Tuesday, March 15, 2011

earthquake business

Scary shit has gone down over the last couple of days here in Japan. The biggest earthquake in 140 years happened last Friday afternoon in the Tohoku region. Luckily, that is all way north of here and we didn't even feel a rumble in Kochi. All we got were some 2 meter tsunami waves that caused no damage whatsoever to the Kochi-ken shoreline. It's just frightening to think that one earthquake could put the shorelines of Shikoku, Hawaii, and even the western states of the US in ANY sort of danger (big or small). This earthquake moved Japan 8 feet to the side and shifted the Earth's Axis 4 inches. The thing I'm most afraid of at the moment is the whole WHAT IF... What if this triggers the nankai? What if this triggers the tokai? Already, a number of other large scale earthquakes have happened in Japan (a ton of 2-4 scale ones and a couple big 6 and 7s too). This quake was 8.9 at it's epicenter in the ocean, and it completely destroyed the entirety of Sendai, a lot of Miyagi-ken, and some of Aomori-ken. The tsunami waves left the epicenter at 500 mph.....

It's just hard to wrap your head around the extensive damage that was done on a boring Friday afternoon in the office. All of a sudden the phones started ringing more frequently than they had been, and all the people in the office were talking about what to do if the tsunami scheduled to hit Kochi at 4:30 was of any threat ("You should probably run"). The sirens were going off, and the little TV brought into the office showed frightening footage of whirl pools, wrecked houses, and boats being crushed under buildings. Wreckage wreckage wreckage. I called Bondy sensei that night, and texted friends in Kochi and Face-booked people I knew living in Tokyo. They were luckily all safe. De- and S-Ono havn't been so lucky though, and I know that some friends of their still havn't made it clear whether they are safe or not..... the death toll rises every day and entire towns of people are considered missing. A train even went missing.

Japan is luckily extremely prepared for things like this, but I know it will be weeks before they really know the true damage that has been done. Until then, we can wait, send aid, and hope that the nuclear reactor business going on in Fukushima is gotten under control, and Japan isn't looking at a 3-mile island incident....

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