When I first moved to Japan earthquakes didn’t bother me much. There were many of them and they didn’t really do anything apart from make everything shake. But that all changed with the Tohoku Earthquake in 2011. Now I’m very aware of the horror a quake can cause. This morning shortly after 5am we experienced the strongest quake to shake Tokyo since 2011. And it really wasn’t pleasant. I think part of the problem is that I feel trapped when the building starts to shake. There isn’t anywhere you can go as you certainly shouldn’t try to leave. But when the building is jolted and swaying it feels unnatural to stay inside. I want out. The other issue is the uncertainty. You can’t easily tell anything much other than the fact the earthquake is big. The earthquake this morning had a magnitude of 6.2 and was felt at either a weak 5 or a 4 in this area. So, it was certainly big enough to to make me feel slightly panicked.
The earthquake got us out of bed when the emergency alarm system started. The local government disaster administration wireless broadcast is tested everyday at 5pm, but it is tested with music. This morning, when they used words, we had no idea what was being said. It echoed and distorted off the buildings. For all I know it was saying “we come in peace” but since we couldn’t understand it we turned on the T.V. and listened to the announcements. The T.V. presenter looked nervous but things quickly calmed down and thankfully there was no tsunami warning.
I mostly enjoy living in Japan but I now have nightmares about earthquakes.