Friends and family frequently ask me about earthquakes. How is it with these earthquakes?Earthquakes are not uncommon in Japan. Sometimes there are little and I think it’s just a truck passing nearby. Such shocks have outputs up to 4 degrees on the Richter scale . And sometimes there are larger and then I don’t really know how to behave.
The first of these more severe earthquakes I experienced in a state of intoxication. After a boozy evening in Izakaya I went to sleep and woke up a few hours later, looking around surprised. Everything around me was spinning. The first thought – Oh my, I’m so drunk ! When I felt the floor was shaking so much that moved the mattress on which I lay it occurred to me that it was something more serious. I was so surprised that I didn’t hide. It took less than 2 minutes. The other day I checked, it was an earthquake of strength 5.5 on the Richter scale.
Now when these larger earthquakes enter I jump under the desk because I’d prefer that nothing would fell on my head. The other residents of the house either do nothing, or hold some things.
One day I asked Masako what they experienced during the earthquake of March 11th, 2011, which was the largest earthquake within 140 years and reached 9 degrees on the Richter scale. That day there were several shocks. Shortly before the biggest shock there were several smaller ones. Masako from the morning was in the bamboo forest, which is behind the house. Children in school, and husband at work. After one shock she came home and put off all the things at the place. After some time came another shock, bigger one. Fortunately nothing happened to her , but a lot of things have been destroyed ( part of the house too. Then she helped neighbors, because their house collapsed and they were trapped inside. Earthquake caused tsunami waves ( tsu – harbor, nami – wave ) . Mito is located 10 km from the sea, but a tsunami was not reached.
The earthquake of 2011 also made many other changes. According to the researchers from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, an earthquake shifted Earth’s axis by at least 10 cm. In contrast, NASA claims that it shortened the day by 1.6 microseconds . The earthquake also shifted Honshu 2.4 m, and the tectonic plates fell by more than 18 meters.
Two years ago a tragedy occurred . Many people died and many were left without a roof over their heads. Losses amounted to 235 billion USD making this the most expensive natural disaster in history. Nevertheless, I believe that the tide of destruction would be higher if an earthquake of the same power happened in another country. Japan is prepared for earthquakes. The buildings are built on rubber shock absorbers. Sliding walls and foundation mats made of teflon play important role as well . The Internet is full of videos that showed skyscrapers swaying (example). It looks scary, but this is because of the rubber on which they are situated. Japan has a special warning system. Before the biggest shock alarm information in television broadcasts was given.
I wonder how the earthquake affects on humans. At night many times I happen to wake up at about 5 minutes before the shock . Masako says that before every major earthquake she feels anxiety . Sometimes, she says to the family members “It’s coming” and actually earthquake appears. In any case, in order not meet this situation in which I do not know if it’s my head that it’s spinning or earth is spinning around, I try to avoid alcohol in Japan – well, apart from a bit of sake, for a peaceful night’s sleep.