Shakey Shake

14 Mar

Tuesday this week marked the 3 year anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. I went out of my way to avoid the news and FB as much as possible that morning. Was doing quite well until the minute long siren we had at 2:26pm. Sudden urge to get up and put my hands together and lower my head, tears streaming down my face. I was probably facing the wrong direction for my prayers to actually reach the intended but one must still try.

We felt nothing of that actual earthquake and despite going to pick the kids up from their sea-side kinder we only got a tsunami the size of the wave I make when my fat ass gets in the bath.  Still, something of that magnitude impacts the whole country and I had serious Post Traumatic Stress by Association Disorder which culminated in my buying a solar panel suitcase, 3 months supply of Nasa food and a seven-way spade just incase I had to dig a latrine, open a beer and cut down a tree all at the same time.

Last night, at 2am something we had a 6.1 magnitude earthquake. When we first got married hub would sleep through anything. I have been brought up with the ‘get under the desk or doorway as soon as anything starts moving’ mentality hammered into me so even small shakey shakes scare me a bit. Hub is better now though, especially after March 11, 2011. Last night was quite the spectacle. We were up and out of bed and in the kids bedrooms before our phones even had a chance to warn us there was an earthquake. I’m not entirely sure the kids wouldn’t have slept through it had we not ordered them into our arms under the doorway.

It seemed to last for ages, about 20 seconds maybe? Or perhaps it was only 10. Either way my heart was beating faster that Bolt on speed whilst outwardly trying to appear very calm and authoritative for the children. So as soon as it stopped we all went downstairs, turned on the telly, and I made them all put on some socks… ?? Granny K came in and made some ridiculous comment about how if a tsunami came we’d be goners cause our house was beside the river…. in front of the children. Marina started bawling, Shou came over and held my hand and Ryu asked if he could play with the lego.

As the shaking was going on all I could think was that if we were shaking this much, imagine what Tokyo was shaking like – I seriously thought that it must be ‘the big one’ and that one of the tectonic plates had just fuckin fallen off and Tokyo bay was sliding into the abyss. Turns out that if you could actually see where earthquakes hit we’d have been able to see it out of our upstairs window. We aren’t usually the center of earthquakes so while I was very pleased I wasn’t going to get on FB and see final updates from my Tokyo friends as they slipped away, it was a bit scary thinking we have a live one out the back door, so to speak.

We lost a few things off shelves but nothing broke and I can therefore not procrastinate my translating day away cleaning shit up and running out to purchase cases of water and fifty rolls of toilet paper.

About ten minutes after we were all in bed and the kids had gone to sleep a very low flying jet, of the Tom Cruise variety, flew overhead. There is an airbase in Yamaguchi so we get jets quite a bit, but not usually at half two in the morning. My heart was already a bit fragile so even that gave me serious palpitations.

After the kinder drop I was driving to the local store to get a coffee when a woman’s voice started talking to me – in the car. At first I thought it was cops telling me to pull over. Then I realised it was coming from inside the car, not quite sure where from – probably the navi system. That would make the most sense. But at the time I got a hell of a shock, just about crashed, and lost all sense of bearing. They should tell you when you buy a new car that it has an earthquake announcement system. Usually if the navi is off nobody talks so an unpromted announcement gave me a fright!

Although having a talking car is kinda cool. Now I just need to put a shiny red lazar across the front and blow dry my hair.

Knight Rider (1982) Poster

We had a town-wide announcement just before telling us to secure all the furniture in preparation for aftershocks over the next week.

So I guess I could procrastinate all day then. But best I smack the last of this bloody translation out aye. Deadline Monday. It. Will. Be. Finished.



7 Responses to “Shakey Shake”

  1. Ang March 14, 2014 at 3:13 am #

    Glad you are all OK – we didn’t feel a thing here. Although, there is a mighty storm on it’s way…

    • gaijinwife March 14, 2014 at 3:37 am #

      🙂 I read about the storm. Hope cyclone Lusi doesn’t kick your but. xxx
      batten down the hatches just in case. xxx

  2. littlebelgianwriter March 14, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    I am wondering here what would freak me out the most, the actual earthquake or the navigation system announcing things out of the blue …

    • gaijinwife March 14, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

      my heart beat about the same for both. For a second 🙂 I could comprehend the earthquake but never in my mind was the thought my car would tell me about it as I was on the way to buying a coffee!!

      • Lauren March 15, 2014 at 6:56 am #

        Jeez, sounds like your heart and nervous system have had enough excitement for a while. I lived in Sendai for 8 years and then moved to Christchurch in 2010. I can empathize! Sounds like you’ve got the survival kit all ready, which makes a huge difference. I was totally unprepared for the February 2011 quake but was all sorted by the time the June mag 6.4 hit. Having water, chemical toilet, food, light, cooker etc. made all the difference. Just remember to replace food and water every six months. At least your houses over there are built to withstand a decent shake.

        The car navi thing would have made me shit myself. you did well not to drive off the road! I hope the aftershocks aren’t too bad and fade away quickly. Not nice being on edge all the time waiting for the next one.

  3. Amy March 20, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    I can imagine how you felt: I lived through all the Christchurch earthquakes, and then to feel this one once I’d moved here… was unpleasant, to say the least! Glad that you, and your family, are holding up okay.

  4. matchaproblem March 23, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    I think I’d have just about keeled over. I have this strange knack for flying out of Japan just before any decently sized earthquake hits Tokyo. I keep missing them. So I’ve only ever been through little ones. One of any magnitude higher than 3 would probably cause me to curl up in the fetal position, never to emerge.

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