Most of you will now know that a major earthquake happened here yesterday afternoon at 2.45pm. What an experience! We are all fine, if a tad shaken up - sorry about the pun. It's funny how helpess you feel when something like that happens as there is nowhere to run. I can only imagine the horrors of what people are going through nearer the epicentre and my heart goes out to all of them.This was the biggest and most intense earthquake we've experienced and when it started my immediate reaction was to hide under the table - I probably looked rather like these blokes. It felt like being on a boat in very rough sea. All I can say is, I'm really glad I wasn't home alone. I was doing an art class at the Tokyo American Club at the time and apparently the pool (which is on the roof) had a mini tsunami and flooded out into the corridor and down the elevator shaft!
The whole club was evacuated once the first tremor had stopped and we all filed out into the forecourt, not sure what to do with ourselves. I left the club after it happened but couldn't get hold of anyone as all the phones were down, and the after shocks were still happening. It was weird being on the street and not being able to walk in a straight line because of the tremors - rather like being drunk without the buzz! I looked up around me and could see windows rattling and pylons shaking and realised there was nowhere to go that didn't have sharp heavy objects above me. A lot of people were carrying hardhats - a requirement for most offices and a good idea in hindsight! I loved this footage of some TV presenters I found.
Eventually I walked to Neil's office and luckily he was safe and sound. He is on the 13th floor, so his experience was also reminiscent of being seasick due to the rolling feeling. He could hear girders grinding and the antennae on the rooftops opposite pinging from side to side. We walked home together from there - it took about an hour and a half as none of the trains were working and the traffic was at a complete standstill. There were hoards of poor people all walking in the same direction as us, trying to get home. Some people live so far out, I don't know how they did it.
Anyway, we got home safely last night - the mirror in the hall was smashed and vases had fallen off shelves, but luckily nothing too awful had happened to our apartment. We didn't sleep well as there were tremors throughout the night, but at least we're safe. The tremors are still happening - I have felt two since writing this - and I'm not sure how long they will go on for.....
This has made me realise that we definitely need to invest in the essential package that most Japanese people have in their home - a little bag filled with earthquake essentials such as torch, hardhat, bandages, water etc. I couldn't resist also putting a photo of this doggy donning his own special earthquake gear - only in Japan!