Friday, March 11, 2011

Big earthquake and tsunami

I’ve lived through quite a few earthquakes in my lifetime while living in California and Japan but I’ve never felt something so strong as the one I experienced on the 11th of March 2011. This post is written nearly 3 months after the disaster but I will keep the spirit of the post in the moment of the disaster. I will have a later post illustrating how I feel about things now and how things are 3 months later.
I had just got home and sat down on my sofa after a light day at work with couple hour early release due to some event that was being held at the school that day. At first I thought I was a little dizzy because I had gotten poor sleep the night before and felt really groggy the whole day. But when things really started shaking I calmly walked over to the doorway in the kitchen and braced myself in the doorway. As my whole apartment building was shaking I could see every thing swaying as if a giant had grabbed my apartment and started to rock it about as if it were a toy car.
The fish tank sloshed about and finally spilled about 10% of its contents onto the kitchen floor but nothing else broke or fell because of how well I decorated the apartment. We don’t have many things up high that can fall thank goodness. After the earthquake I just thought it was going to be like any other and we’d just see broken glass and a few toppled old buildings like the many other times I’ve experienced quakes in Japan. But as you all know this time was very different.
Then a few minutes later another, equally strong, rolling quake went through my apartment again. At this point the power cut out and I figured it was time to get out as the apartment really swayed hard this time around. Minding my surroundings and power lines, I carefully hopped in my car and plugged my cell phone into the car charger so I could watch TV on it. After seeing the news reports of the tsunami coming I knew that we were in for something really bad.
I decided to move my car to a safer, open, power-line free area. There just so happens to be a large open park a minute’s drive from my apartment. So I parked my car at the park’s parking lot and watched in disbelief as the news showed footage of the ocean pouring over towns up north on the coast.
After a couple of hours of sitting in my car I decided I would go to Yuko’s parent’s house since they still had all their utilities up. My area was blacked out till mid-night. Little did I know those blackouts would last for many more weeks to come. We didn’t even know about what had happened at Fukushima till a few days later and even then it was really played down. But we all know what’s happened since then.
So that’s my experience with the March 11 2011 earthquake. I am very happy and fortunate that all my friends and family in Japan were and are still safe. I hope I never have to experience such a large scale disaster ever again.

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