Friday, March 11, 2011
March 11 Tokyo Earthquake
At 3 this afternoon as I write this (it's now 6:30 PM, Friday, March 11; edit: - making small corrections Saturday morning before posting this) the Tokyo/Kanagawa area got hit with a major earthquake that lasted well over a full minute. I've been through small quakes before, and usually I just kind of sit in place and wait to see what happens. Mostly they're so mild that no one else notices them. I had been in one quake back in 1994, when I was working in a video game company up on the 9th floor of the office building, that was strong enough to send one of the office women scrambling under a table in tears. But this one really scared me. My apartment is at the top of a 14-story building, and the shaking threw stuff all over the floor.
Broken dishes, spilled drinks, toppled computer monitors, etc. The flat panel TV was knocked over and now it doesn't work anymore (we're going to have it looked at by the shop this weekend, I hope). Our apartment actually lost power, apparently because the quake managed to physically trip the main breaker. It's taken close to 3 hours for phone service (both land and cell) to be restored. Without power, and no phone, there was no way to get information about the severity of the quake. Because I could still feel aftershocks, I insisted that we go outside and away from the building in case we started getting falling glass or fires. At ground level, the aftershocks were much less noticeable, but you could see the traffic signals waving around on their cables, and people kept stopping near the police box to complain that the shocks weren't stopping.
Funny enough, most stores remained open. The trains have all stopped running, and my building didn't restart elevator service until around 8 PM. There's a small electrics store across the street from my building, so I bought a battery-powered AM/FM radio. I can't get any AM reception at all, but the first FM station I found had non-stop announcements on the quakes. Seems there were four quakes together, and the fires out at the Odaiba amusement center are still burning.
As of 4:30 AM there were STILL aftershocks.
The apartment needs cleaning enough now that instead of eating fresh fish for dinner tonight that we're going to have to eat out. I'm looking forward to eating okonomiyaki and drinking beer. And I have no idea if the trains will be running again for me to go to work tomorrow morning.