I was gently woken at 4:47am this morning to the swaying of my bed. I headed right to the Japanese Meteorological Agency website to check the numbers – 5.3. I shouldn’t have felt a 5.3 in my new apartment on the 4th floor so it was pretty close by. [4.9 on the Richter scale]
The horrible tsunami happened March of 2011 and it is still pretty raw (remember looking at every airplane overhead in 2002?). Over the past 10 months, I have experienced quite a few earthquakes in Japan.
My first earthquake happened in my first week.
It was 6pm on the Friday night of my first week and we were about to close up and head out for a beer. We were in a post-war era building in Tsurumi and the alarms came on. We shook vertically then horizontally. And by shook, rocked side to side for about ten minutes. 6.4.
Where were you when it happened? Since we were not allowed to leave the building, the conversation started about 11 March. My coworkers recounted being in a very tall, new building in Yokohama and stuck because of flooding. To give you some context, the distance from Soma, Fukushima to Yokohama is 330km (roughly 4 hours by car).
They said the “BIG” one is coming. I was freaked out and the horror continued when my coworker started talking about the “big” one. There is published tracking of regular intervals for the Tokai Earthquake and apparently, it’s due. There are scientists that are saying 70% probability of this major event (8) between 2012-2016. The population in this area is about 15 million people.
The proper emergency response for an earthquake: stay put because the water is coming. At the time, I was living on the 28th floor of a hotel on the Yokohama Bay. Surely, I was high enough but being directly over water made me nervous.
If you are in a new building, you are ok. The hotel was built in 1998 and while that is pretty new, I was on the 28th floor. “New” was the first feature I thought of when I went apartment hunting in September.
Hey, can I have your phone number? Decidedly aware from all of this information that I had no one to contact if something happened so I collected phone numbers that night to keep in my purse.
Hopefully, my one way ticket to Denver will come before anymore Quake Wakes.