Friday, June 19, 2015

The Aspie Traveler: Japan Day Five: QUAKE!


I had just finished writing about Casper and had sat my iPad down and had taken a pill and got into bed when I felt a rumbling. I thought I felt this the previous night and had told my dad this earlier in the day but that I was unsure if it had happened or if I were dreaming it but here was this sensation again. It felt as if I were in a car traveling down a mildly bumpy road. "Maybe I'm tired" I thought to myself and accounted it to being potentially dizzy. Do I get dizzy? No, but what else could it be?

The rolling sensation continue and then BAM! It was a force I've never felt (I had felt a 3.7 in SoCal in 2014 which was nothing compared to this) nor could have ever imagined. It knocked things off the shelf, almost took the tv with it, and I went into a scramble trying to change into my pants that had my passport in it as the worst case scenario came into my mind.

I was going to write about; there are so many signs that that tsunami and earthquake info as in where to go and what level the sign is at in regards to sea level. I couldn't understand it minus knowing 3.2m is 3.2 meters about sea level and the word tsunami. All other aspects were lost but why should I take notice of those signs? As I scrambled wondering what to do and where to go and wondering how long the shaking would go on, and if it would get any stronger, were in the forefront of my brain.

It seemed like an eon. Sirens could now be heard which just amplified the anxiety along with the mortal fear. Images of the 2011 quake crossed my mind and I wondered how difficult the upcoming moments would be, if there would be any moments at all. It's cliché, but life flashed before my eyes. I thought back to the tornado, the incident that knocked me out of the flagstand, and now I was in the midst of an earthquake that was progressively getting stronger and I wanted it all to stop. Please, just stop!

When I finally managed to get my passport and get out of my hotel room it ceased; just like that! No fanfare, no ebbing, it went from shaking violently to done as if nothing had happened just like that. For us tourists out of our hotel rooms there was no mistaken our facial expressions as we all were in the same place with images of tsunamis, fires, and destruction everywhere. At the same time there was a look of, "is it over? Are we safe,"

When one travels to places foreign to them they may get the experience of the locals. In the end this earthquake was reported to be a monstrous 8.5 but it was far off shore and very deep. That being said, to have that much force is something that I can't imagine. Had it been closer, had the epicenter been higher. What would've happened? I don't know how one could get used to the constant threat of an earthquake. In the Midwest in the US we have tornadoes, but one doesn't sneak up on your (typically, my experience earlier this year is a rarity) as the national weather service will usually have a watch issued hours before the impending storm. An earthquake has no watch, has no forecast; I can't go to weather.com and see the forecast for earthquakes and severity. I don't know how I would've been with my fear of weather had it been earthquakes.

Now I have to figure out how to go to sleep. I know there's something called aftershocks and I some cases they can be... Stronger. How can I sleep with that knowledge? I need to sleep though because if tomorrow happens I'm going on a tour to Mt Fuji on a bus and then taking the bullet train home. That's going to be exciting! But what about tonight? I'm going to hear every creak, if there's a gust of wind I'm going to feel it, and at the slightest sense that I feel a rolling situation I'm going to fear the worst and I'm going to wish I took earthquake drills seriously in 2nd grade and I'm really going to want to know what those earthquake/tsunami signs around the city say.

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