Being in Japan for several years, I am used to small tremors. I can still remember vividly the very first time I experienced a small quake in Japan. The office started to shake and I am getting ready with my bag to run out of the office but my Japanese officemates were still busy doing their jobs calmly. I stayed put and continued working too.
Fast forward to last Thursday, March 10, 2011 at around 0620H, I was awaken by a tremor. I told my officemates that it was a more effective alarm than my ordinary clock but I am not looking forward to it.
Friday, March 11, 2011 at around 1500H. I was in a conference room having an internal meeting when the place began to shake. As usual, we (three Japanese and two Filipinos) just ignored it. But this was different, we realized. The tremor continued and it was getting stronger and stronger by the seconds. Many things were running on my mind. I kept on thinking about my family in the Philippines. As the quake grew bigger, I grabbed my things and then I heard my boss shouting to open the internet and check the location of the earthquake. I was dumbfounded. I was running for my life. When I went out of the room I saw some of my officemates at the ground floor area with all their belongings, ready to go home.
Just when we were planning to go home, our administrator asked everyone of us to stay inside the office as JR lines (transportation services) immediately ceased its operations. You can't believe how crowded the train stations were. Most of the stranded commuters returned to their offices, and others to drinking bars and karaokes. Everyone was becoming more and more paranoid with each aftershock especially as night time loomed. That was the longest night ever. Praying and hoping that no more earthquake to happen.
Saturday, March 12, 2011 at around 0730H. We took the first train which was scheduled at 0630H. It eventually moved at around 0820H. As expected the train was jam-packed and there were no space to move around. Our normal travel from office to apartment is 1 hour, but that one took two hours. Everyone was weary. That was the strongest earthquake I've experienced. 8.9 magnitude earthquake just hit Japan!
After we went out of the station, we looked for a place to eat but to no avail. Some continued to find a place, some just went home with empty stomachs. On the bus, I kept on thinking how my room was after the quake. But after seeing the cracks in our apartment's ground floor, I expected the worse.
And I was right. i guess it was a blessing in disguise that it was a working day. and that the transportation ceased its operation, thus forcing us to stay in the office.
My room was a big mess. See video below.
Lots of things had happened for the past few days that I hope we had skipped March 11, 2011. Many were affected by the deadly quake, tsunami, fire in oil refinery and power plant explosion. Food were becoming scarce. Gasoline too. Most people in Japan were on panic-buying mode and I can't blame them for that. Each one wants to survive. I do too.
Even as of this writing, Japan is still experiencing aftershocks. I can't count how many times I woke up last night because of tremors.
Be still Japan. Please.