"We worked out a system where a couple of us would go search for friends or any foreigners we could in Sendai and try to help them out, and then a couple of us would go to the convenient store and try to collect food for us to survive off of for the next couple days," said Wade Ramsey, an American living and teaching in Sendai.
Ramsey, who grew up in California, knew what to do if an earthquake hit.
"The moment the earthquake hit I honestly didn't know the size of it. For the past two days before it we've been having some small earthquakes. As soon as the earthquake was going for longer than 30 seconds, I knew it was a bigger earthquake," said Ramsey.
With phone lines down and batteries drained, people are turning to the Internet to track down friends and relatives. Many in Japan have been using the internet to search for their missing loved ones.
"The internet is such an amazing thing. For awhile when we didn't have electricity I was just using my phone. It was the only way I could know what was going on. I didn't even know the damage until I got home and got on the internet and did some research," Ramsey added.
Another American teacher living in Sendai, Greg Lekich, told ABC News that several of his friends were killed when the roof of the gymnasium they were in collapsed. He said that he has enough water, but is in need of food supplies.
To find out how you can help with disaster relief in Japan, click here.
ABC News' Leezel Tanglao, Clarissa Ward, Akiko Fujita, Jessica Hopper, Michael James and Dan Childs and the Associated Press contributed to this report.