Southern Japan Quakes

16 Apr

The last couple of days have been crazy intense, monkey nut bollocksy kind of crazy. We have had a mixture of earthquakes, influenza induced madness, oversized spiders, aftershocks, 40 degree temperatures, poisonous centipedes and now, to top it off, the fuckin manflu.

I seem to be patient zero for this round of the Flu – type B. I have no idea where I got it from but get it I did. The timing was completely fucked up and had me missing my last born son’s entrance ceremony to primary school (Tuesday) – something that is a huge deal in Japan, to the extent of suit and pearl wearing, parents taking time of work, speeches by government officials, certificates, a lot of nerves and the plethora of other things that accompany ceremonial events of such proportion in this country.

I got dressed into my ceremonial suit and then took my sorry, hot (literally not figuratively) self to the doctors where a nurse shoved a long stick up my nostril and ten minutes later declared I had Flu B. I cried I did. We all know my youngest is my favorite and not being able to see him in his little necktie and vest at his entrance ceremony…. snivel snivel. So not fair. I mean I could have snuck in the back and watched but with such a small school it was inevitable that the fact that I was off getting the flu test would be common knowledge before the ceremony even started.

By the time I got home hub was calling saying Marina had a temp and he was bringing her home before the ceremony. By the end of the day Shou was down too and I had them both confirmed at the hospital the next morning. Ryu spent his first few days as a first grader without his brother and sister!

So rock on Thursday night and Marina, Shou and I are all asleep in the flu pit, Ryu is in his own bed and hub is downstairs in his self-declared flu free zone. All of a sudden my phone blares out an earthquake alarm – I didn’t have it on my last phone and didn’t even know it would go on this phone so it gave me a hell of a fright – but not as much as the same alarm going from the town speakers, which are conveniently located about 1m from our upstairs windows.

These alarms are great – for the most part. They give you somewhere between 3 and 7 seconds to get yourself out of harm’s way – which is all you need to get under a table or doorway. Of course the first thing I think when we have an earthquake is that it is ‘the big one’ and my friends in Tokyo are surely all slipping into Tokyo Bay as I reassure my children that our inbred builder isn’t really inbred and that I only curse him all the time because he’s fuckin useless, but I’m sure the door frames are sturdy…

It was a generous wobble here in Oita. I went downstairs, where I realize it’s still only 9:30 (seriously, I thought it was about midnight cause us Flu patients had all gone to bed at 8 and were in deep flu-medication-induced slumber), and watch the news with hub. The quake was centered in the next prefecture over, Kumamoto. There are a few aftershocks over night, before we wake up to Ryu and his temperature and another trip to the doctors. Sigh. The people on reception laugh (with me) as I walk in and say hi ya, another one bites the dust.

For some reason I take on two translation jobs, the first of which I manage to finish and get in on time – hurrah. It hasn’t come back for corrections (yet), so hopefully flu-medication-induced translations are now the go.

Last night – fuck me.

The earthquake siren goes again – in the middle of the night. We all bolt under a doorway and yay, glad we did. It was a lot bigger than the previous night – not big enough for our house to sustain damage or anything even remotely what it must have been like for people at the scary epicenter, but still. For some reason my phone decided to then sound the alarm for every aftershock thereafter – all of which we got up for but only half of which we felt.

Hub got called to work at 2am as per the official ‘City Office Workers and Shaky Events Regulations’ (official translation pending). After he left there was another aftershock – which wasn’t very big but we all got up and everyone decided to have a water and loo break – during which Marina declared she saw a ‘medium-sized’ poisonous centipede crawling in the general direction of the suitcase in the toilet (don’t ask – but if you really feel the need to then I will respond with ‘who doesn’t keep a fuckin suitcase in their toilet?’)

