1 Story from Tokyo, Japan: Experiencing the 9.0 Earthquake

Dear friends,

It has been a week since the earthquake. My family and I are safe.

When the earthquake happened, I was at work. It was a smaller quake first, and gradually became so strong that I couldn’t stand up. I hid myself under the desk, and the quake continued for a few minutes. 20 or so minutes after the first quake, there was a big aftershock, and suddenly an announcement saying “All employees evacuate immediately!” We all evacuated to a nearby park, and after taking roll and confirming that no one was injured, we were dismissed for the day.

That very same day, almost all subways and trains stopped functioning properly. Tons of people were stuck at every station, and those stranded were called “going-home refugees”. Some decided to go home by foot, which took a few hours, and others stayed at the station or at nearby schools or community centers that were able to accommodate them. My sister and brother couldn’t go home, so they stayed in their offices. Luckily, I bike to work, so I was able to go home.

On Monday, when I went back to my job at the aircraft maintenance company, we were told that our Sendai plant in the Tohoku area near the earthquake’s epicenter was badly damaged. The Tsunami hit and destroyed the entire first floor, including several aircraft and helicopters under maintenance. All employees were able to evacuate to a higher floor, and were later on rescued. Quite a few of our employees are from the Tohoku area and were devastated by Tsunami; I heard that one of my co-workers lost his home in Sendai.

As many of you may already know, the biggest earthquake and the tsunami totaled parts of the Tohoku area, but it certainly affects the Kanto area as well. Since the electric company cannot provide enough electricity for everyone, we are suffering serious power shortages in Tokyo and elsewhere.
In order to avoid the worst case scenario, the electric company decided to conduct electricity rationing. Last night the area I live in had a blackout for 2 hours. The streetlights and signals were not lit; it was like a ghost town. This electricity rationing is said to continue on for a few months.

We don’t have enough gasoline either. A lot of gas stations are closed because they ran out of gas, and when one opens cars swarm into the station.
Luckily, our family doesn’t own a car, but the gas shortage causes another issue: a food supply shortage.

The supermarkets in my area don’t have enough eggs, milk, and even toilet paper. For now, we’re not able to buy batteries, diapers, sanitary pads, or mineral water anywhere. It seems that we have enough supplies, but since logistics are not flowing well things cannot be delivered anywhere quickly enough.

These problems are nothing compared to the situation that the Tohoku area is suffering from, but these are certainly anxious factors to all Japanese people. Also, a lot of people including myself cannot help imagining that the ground is always shaking, although there is no earthquake.

It is hard to imagine that we are stuck in this kind of situation. It’s like some bad, cliched movie, but this is real.
I feel powerless that I cannot be much help for those evacuees in Tohoku area, but I am always thinking what I can do.

But one thing that I believe is keeping the Japanese people hopeful is our care for one another and strong will to support our nation. We won’t give up!!!

Thank you all for your warm-hearted thoughts about Japan. The news is reporting that we have support everyday from countries all over the world, and I myself received many kindhearted messages and phone calls from overseas. We are all grateful that we have the best friends on earth, and though it might take some time, we will for sure repay our love to all of you.


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