Sunday, March 20, 2011

Earthquake Post

I've been utterly overwhelmed and humbled by the number of people who have gotten in touch with me (or my parents) since the earthquake. Relatives, old friends, even people who read this blog but have never commented. Thank you!

We're okay. My story is amazingly lame but here goes...

First, we're in Shizuoka (Yaizu), something like 400 kilometers south of the epicenter. So unlike the temblor we had two years ago this one shook and shook and shook (damn, it was long), but nothing much fell and I could certainly stand up and walk around.

Okay, early Friday, March 11, I had some friends over. While we were talking, four or five crows suddenly dropped out of the sky, in front of my window and started making a huge ruckus (fighting or whatever, I can never tell with birds, see the Gloria post). My friend M. said it was like a scene from the Omen.

No other ominous signs the rest of the day. Although in retrospect several days before the earthquake Cha Cha did NOT want to sleep in J's room. He always does, happily, ever since he was a pup. J sleeps deep and he just loves stealing all his blankets and making a nest out of them for himself. But when we took him up he would whine and scratch at the door and we couldn't figure out what he wanted. He is still camping out downstairs on the sofa with the cats. I actually caught him once sleeping IN the litter box. Slightly worried about the little fellow's mental state. But only slightly. He's always been weird.

The ball of my foot has been hurting for a month or more (not related to earthquake...I think), so I finally decided to go to the doctor. It opened at 3:30 but I knew it would be crowded so I was going to leave at 3:00. At 2:35-ish I was gathering up my insurance card, purse, and car keys when the earthquake started. It was shaky enough to make me think about hiding out under the dining room table. And I would have except my cell rang.

It was my husband. He's on the 10th floor in Shizuoka. He said he thought he was going to be sick the rocking was so bad. I said if the epicenter isn't here (we're supposed to have our very own monster earthquake called the Tokai Earthquake some day) then someplace is in real trouble. He's a programmer and everyone is on their computers and just then someone yelled out the epicenter was way up north. I go, uh-oh. And we got cut off.

Still shaking. I crawl under the table and my by-now-seriously-freaked-out dog comes and joins me. Cats have vanished upstairs long ago. They're clever like that. After what seemed like forever it stopped. Nothing much had fallen and while the sirens were going like crazy outside warning of a tsunami I figured we're far enough inland to be safe. I did, however, call my parents and wake their butts up.

For the rest of that day we had several aftershocks. The worst part of those was the accusing look on Cha Cha's face every time the beams squeaked and the ground moved. He thought *I* was doing this. Not only that but after the first quake he had to go out and pee like every ten minutes. Trying to explain that's not a good idea did nothing to stop his weakened bladder.

One freaky thing: J and his friends were all supposed to go to Disney Land the day after the earthquake. Of course, the trip was canceled, but had they gone they'd have been stuck in the park. Since they were feeling pretty blue about not getting to go for their graduation trip, J invited two of his best friends over and we had a small yakiniku party.

The truth is we had ran out of toilet paper the day before the earthquake. So on the verge of our own natural disaster I went to buy some the next day. I considered going early because I've lived here long enough to know how people can sometimes get excited/worried and hoard. (Don't get me started on Thai Rice Debacle of '93.) But, no, that wouldn't happen, would it? By the time I got to the supermarket it was 5pm and the shelves were practically wiped clean. There was no toilet paper, rice, bread, meat, cup noodles, batteries...What I think happened is that the stores were diverting some foodstuffs and necessities to the devastated areas up north. When people came shopping and saw the shelves half full they slightly freaked.

Keeping the eye on the news. Otherwise, here in Shizuoka is life as usual.

J graduated junior high last week. He decided to go to a good private high school and will start there the first week in April. We already had an all-day orientation where I learned his homeroom is on the 7th floor and neither kids, nor moms are allowed to use elevators and the Dean of Students is a hard ass like I haven't seen in years. I didn't think they made them like this anymore. *worried* And today was a day full of tests. Yes, before he even officially starts school he has to take tests in every subject. *ouch* Let's just say...we're all a little nervous.

