Bit by bit, the Blackcabbit crafts its nest of DIY handmade art and illustrates a kingdom of doodle critters to beautify the world she lives in.
11 March 2011 (14:46hrs) is now a day that will haunt Japan forever. It was just a day after we celebrated our son’s Hatsu Tanjo (First birthday). Like any other day, Baby was taking his afternoon nap while I was glued to my computer. Then the house started shaking violently. Instinctively, I grabbed Baby and joined my MIL under our dining table. The strong tremors continued and we could hear the house creaking and things falling.
Shortly, the Kinkyu Jishin Sokuho (緊急地震速報 / Earthquake Early Warning) interrupted TV programs and announced that Eastern Japan was hit by really strong earthquakes. Particularly, Kurihara City (栗原市) of Miyagi Prefecture (宮城県) in Tohoku Region (東北) had a devastating Shindo 7 – the maximum level in Japanese Earthquake Scale. If based on Richter scale, it was a horrifying magnitude 9, making it the largest earthquake ever recorded in Japan.
On the other hand, our home in Chiba (千葉) in the Kanto Region (関東) experienced a Shindo 5 Jyaku (震度5弱). So far, in my brief two-year stay in Japan, I’d experienced nothing more than a Shindo 3. Having been through a Shindo 5 was enough to shake me up.
Shindo (震度) or Seismic Intensity describes the scale of Japanese earthquake
by Japan Meteorological (JMA) in 10 degrees:
0 (imperceptible), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5-Lower, 5-Upper, 6-Lower, 6 upper, 7.
To make matter worst, I am not sure where is the safest place in our house to run for cover. Until recently, we were told to dive under a sturdy table for immediate protection. However, after the Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake, a disaster researcher said on TV that taking cover under a table, contrary to popular belief, is not advisable. Instead, one has a better chance of surviving if they are crouching along the roka (廊下 / corridor). She explained that a table, especially if it is in the middle of the house, is most likely to be crushed if the ceiling or second floor comes down.
Ever since I learnt about this, I got really confused. Furthermore, we don’t have a corridor. So now, every time an aftershock occurs, I will lose time to decide whether to cringe against a corner wall, or curl up next to a big furniture, or giving our sturdy-looking dining table another chance. And to make matter worst, I have yet to figure out how to lug a one-year-old baby and two cats (one of them is over 9kg!) at the same time.