Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake

Many people have contacted me. Thank you very much.  I’m all right. The following is my reply.  (Reset of the time failed for some reason, so the date of this blog is wrong.  It is 3/12/2011 05:44 pm)




I returned to Japan a few days ago, expecting my favorite sushi bar already closed. So, when I met a friend of mine at the Yokohama station, I told her I was very disappointed about the sushi bar. “No, not yet closed,” she said, “it is still open until the end of March.” I was overjoyed. So, we had our lunch at the sushi bar which I have blogged about before. The blog title was “Ito-san’s Smile.”

The restaurant is on the 6th floor of the building named Cial. The building was probably created around early 1970. It will be demolished along with the Tokyu Hotel next door, and a new and larger and stronger- to-earthquake building will be built later.


I’ve never felt an earthquake as strong and for a long period as this one. There was a minor one the day before, but I didn’t know. So, I guess the magnitude 8.8 yesterday was an after-shock. A few minutes after the beginning of the earthquake, I crouched under the counter and persuaded the people around me to follow. Nobody moved at first. I repeated, “Get down! Duck your head under the counter!” My friend replied, “I’ve been living in the earthquake country all my life.” I said, “I know you have, but never mind that. Get down here. Put your head under the counter at least!” A young couple and two older women were sitting near us. They said nothing, unmoved. I kept repeating the phrase, and eventually they all got down because the shaking didn’t stop.

“I came here to eat lunch,” I said under the counter, “because the building will be demolished soon for earthquake. So, I wanted to eat their sushi one more time before the price goes up.”

A woman across me got down under the counter and turned her head toward me.

“Me, too,” She said.

I smiled back. A young man clicked his phone and said, “The epicenter is Miyagi and 6 strong.” 6 strong and 6 weak are Japanese earthquake terms. They are confusing because they also report by the world standard, Magnitude. Magnitude 8.8 cannot be 6 strong, but I think Japanese delicate or vague sentiment plays a role here. Every time we have an earthquake, generally people try really hard to downplay everything so that we would at least appear normal under any circumstances.

I’ve been in the U.S. maybe too long. It is okay for me to say, “Gee, I’m scared!” when I’m scared. But, nobody around me had said, “I’m scared.” They all looked very cool.

After the earthquake settled a little, we paid and walked down the stairs, not elevator or escalator, and went across a bridge. The area is reclaimed from the ocean, so it is spacious, and many high rises have been under construction. We spotted a large number of construction workers gathered in a field across the sidewalk. It’s the first photo. One worker yelled at us, “Don’t go near the edge of the sidewalk. It is sunk.” Sure enough, all along the sidewalk, I saw a dark line between the asphalt and the grass and flower area. The second photo you see, there is a crack on the concrete. It wasn’t there before. And the photos are Yokohama, not the northeast.




Then we decided to walk home straight. It was about 4 pm already. My home is farther than my friend’s. I rested a while at a crowded burger shop before I started to walk home again. It usually takes one hour, but yesterday, it took much longer. I was calling and trying to reply my son’s email message on the cell phone. I’m very slow in typing on the phone. One side of the river had street lights on, but the other side was complete darkness. Many people were walking beside me, and train, bus, subway were unavailable at the time. I saw one taxi with four men inside. One okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) shop was open, but it had a long line. I went around finding other shops, but no places were open close to my home. I reached my home and found my electricity was out. It was 7:30 pm, but I went to bed.

14 comments:

keiko amano said...

The photos are the area between the Yokohama station and Shin Takashima Station.

Luciana said...

Glad you´re ok, Keiko!

Neftis said...

It is nice to read you are ok :)
Be careful.

By the way, I've done some research, my family (Amano) comes from Fukuoka. There are several random names I don't know who they are, yet I heard they're first cousins of my father, they still live there (I hope) mmh.. eight years ago they were there, in Fukuoka.

Taizo Amano, Sadajiro? Amano and Hidenori Amano.

I still dont know much about it, but I'm glad at least I have names and a place to look for some records. What saddens me is that Fukuoka seems to be a huge place to look for some one :s

And with the recent events I think it'll be impossible to know anything about their well being.

Well, I am truly glad you are ok. Please take care. I send you a big hug... and right now the best of wishes to everyone over there.

ashok said...

Very glad to hear that you are OK and that your home is OK.

The news of the earthquake was shocking. I wish much strength to all persons affected by it in order to cope with this.

It is surprising that you ended up in Japan at the time of the earthquake.

keiko amano said...

Luciana,

I'm sorry for delay in response.
I'm just overwhelmed with the magnitude of the earthquake. 9.0.

At my apartment, I can't shut my television off. Everytime I start to write, I feel aftershock. It's easy for me to pack and leave, but I just got here.

Thank you for your concern.

keiko amano said...

Hello Michiko,

Now I remember your Japanese name.

It's funny that when I was small, I was the only Amano around in my school or among friends, but now I notice many Amanos all over. The other day, I was at a hospital and heard the announcement calling Amano. I don' know if the first call and the second was the same name but it was both Amano. The third Amano announcement was Amano Keiko. It wasn't the time I should hear my name, but I asked receptionists and nurses, and they all said they didn't call me. I thought it was something wrong with my ear. But later on, I found out my doctor was calling me because too many patients arrived that morning. He wanted to make some changes in the schedule. Well, more people, more Amanos, I guess.

About Fukuoka, I'm surprised, but as we, Amanos and other names spread around the world, our search can be a challenge. Good luck. Please let me know what you find when you do. I will let you know if I find anything.

Thank you for your concern.

keiko amano said...

Ashok,

Yes, maybe I'm an earthquake woman. In Japanese talks, when a woman arrives when rain starts, then we say the woman brought rain, therefore, a rain woman.

But the joke aside, the devastation is huge. I have utmost respect and admiration to all the ancestors who put up with and fought against this kind of calamity in the past.

Thank you for your concern.

keiko amano said...

I wrote on Facebook as below.

Foreign countries are ready to send their supports. But, in the past, foreign aids into Japan have been problematic because they don't speak Japanese or come with their own interpreters. We've been criticized about that severely, but that's reality. Also, some damaged areas still have no internet or phone communication abilities. If any emergency team needs a communication help, I'd like to volunteer. If anyone knows about that, please let me know. Keiko

ashok said...

There are huge tasks ahead for Japan that will probably proceed in the following order.

1. Searching and rescuing any trapped persons.
2. Getting food and other relief supplies to displaced persons
3. Restoring roads and transportation network
4. restoring communications, electricity and water supplies in affected area
5. Finally the task of clearing, cleaning and rebuilding.

All that will require the help of all Japanese and many others from around the world. I wish them all the best in this huge task.

Keiko you are lucky your area is not severely disturbed. These aftershocks should reduce over the next few days or so I hink as the earth settles down.

Rebb said...

Keiko, I am so glad to hear you are OK. I've been thinking about you and hoping that you were safe. It is very sad to watch the news.

keiko amano said...

Ashok,

I started to write you and ended up a long comment, so I created a new blog. Yes, a lot needs to be done. But one good news is that Japan is accepting foreign aids without hesitation this time. I'm very pleased. I think out of this horrible disaster, the world becomes closer. I hope.

keiko amano said...

Rebb,

Thank you for your concern. I created another blog. I probably blog more later on if I find something worthwhile to report. If you have any questions, please let me know. Some people sent me email and said some reports are unclear. I'm not a journalist, but if I can explain, I will.

jiturajgor said...

I am glad that you are fine.Take care friend.

keiko amano said...

Jitu,

Thank you for adding your comment. I'm sorry for delay in my response.