I must admit that I was quite proud of her description when I came across said centipede – it was indeed ‘medium-sized’. This is of course on the gaijinwife scale of oversized Japanese insects. Β It is just the start of crawly season here so it wasn’t a fast mover – making it all the easier to catch with the fire tongs (as in the things we use to move wood round in the fire place) Β that just happened to be on the stair landing from two nights previous (when oversized spider appeared, was dosed in a can of spray and then whacked with a tissue box before being air lifted, using the tongs, to the loo to be flushed).

We all woke up this morning – haha, woke-up is possibly technically impossibly after not sleeping but you know what I mean – to Granny K with a temperature and hub texting from work saying his temp is on the rise too…

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

So, because hub is at work, I pile all the sick children, and Granny K, into the family wagon and make my FOURTH trip to the doctor’s in as many days. At least I am myself almost over the flu by now and don’t hallucinate on the drive there. Hurrah. You should try that drive on no sleep and flu-drugs. Quite entertaining.

Granny K gets the thumbs up on Flu B, we get her drugs and pass hub on the way home. His test comes up negative but he’s a pussy and has gone too early – instead of waiting until you have an impressive temperature of around 38.5. The doctor realizes however that with 5 out of 6 of us positive the odds are in his favor for being patient number 6, so he gives him loads of drugs and sends him home, where he is now breathing (I think) under five futons in his wife-declared Flu-Zone. I keep checking on Granny K just to make sure she doesn’t lose consciousness under all of her vests and futon layers. Tis like checking on a new born again – ninja into the room so as not to wake them and then stand staring at their chest to see if it is rising or not – harder to do under 1m of futons. Jeeze, I’ll be holding a mirror in front of her mouth next!!

Anyhoo, sorry for not posting sooner about the quakes. We are all fine. Fingers crossed these biggest ones have passed.


I hope this post finds you all well and healthy. Hug the family. Drink some Vitamin C and of course make sure your evacuation kit is up to scratch. I have realized that my awesome 7-way spade wouldn’t be much use if I had to evacuate with a family of Flu victims.




22 Responses to “Southern Japan Quakes”

  1. leashwal April 16, 2016 at 9:56 am #

    Yay thanks for the update, glad you are all OK. Was almost going to contact you but reminded myself of the fact you don’t know me and I would come across as a weirdo. I hope those in affected areas get some relief soon.

    • gaijinwife April 16, 2016 at 10:04 am #

      Thank you πŸ™‚ And don’t worry, I’ve never met half my FB friends so messages from blog readers is totally normal – although I don’t check that email ‘as much’ as here.

  2. littlebelgianwriter April 16, 2016 at 10:02 am #

    I have thought of you all during these past days, Glad to know that you and your family are ok, (not taking into account the flu). Get well soon!
    I checked a map of Kyushu earlier to find out that you weren’t near the epicentre. Nevertheless the magnitude in your area still seemed rather high to Belgian standards.

    • gaijinwife April 16, 2016 at 10:05 am #

      Thank you! Glad at least that I am out the other side of the flu and just need to juggle the last of the kid’s medication and hub and Granny K being futon ridden for the next few days πŸ™‚ Still no more aftershocks here so fingers crossed for a night of much needed sleep!

  3. Lauren April 16, 2016 at 11:01 am #

    I have been checking your blog over the past two days to see if you’d post that you were okay. I’m from Christchurch so know only too well what those shallow bastards feel like, plus the constant aftershocks. I hope your kids are handling it all okay and aren’t too stressed. Keep the fluids up and I hope the dreaded lurgy running rampant in your household also passes quickly.

    • gaijinwife April 16, 2016 at 11:34 am #

      Thank you Lauren! What we have here in Kunimi is nothing compared to Chch. It feels almost silly posting about such things! Thank you for your concern πŸ™‚ The kids are all in peaceful slumber and will hopefully have a full night sleep and wake up far too energetic tomorrow!!

      • Lauren April 16, 2016 at 11:52 pm #

        Not silly at all! All quakes are scary, regardless of intensity, and the wondering if a bigger one is on its way. Glad you’re all okay there and that the kids are not too phased by it.

