Blackcabbit's World

Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.

When the Calamitous Earthquake Strike…

Tohoku Kanto Earthquake

A Really Grim Friday

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 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.

Where, O Where to Run?

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.


Flashbacks: Terror of a Monstrous Wave
String of Bad News


4 comments on “When the Calamitous Earthquake Strike…

  1. Alan Zulch
    March 24, 2011

    I’m glad you and yours are okay.

  2. Purin
    March 23, 2011

    I guess…seeing the things happening around the world, it’s best that we do emergency drill at home.

    Take care, dear.

    • blackcabbit
      March 23, 2011

      Yup, especially Fatty Cat needs to practice numerous emergency drills. During and after the big quake, Gracie was very smart, she followed me all the time, even know how to hide under the table together. But fat boy, aiyo, he ran the opposite direction (into our room which we ran out from)! I kept yelling and yelling for him but he refused to budge at all.

      • Min
        March 23, 2011

        Pooh-chan really needs to man up.
        Hmm…I suppose it depends on the table and the materials the house is made of. I have no idea. :/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on March 23, 2011 by in Life in Japan and tagged .
%d bloggers like this: