Well, first of all, I’m plenty safe up here in the mountains, though there was a 1 or 2 meter wave that found its way to my prefecture’s shore, originating on the other side of Japan. I’m sure any of you can check the news and see that it was a truly massive earthquake that did some major damage to the north east of Japan. There has been enormous coastal flooding, with entire communities being washed away. Despite being the 7th strongest earthquake in recorded history, a magnitude 8.9, and the largest in Japanese records, it wasn’t close enough for me to feel it.
I had just gotten off work, walked back from my closest school, and there was a flurry of excitement about it online. I hadn’t heard of it, and given how calm all my teachers had been, neither had they. I walked back over, asked if they heard. They calmly replied yes, to which I assumed they were referring to the harmless one a few days ago. I said people had died, it was a massive magnitude, and that it was on TV right now. They check it out, and were amazed at what was happening. Fires, flooding, massive damage etc, all in their own country.
To me, being in the presence of these people standing in awe of their homeland suffering was the most interesting to me. Think all the way back to the twin towers incident; it felt a lot like that. Obviously there is a major difference between an attack on a country and a national disaster, but the effect on the people seemed to be the same. You just sort of stand there, and you just sort of watch. There are plenty of comments as to whether or not people are OK, or basic commentary, but the main thing is that they are all humbled by the lack of information. No one knows how many could be dead, how great the devastation will be, how far the wave will travel inland, or even what will happen in the coming days, and as such are only left to hope and wonder. Its an interesting time to observe any person. If it was going to happen, I suppose I am glad I can be here to see and feel its effects firsthand among the people. It will certainly be far more significant in this way than to simply hear on the news of another big disaster in East Asia.