  4. jennifer arthur April 16, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    Yay! Yay! So glad and relieved your family is “fine”… And I hate you missed the entrance ceremony. Understand the significance but that seems like a particularly contagious bugger. Our flu shots here were useless this year as well. My grandson got A once and B once. I will have to pin you to the map so I can keep up with all of the earthquakes, tsunamis etc and don’t bother you mercilessly for. No reason. Thanks for posting about your safety.


    • gaijinwife April 16, 2016 at 10:55 pm #

      Thans Jennifer. Ryu and Hub have now both had A and B. I will be glad when everyone is 100% better and back and school and work – give me my quiet house back!! There needs to be a flu shot that actually works for more than 3 months!!

  5. Ann April 16, 2016 at 3:26 pm #

    Here in Europe the main news last few days are earthquakes in Japan, so I was wondering if you and you family are ok. Nice to hear that you are all well, minus the flu πŸ˜€ Keep safe and get well πŸ˜€

    • gaijinwife April 16, 2016 at 10:52 pm #

      Thank you Ann. Ryu had a rough night last night and the wind and rain were horrendous but today is a lovely day. Feel for the families in Kumamoto who have lost loved ones, homes, pets, their livelihood over the last couple of days. Natural disasters suck.

  6. Grace Palmer April 16, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

    Good to know that you are ok earthquake wise, I did think of you when I heard the news. Not so good to hear about the ‘flu tho, you do all seem to get it much worse than we do here in the Uk. Hope Granny K and hub recover quickly. xx


    • gaijinwife April 16, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

      Thanks Grace. Hub is currently hanging out futons so I’m not quite sure where his manflu went!! Granny K is spending another day in bed and I think these things just hit her harder! I feel bad having passed it on to her but what can you do !! We bloody live together. Hope you and yours and safe and well πŸ™‚

      • Grace April 17, 2016 at 7:07 am #

        We are all good, thanks, although the family is entering mega-exam-stress season: son has uni finals, daughter has school finals….. All will be finished by 17 June and then the celebrations can begin πŸ˜€

      • gaijinwife April 17, 2016 at 9:04 am #

        Two lots of finals – arrrgh. I remember school and uni finals only too well. I’m sure they’ll be fine – I will try and remember to toast your children as I toast my 40th on June 17 πŸ™‚

      • Grace April 17, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

        Couldn’t reply to your comments below…. Will definitely remember to toast your birthday – please email me your snail address…..

  7. Susan (Eastendmom) April 17, 2016 at 2:48 am #

    Just another reader happy to know that you and your family are safe after the quakes. Hope the flu has run it’s course by now too. Fingers crossed (jinxing us now) we have escaped flu this year. It’s good to just see you writing in general again. Hope you all keep safe & well.

    • gaijinwife April 17, 2016 at 3:36 am #

      Thank you Susan πŸ™‚ Have just sent three out of four patients to bed. Hub and Ryu need the sleep and I just need Marina out of my hair so I can finish translation! Shou is completing his multitude of homework sheets he got from missing school! Hope you bloody miss the flu this season! Surely we can all just officially call the season over with until next year πŸ™‚

  8. Mrs. N April 24, 2016 at 1:20 am #

    Just getting around to blogging and reading again… We thought our old rickety Japanese house was going to bury us…it was quite frightening… Glad you guys were ok! We had a relative go to hospital at the second one… But other than that just a lot of shaky nerves… No pun intended.

    • gaijinwife April 24, 2016 at 9:05 am #

      Glad you were all ok! Shaky nerves indeed. Here’s hoping we don’t get (Kumamoto doesn’t get) any more of those and that the rain forecast for this week isn’t too horrendous on the worst hit areas.

      • Mrs. N April 24, 2016 at 9:09 am #

        Yes- agreed… They get more and we get more…not good although I see that Kyushu is still ” swarming”. For Pete’s sake… Enough already! Xxoo


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