Life in Japan, food, music, whatever…

Earthquake! 12 March, 2011

Filed under: incidents,news — johnraff @ 3:01 pm
Tags: , , ,

That was a big one.

The biggest since they started keeping records some time in the Meiji era in fact. The first we knew of it was when the radio made that beeping noise that means an earhquake warning. They brought this system in a couple of years ago – it picks up the P-waves that arrive first and gives you a few seconds to get under a desk before the slower, but more destructive, S-waves arrive. However they said it was coming to the north of the country so here in Nagoya we didn’t worry too much. Maybe half a minute later the people in the Tokyo studio started to talk about being severely shaken, you could hear shouting in the background, and the sound was getting a bit fractured. Still nothing in Nagoya, though.

It took about a minute for the waves to reach us – long, slow, swaying too and fro, like being on the deck of a ship. A feeling that makes you doubt your senses – solid ground is not supposed to move like that. I don’t usually get seasick, but after what seemed like ten minutes (probably less) of this both T and I were feeling a bit queasy with landsickness. Eventually it came to an end. “Is it over?” You can’t be really sure if the ground has stopped moving or not. Thankfully, no damage had been done to our 2-storey building, or anywhere in Nagoya. Those slow waves can be very destructive to high-rise buildings apparently, but in this case most of the damage was done by the tsunamis which followed shortly after, in the Tohoku region mostly.

There have been several smaller earthquakes lately and I think people now take tsunami warnings somewhat seriously, so most of the inhabitants of the towns and villages that got wiped out had managed to get away to higher ground. At the moment they’re talking about maybe 1,500 people killed or missing which, while high of course, still seems small in the context of the devastation which took place. (Have a look round YouTube.) Tsunamis are still being recorded now, a day later, and the latest news is of molten caesium leaking from a nuclear power station…

Thankfully, everything’s OK here, but they have a lot of clearing up to do in the north of the country.


4 Responses to “Earthquake!”

  1. Roger Says:

    Hello John, Good to hear things are okay with you both.We had some incredible images yesterday that put the scale and power of the forces involved into perspective.BBC radio has said few minutes ago that there have been reports of an explosion at one of the nuclear reactors affected,hopefully they are mistaken.The waters recede and people can rebuild , they can do without a nuclear dimension right now.

  2. Sector11 Says:

    Thank goodness you and T are OK. My heart goes out to Japan and her people. I see there has been and explosion at the nuclear plant. As if the earthquake and tsunami wasn’t enough. Now there is this. The news coverage here has been constant, I doubt I’ll ever forget the images I’ve seen and still see. Take care and see you around.

  3. Evert de Rooij Says:

    Hi John!
    I’m glad that you two are untouched up till now – What a catastrophy!!
    Hope that the earth beneath Japan will come at rest & that the nuclear power plants will hold. I cannot imagine that rightwing politicians in Europe now will pursue their plans to fill our overcrowded continent with these atombombs!
    Hold on & all the best!

  4. johnraff Says:

    Thank you for your good wishes, all of you! We have been lucky here, but in the Tohoku region it’s really terrible. There are now more than 500,000 people in temporary shelters, and 15,000 still unaccounted for, many feared dead. I spoke too soon about 1500.

    Now those nuclear reactors. That story’s not finished yet. I used to be strongly anti-nuclear, but changed my views in the context of global warming and thought nuclear energy would be a necessary, temporary, evil to get us through till sustainable energy could be organized. I’m not so sure now…

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