outside in Tokyo," Sato said. Arisa Sato could only watch as the earthquake shattered her world.
"All we had was Ustream, the website. They were broadcasting the Japanese TV. I just kept watching it," she said.
She was glued to her computer as the tsunami waves crashed in an international crisis.
"Fukushima, the nuclear plant place, is my mom's hometown," Sato said. "It was so miserable to watch and I was so heartbroken."
Fellow students are turning that heartbreak into hope.
"It's important for us to get involved and help our neighbors," said Hannah Allison, a junior at NSU-Tahlequah.
The musicians are raising money in harmony with their friends in the disaster zone.
"Most of them are in Japan right now and when the earthquake hit," Allison said.
The students who still call Oklahoma home hope music from the streets of Tahlequah soars to Tokyo and beyond.
"Japan is pretty tiny, so pretty much everywhere is my hometown," said Arisa Sato, a senior at NSU and a native of Japan.
The students hope to raise more than $1,000. For each dollar spent, you get an arigato, or thank you. All of the proceeds from today will go to the Japan Red Cross.