National Earthquake Week

Posted on Saturday, August 15, 2009 | 0 comments

This past week was national earthquake week here in Japan. Bet you didn't know they had that, did you? Seriously, look it up on Wikipedia. They reviewed earthquake records from the last 100 years and saw that earthquakes are most likely to happen during this period in August for some reason. So it's been declared National Earthquake Safety Awareness Week, crazy huh?? And it sure wasn't a quiet week this year!
The first one happened Sunday night Japan time, just before 9 p.m. We were staying in Yokohama, and I'd been lying down sleeping due to some sort of stomach flu. The quake was enough to wake me up, and Yuki and I sort of stared at each other for a very long while and waited for the waves to stop. I think at one point I even said 'I want off this boat', it lasted so long (which really didn't help with the nausea!).
Wasabi, for her part, woke up and dove under the bed about halfway through; so much for pets being able to predict impending natural disasters! And I'm glad that the waves weren't more damaging; had the bed collapsed, we would've had one kitty pancake! But that quake was apparently quite deep and didn't really do much damage, thankfully.
Monday night, though, I was again woken up, this time I think around 1 am. And once more, it was a pretty long quake but with no real damage in Yokohama. Finally, also mimicking the previous night, Wasabi dove under the bed after waking up about halfway through the quake. We apparently need to work a little bit on our reaction speed!
...When we turned on the news later that morning, we heard that Shizuoka (where we live) had been the epicenter for that one. The toll road had been closed due to damage, the bullet train stopped for a while, and part of the wall around the prefectural castle had collapsed, along with the roofs of some houses. Yuki's company had quite a few broken windows, as did other businesses in the area. As far as I know, there was only one casuality, though--a woman died after a bunch of her books fell on her. How sad! Who knew that a love of reading could ever be a bad thing.
We came back here on Wednesday evening and discovered some damage in our apartment, too: a couple of wine glasses had fallen off the shelf and smashed all over, plus my own bookcase in the attic suffered some structural damage and books were strewn about the floor. So nothing too bad, but from what I hear, most people were really shaken up (no pun intended) by the whole thing.

Aftermath of the earthquake....or a night of wild partying?

Finally, when we were climbing Mt. Fuji overnight on Thursday, another quake struck here in the late afternoon. No notable damage from this one, although I have to admit that the sheer number of quakes in such a short time is rather nerve-wracking! Shizuoka is rumored to be the site of the next 'big one', but that rumor's persisted for at least 60 years. Here's hoping that Mother Earth's gotten rid of her indigestion with these few burps and will quiet down for a while now!

PS Ok, it's actually not National Earthquake Week; there's no such thing. I just pulled that one out of my nether regions...Since we had 3 earthquakes within 5 days, I'm taking the liberty of declaring it earthquake week, though!