Fortnight after the Earthquake

Two weeks have passed after 9.0-Magnitude Earthquake hit Japan. I cannot but feel so grateful for all the prayers and support to Japan from around the world. Indeed, we are facing immense challenge, but I am hopeful that we are united to overcome this difficult times.

While praying for the people suffering from cold, fear, hunger and sorrow, and sending utmost gratitude for those workers in the nuclear power plant to avoid further catastrophe, let me write a little bit about what had happened around me in Tokyo on March 11, and thereafter.

I was at my desk as usual in the afternoon of Friday, March 11. When I was talking with my colleagues at around 2:45pm, a loud siren warning earthquake rang. As we turned on the TV to gather information, it started swaying a little bit; the TV showed that there was an earthquake in Northern part of Honshu Island. With that initial information, I imagined at that moment, Tokyo was rocking slightly, reflecting an earthquake few hundred kilometers away. However, even after a while, it didn't stop quaking, and we started to feel that this is not a usual earthquake. We even felt the shake become larger and larger, the size of an earthquake which I had never experienced. We looked around, and saw the bookshelves dance, squeaking. Someone said "we should hide ourselves under the desk" (which is what we all learn in school in Japan) and I did so. It was the first time ever in my life that I indeed hid myself under the desk outside school.

When the big quake was gone, we could by that time understand that this could be an unprecedented earthquake. The old TV was not showing visual image anymore, but we could hear the TV announcer alarming for tsunami. I checked the web for more information. It was a level 5+ quake in Tokyo, and level 7 at the earthquake center. Subsequently (after we fixed the TV), TV started showing pictures from the tragic Northern cities... I could not believe my eyes... I suppose I needn't write much about what it showed, since it was broadcast all over the globe.

Within next 30 minutes or so, we started to collect documents on past earthquakes, to learn measures to tackle the situation. In the meanwhile, we also tried to contact our families either by e-mails or by telephones. Phone lines were not working, and it took time to reach each other. It was an irritating moment. I knew we had to work and get going, but I couldn't focus much.

Trains stopped that day, and everyone lost their transportation to their homes. Some decided to go home on foot (with determination that they would walk for at least couple of hours); others decided to wait until trains recover, or simply stay at the office that night. Some local trains resumed their service, but I decided to stay over with couple of other colleagues. Aftershocks came quite frequently that night. We kept on the TV to get up-to-date information, checked Internet, chatted sometimes, and took a brief rest.

It was a cold night in Tokyo. I went out several times to see what was going on in the city. It was nothing like an ordinary night: there were many people on street, heading to their homes in many groups. There were volunteers wearing bright jackets showing their will to support those who need help. There were also civil patrol volunteers. It was reported that many stores offered free space for tired people who could not reach home, or provided free Wifi, battery charge, etc. I was quietly proud of this mutual support amongst strangers.

Two weeks have passed since that day, but we still don't know the entire extent of the damage to our society. Crisis is on-going, because the earthquake triggered nuclear plant crisis which is not yet solved. Lots of people are striving to regain their life, after having lost/missing their loved ones, their cozy home, and their usual daily life. At this moment, only thing I can say is that we are determined to support those in sorrow and inconvenience; we are more than thankful for those workers fighting to stop the nuclear plant crisis, and we are touched by many support from around the world. This shared feeling is strengthening ties amongst people. Indeed, we are still in difficult times, but we are all working for, and envisioning for bright future in the now-devastating areas. And I am sure we can make it happen.



花火 2010年は、祖母と叔母と、香港で迎えました。日本の除夜の鐘から遅れること1時間、香港ではビクトリア・ハーバー沿いで9つのビルから一斉に花火が打ち上げられました。(ちょっと暗いですが、右の写真がそのときのもの。香港政府観光局HPなども参考になるでしょうか。)

 更に、元旦は中国深センまでの日帰りバスツアーに参加予定だったのですが、どういう訳か、これまた所定の場所に所定の時間にいたにもかかわらず、ピックアップされず。。異常に気づいて旅行会社に電話して、他の人たちに遅れる事30分、私たちはタクシーで最寄駅(Hung Hom)まで連れて行かれ、そこから電車に乗って深センとの国境の町、羅湖(Lo Wu)へ。歩いて国境を渡ってからは、専属でめちゃくちゃ日本語が上手な中国人ガイドさんが付っきりで案内してくれたのでした。これまた結果として、自分たちのペースで観光など出来て、おばあちゃんも大満足で、とっても良かった。

七草粥 帰国してからは、やや体調を崩してしまっているのですが、今後の無病息災を祈りつつ、今朝は七草粥を楽しみました。


※後日追記 複数の方から、「あなたの厄年はもう終わっているはずだ」との指摘をいただきました。慌てて調べなおすと、その通り、既に今年は後厄のようで…。あまり気にせず厄年をやり過ごしてしまっていたようです。自分のいい加減さに、今回は改めて呆れてしまいました。失礼いたしました、また、ご指摘ありがとうございました。







(『夫木和歌抄』より 後京極摂政)

(清少納言『枕草子』 28段「にくきもの」より)




September 07, 2009 in 近況/四季| PermalinkComments(2)TrackBack(0)












Halloween 1週末、むか〜しからの友人の家に友達と遊びに行っていました。4ヶ月になる彼女の子供に会うのも主目的のひとつ。




Halloween 2ということで、色々と感動したので本当に久しぶりにブログの更新。

Happy Halloween!