Saturday, 15 August 2009

Bracing for Quakes

Be afraid. Be very afraid. The Big One is probably not far away.

I'm betting 50 Yen there's going to be another earthquake this morning. Don't get me wrong. I'm not looking forward to it. In fact, I'm slightly troubled.

Sunday. I almost dozed off in front of the terminal. Then it began with some small tremors, which nevertheless shook the wooden shack rather badly. It could be the passing herd of elephants, I thought; they do that all the time. But then, the tremors grew stronger. The walls squeaked in protest, the bookshelf swayed angrily, the kitchen rack threatened to smash the dishes on the floor, every piece of furniture came to live. It was hard to tell which one it was: a poltergeist or an earthquake. For a moment, I thought about diving under the desk for cover. But, the tremors stopped. Everything settled down again as if the spell that brought them to live suddenly wore off.


Tuesday. As early as five in the morning, I was rudely jolted awake from my sleep. This one didn't last as long, but perhaps I was too sound asleep that I only woke up towards the end of the earthquake. The scale of the earthquake as reported by the meteorological department: 6. And the epicenter was in Shizuoka, one of the neighbouring prefectures of Tokyo.


That's it. If the typhoon alert wasn't a good reason enough to cancel our Mt. Fuji hiking trip that night, this was it. Mt. Fuji did not erupt that day, but damages were reported in Shizuoka. Part of Tomei expressway that links between Tokyo and Nagoya collapsed. Repair works immediately started to restore the expressway before the obon rush.

Thursday. At about 7.30 in the morning, I returned home from a nightly excursion to catch the meteor shower. Not soon after I hopped into the bathtub, there came another earthquake! Holy crap. It wasn't an easy choice to choose between evacuating in a towel and dying naked. But luckily, I was spared the trouble of deciding; the tremors stopped before long.


Everyone's been expecting the great Tokai earthquake, which has hit Shizuoka every 100 to 150 years without fail throughout history. The most recent one occured in 1854. So it's not a surprise if the next one happens anytime. And should that happen, there's no telling how much damage and casualty it's going to bring, especially to its neighbouring city, the densely-populated Tokyo metropolitan.

It is only natural to believe that Tuesday's earthquake is a prelude to the Big One but experts said there's no connection whatsoever. The mechanism of the earthquake was different. But I say it's better to be safe than sorry. So I thought I should get ready an emergency backpack. But guess what. All that I've got right now is a torchlight, some canned food, instant noodle, biscuits, chocolates, a bottle of drink, a pack of chewing gum in the kitchen cabinet; two bananas, two onions, 10 eggs in the fridge; and 100 grams of prawns, two slices of tuna in the freezer.

Good. I'll probably be able to survive at least for a day.

Meanwhile, I'm going to bed in a helmet.

God bless.

1 persons flung their shoes:

phyee86 said...

aaahhhh, now i understand that helmet part in your facebook status....