But back in August when I was fretting over entrance exams, I went and bought three tickets to Hawaii. Pretty much I guessed at the dates having no idea what high school he'd go to and when it would start or when the orientation would be, and I ended up being very luckily and guessing right. He has a mere week between junior high and high school and we'll be in the islands trying to soak up sun and drink as many fancy fruity drinks as we can. Oh, J says they also gave them homework today. So he'll have his feet in the sand and his nose in a book.

Stay tuned for photos though. I've got a feeling I'm going to take a picture of every fruit-filled drink I drink. I'm bringing the Mac with me to keep up with news in Japan, so I might *gasp* update every day! Might, I tell you, I've also got a lot of sleep to catch up on. ^^v


Phillip Starr said...

:-) Thank God, you all are okay!!!! I was worried sick. What's the story with the radiation?

Pat said...

Hey, there will be none of this sleeping stuff when you are in Hawaii - we want pics!!!! Are the cats going with Cha to the doggie hotel or have they come out from under the bed yet?

It's a miracle J wasn't at Disney World. Strange how things happen, hm? Hope he likes the new school.

NormalToEatPB said...

I am so relieved that you and your family are okay, I wasnt sure where you were in relation to the earthquake and tsunami so its a relief to see this post. Are you worried about radiation? How are you protecting yourselves?

Grace @ Sandier Pastures said...

The tremor was felt all the way to Shizuoka? I can only imagine how it must be at the epicenter. Glad to know all of you are fine and omedetou to your son for graduation Junior highschool!

Kappa no He said...

Sifu, radiation is a worry. I'm keeping an eye on the news and various monitoring systems. My Japanese relating to nuclear plants and radiation is quite impressive now. Who woulda thought...

Pat, my father-in-law will be looking after the cats. My mother-in-law asked if they predicted anything and I said, um, yeah, sure they did! So she wants to help him too.

Would you believe the forecast is calling for rain while we're there? I'm grabbing one of those waterproof cameras and going out anyway!

NormalToEatPB, I found some sites that have daily monitoring of air and water for each prefecture. Watching those diligently. I'm hoping everything will be fixed in Fukushima by the time I get back. *fingerscrossed*

Grace, I know! My friend in Osaka said she even felt it. Unbelievable. Thanks for the wishes, I'll let Julyan know. He's very happy to be out of there. ^^;

Hilary said...

Well I'm glad I didn't have to worry about you for too long. I was very relieved to get at reply to my email as quickly as that. Congrats to J and I hope you have a wonderful and safe trip. Looking forward to hearing about it.

Mary Witzl said...

I know people in Kansai who said it went on there for ages too. I can't get over that. In Chiba, we never felt even the merest flicker during the Hanshin earthquake, but this one was so powerful they could feel it from Sendai to Kansai. That is scary.

I remember the rice hoarding of 1993, after the coolest summer in record. I felt like crying, just thinking about that cool summer the summer later, when I was pregnant. A cool summer is just what you want when you're the size of an aircraft carrier.

One of my friends in Sendai said that when he finally saw his inbox, he was floored by all the people who'd sent him worried emails and well wishes. I thought that was sweet and felt all the better for sending my frantic ARE YOU ALL RIGHT? email.

Glad you're okay and not getting all panicked over this!

MDK said...

I, too was very relieved when you replied to my email. Glad everything is OK and slowly returning to normal. Hawaii? WOW! I wanna go!

Have a safe and wonderful vacation with your family.

Kappa no He said...

Hilary, thanks a bunch. Child is currently snoring. I can't sleep. It's midnight here but something like 7am in Japan.

Mary, that's right. You were here during that! And I'm sure you were never big as an aircraft carrier.

(^ ~)

MDK, and thank you for writing. It made me smile.