It was another day at work. My co-workers and I were busy doing what we are doing when suddenly we felt a little shake. We looked at each other and said “jishin( earthquake )”. It was not the first time we felt a shake while working so we thought just like any other small quake it would pass away, how wrong we were. When it did not stop after a few seconds, I was starting to get nervous and then it trembled. Then somebody shouted to hide beneath the desk, no questions asked I did. I could not describe what I felt that moment, I have never prayed so hard in my entire life.
After a few minutes it stopped, I thought there were lots of damage but not a single water bottle was out of place. One of filing cabinet doors was opened but other than that everything inside the office looked fine. Then the aftershocks started. I wanted to get out of the building and stay on an open field but everybody stayed put. We went into the emergency exit and saw that some of the walls cracked, that made me so scared. Thankfully, one of manager explained that the one that cracked was just a covering, it could be easily replaced. The whole building was made of steel so in the event of an earthquake it will just sway. They said to us that until we are requested to evacuate, inside the building was the safest place to be.
It was one of the scariest moment of my life and so I could not imagine how the people in Miyagi Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture felt. When I saw the footage of the tsunami the next day, I was awed at the sheer power of Mother Nature and scared at the same time. Looking at those houses, cars and other infrastructure easily swept away made me realize how small my existence was.
That day, I was thankful that I registered to Facebook. When the disaster hit the news they kept saying North East of Tokyo which is actually stupid. My friends and family were so scared , my mother almost had a heart attack. Thankfully for FB I was able to contact and ask a big favor from friends to contact my family and tell them I was OK.
I was so pissed when I saw the news that they kept on emphasizing TOKYO, very irresponsible journalism. They should have review their geography first before making that news. Good thing when a friend saw the news and saw that it did not looked like TOKYO finally set things straight with our family.
And then Nuclear Reactor in Fukushima got damage in the Tidal Wave.
When it came out, blackout were scheduled all over Kanto area, including Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa. Then the radiation issue hit the news. When I saw the foreign news sensationalizing the issues, I decided to stop reading it. I know TEPCO and Japanese Government are far from perfect but rather than panicking over nothing I waited and I’m glad I did.
March 11, 2011 , Japan was hit with 9.0 Earthquake, then a whole city was wiped out by the Tsunami and then Nuclear Power Plant was damaged BUT above all this I was amazed by how Japan and its citizen handled everything.
That day, when we were walking home, we saw how the staff in the convenience store made sure that people have fair share amount of food and water, some were offering free directions showing them the maps, others were giving out hot tea, some private buildings put out sign that people can use the toilet , a temple put out some chairs. There was not a single riot or even a fight on who to get the taxi. Everybody was calm. The ATM was left alone.
Hats off to Japan, now I know why I love this country.