It was just another day in the office in Tokyo, when a small tremor occurred. My co-workers and I stopped and looked at each other and went back to our work when it stopped. Then all of a sudden, one of the biggest earthquake hit the Land of the Rising Sun: Japan.
I remember somebody shouted to hid under our table, while one of my male co-worker run to a nearby cabinets and tried to prevent it from tumbling down. I remember praying so hard, I do not think I have prayed that hard before.
When the first wave was over, I felt dizzy and giddy as I emerged under my desk. Some people immediately surveyed the damaged in the building. Then another came, this time it was not as shaky as the first. Unbeknownst to us, that Fukushima is about experience the wrath of mother nature.
Before the second wave happened I was already out of the building, I could not stand the shaking anymore. Even though the building was designed to withstand earthquake, and I was only in 5th floor, the shaking was making me more more nervous. At that point, I have no idea the extent the damage the earthquake brought to Japan.
I tried so hard to contact my family at home, my cousin in Saitama and T in Mito but I just could not get a connection. The cafe in front of the office where I was together with some of my co-worker who also decided to come down, was showing some earthquake updates, although they have not shown any video of Fukushima yet. It was not until later that day, in my friends house, did we saw the real damage it did.
When the aftershock was slowly easing a little bit, we decided to go back to the office . Fortunately, internet was still up and I was able to contact some friends in FB who were kind enough to contact my family and assure them that I am ok.
My employer on the other hand did not give a damn about us. Not a single message checking if we are still alive. It was expected from a greedy bastard like them.
My fellow Filipino engineers and I decided to stay together that weekend in case something happened. At least we have each other. That night we joined the rest of the crowd as we walked home to my friends apartment. Each one of us carrying a small ration of food from the office and a protective helmet.
As we were walking home, I was amazed by the crowd. There was no panic. Everybody was walking fast but silent. There were private offices offering there toilet for people who needed them. Some of the convenience store offered some maps and directions, others make sure that customer will not hoard the food and that it will be fairly distributed to customers. As we passed by Akihabara, some of the nearby residents where offering free hot tea. In Ueno, people were patiently lining up for a cab and for those who can’t go home, shared the heat of a small ATM booth.
It was amazing that even in time of disaster, the Japanese people remained calm and orderly and most of all kind.
After 8 hours of walking, we finally reached our destination. Although tired, hungry and shaken of the days event, we remained awake and vigilant as aftershock comes and goes.
Compare to those who were in Fukushima, my experience is nothing. But even after 2 years, the memories are still very vivid.