Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The big earthquake in Japan (March 11th)

I was typing an email asking for help with few things that I couldn’t understand with the work I was doing these few days. When I had types a lot of stuff in the email and was almost nearing completion, suddenly the building started to shake. It was an earthquake. It started slowly, and I didn’t really care much because we had a similar earthquake a couple of days ago. But it was not the same. This one was much larger. The intensity grew larger, and I reached for the safety helmet kept under the table. But when I got the helmet and checked what everyone was doing, there was no-one to be seen. Everybody was under their desks. What can I do? I did the same. They should know better than I. It went for a long time, increasing in strength. Suddenly the power went out. My email!!!! Damn it.

I wasn’t afraid until I heard some cracking noises in the building. I began to think about the worst case. The first thing that came to my mind was how the World Trade Center collapsed almost a decade ago. I saw it collapse live on TV. That was scary. I thought it might happen to us. But eventually it stopped. Phew! No damages to where I was at.

There was a fear on everyone’s faces. For most people, even the Japanese, this quake was the largest they had felt. (No kidding, as this is the 4th largest quake ever reported.) Anyways, we did get some more quakes every few minutes: aftershocks they are called, and they were tiny. Oh wait, there was a kind of big on that happened about an hour after. I cannot remember the exact time. One of the guys at work said he posted about the first one on Facebook while he was under the table. I did the same for the second one.

From the main hall of the office, we could see distant explosions or fires. All of them were extinguished eventually. We waited for a while, without anything to do: chit chatting for the most part. There was no power in the building; what else could we do? Then there was an announcement saying that there won’t be power for some time, so we were told that we could either leave for home, or go to the other building which apparently had power.  We decided to do the latter. There was no way to get home anyways. The trains had stopped operations, we could see large queues for taxies and buses. So we decided to stay at work (that is, in the other building) till regular office hours.

At 1800hrs, we came down from the office, and decided to walk home. There was no other thing we could do. We assumed that, even if we somehow manage to get into a taxi or a bus, it would take many hours before we could get home, because of the traffic. (mostly due to traffic lights not working) It is a long walk back home. About 14km as per Google maps. We started the walk at around 1810hrs, and after almost 4hours of walking, we got back home at around 2200hrs. Yes, it shouldn’t have taken us that long, but we stopped few times: for food, and then to check if there were rent-a-car shops where we could rent a car and get back home. There were two senior with us who had licenses. No luck with rent-a-car services.

One more thing, the whole town where our company if situated in, was in dark. It was so strange.

After I got back home, there were still few aftershocks. I even showed it to my girlfriend, as one of them happened right when I was in a call with her. Hehe. Anyways, there wasn’t much I couldn’t do that day, so I chatted with few people and went to sleep.

P.S.

I had no idea whether the tsunami had really happened, or how devastating if was if it happened. I did not have the TV setup. It is too big and no place to keep it.

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