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[personal profile] snapes_mistress
I'm sure most of you have heard about the big earthquake we had here in Japan today. Yes, I'm okay. Yes, I most certainly DID feel it. Still am, 12 hours later.

I got up early this morning and took a train to Isesaki, about 25 minutes away, for a staff meeting. After taking the train home a few hours later, I had the whole afternoon to kill before the single class I was scheduled to teach tonight. A one-hour junior high lesson, which would involve me taking the train one stop from Ota. Whoo-hoo! Easy day, then the following three days off.

So I get home after the meeting, put on my comfy pajama bottoms, make some lunch, and settle in to watch a movie (the Kenneth Branagh production of Much Ado About Nothing, if you are curious.) Eating, chilling, hey nonny nonny-ing, when the floor starts trembling slightly. Meh, earthquake, whatevs. Happens all the time. Keep on ogling Denzel Washington as he recites Shakespeare (siiigh!)... and the floor keeps trembling. Weird, earthquakes don't usually last this long... whoa, hold up, why are things actually SHAKING? Why are my neighbors screaming? HOLY SHIT. Did my picture just fall off the wall? I jumped up and got the fuck out. Ran out into the cold in my pjs and socks. No shoes. No coat. Nothing in hand but my cell phone. The shaking intensified more and more. The family next door was on their knees in their gravel yard, clutching their baby and crying. I could see and hear my apartment building swaying and creaking. Little bits of plaster started falling from buildings. All the bikes parked under the garage fell over. Everything was wobbling; the buildings, the light poles, even the road. I crazily thought of old rap videos when I saw cars bouncing on their wheels. Dogs and cats were going apeshit. I screamed, then stated crying. Then screamed again.

I stood in the middle of the street, figuring that was safer than being near any tall buildings. Tried to call, then text, Liam. Couldn't get through either way. Not wanting to go back inside my apartment, and not knowing where else to go, I walked to my former office (five minutes away) and checked on them. They were okay, but some big cracks had appeared in the building, and the ground below was littered with bits of plaster and brick that had dislodged in the quake. They told me that the power was out in Oizumi, where Liam was working.

I was so disoriented. I walked back home, went back inside. As soon as I was in, another tremor hit, nearly as big as the first. Back outside... A postman pulled up on his scooter while I was waiting, and went right on delivering mail like normal. While he was up on the second floor of my building, a third tremor happened... he was just totally calm, like it was no big deal. I told him to be careful as he scootered off. Rain, sleet, snow, hail, MASSIVE EFFING EARTHQUAKE... nothing can stop the Japanese mail! Heh.

At this point, I wasn't sure if I should even try to go into work later. We'd just had a meeting where they harped on about how we can never, ever, ever be late, except for "unpreventable" things. Was a huge fucking earthquake enough to warrant a cancelled lesson? Phones were down, so I couldn't get through to my office. I decided I'd try and at least get to the school if I could, and worry about getting home later.

So I went back inside, put on real clothes, and threw my family photos, my few pieces of real jewelry (all given to me by Liam,) and my Snuggle bear in my bag, along with my lesson plans (just in case) and my computer/internet hookup.

At the train station, guards were standing by the entrance, not letting anyone go through. There was a sign with a lot of Japanese I couldn't read, and a guy on the intercom whom I could tell was saying the trains were stopped due to the earthquake. No taxis were outside. People were still standing in the streets, not wanting to go back into their offices and homes. So I decided to just hang out at my old office, where I could at least be around people who spoke English should anything even worse happen.

Luckily, my internet was working fine. I got in touch with Liam, then e-mailed both our mothers to let them know we were safe. Got e-mails from my manager and from head office, saying that all lessons were cancelled and that they were in the midst of trying to contact everyone. The TV was showing BBC footage of the tsunami and quake. My god. That tsunami... it was like a kid playing with Legos in the bath. Effing HOUSES were just swept away.

A guy from my job training group was placed in Sendai, where the tsunami hit. I have yet to hear from him. No idea if he is okay. I'm not sure how close to the coast he lives.

After navigating roads with no street lights or signals, Liam returned from work. I just threw myself at him. Never in my life have I been happier to see him, nor felt so alone as I did when the big quake hit.

It is now 12 hours after the big quake, and we are still getting aftershock tremors every ten minutes or so. Many of them are strong enough to make my dishes rattle. I know it is silly of me, but I begged Liam to sleep over at mine tonight, even though he has to be up super early for work. He is up in the loft, happily snoring away. I have been up since 8 a.m. (and got only three hours sleep the night before) and just. can't. sleep. Every time I doze off, the building shakes again. I can't get the picture of swaying buildings, and the family next door huddled together crying, out of my mind. We weren't the worst hit by any means, but myyyyyy god, it was scary. I have tons of damage control to do tomorrow. Lots of stuff fell off the walls and shelves. I will be picking up my collection of minatures for days.

And seriously, the ground will not stop shaking.

Anyway, I'm okay, just very shaken up. Sorry for rambling. Just wanted to get this all out.
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January 2012

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