The Great Tohoku Earthquake

The evil army landed upon shore and emptied its ships upon the beach. They poured over the fields by hundreds, by thousands, towards the castle on a hill. Through the deserted town they rampaged, setting fire to buildings, smashing windows as they went. The good king and his people fell to their knees, the rich and the poor. They clasped their hands together and cry, “God save your people!”

And God heard their cries. He reached down his hand and struck the earth, churning the waters of the sea. A great wall of water rose, arching mightily over the army. The evil general turned his head at the thunderous roar, in time to see it crashing down upon him a waterfall of power. The waves picked up and carried the horses, soldiers, war machines, ships, and hurled them against the cliff side, where they shattered and broke, never to threaten the kingdom again. The people looked down from safety and raised a joyful cheer…

I’ve seen that somewhere….it sounds like the happy ending of a movie.

This image makes my heart scream with grief.

I am agnostic. That means I believe there could be a God. There might not be. I don’t know…I’m open minded. I try and live by the motto, “Love people. Be good to people.” Sometimes I see something that truly seems like a blessing, but these past few days, I really wonder …. I saw a ‘twitpic’ of the tsunami in northern Japan, and underneath someone had written, “god save your people.’ That phrase keeps repeating itself again and again in my mind.

At 2:30 PM on Friday, I went into the supermarket to get a snack before I started work. As I was choosing my register, I saw two people on the floor behind one. I peered over the shoulder of the lady in my way, and saw that one staff lady was holding a younger unconscious staff girl in her arms. “She’s collapsed! She’s collapsed! Takahashi-san!” the older lady called to a fellow cashier. I edged closer, wanting to help but not sure how, when I started feeling a little strange. A little woozy. I looked around and noticed other people looking up and pausing in their normal motions. Then I saw carts and shelves start to move.

It was an earth quake! Usually, it rattle-rattle-rattles a bit and then stops, but this one went side to side with increasing power, as if someone put their hands on the edge of a table and gave it a SHOVE. Keenly aware I had an 8-story department store above me, I threw down my groceries and headed for the door. Others had the same idea and we all headed for the door. The building moved MORE and now we were basically running one level below panic. A few old ladies tried to bring their carts- what were they thinking?- and blocked the door for a few seconds.

Once outside, I could feel the pavement move beneath my feet- for the first time in my life. I was scared. I was really scared! We moved away from the building and stood around, watching the antennae on the tops of buildings wave wildly. I saw the OPA building next to Ito Yokado swaying back and forth! It was a thick building, not like an antennae!! I couldn’t believe it!! I tweeted “holy sh*t, an earthquake.” People were pouring out of the buildings all around me. After a few minutes, it got quiet, and I decided to go to see if my co-workers were standing in front of Berlitz. They were, along with a few students. I joined them and we chatted for about 15 minutes. People were talking about going back in, but then the aftershocks started hitting, which were pretty big themselves.

They kept coming and coming. It was really scary. My co-workers and I read the news on our iphones and saw that the epicenter was in Sendai, Miyagi, north east off the coast of Japan.
“I worry tsunami,” a teenage student said to me, shivering. After fixing his English, I said that I agreed with him….but I actually didn’t quite fathom exactly how devastating a tsunami could be.

Phone lines were down, but finally when our secretaries/counselors managed to contact HQ, they informed us that all lessons were cancelled for that day. A few teachers went home, and a few went back into the school. We hung out, and I decided that I’d spend the night there, since the trains all stopped. I didn’t wanna pay two hundred bucks for a cab. It takes me 40 minutes by train to get home, so I wasn’t walking.

The staff went home at 7 ish, and I used the computer until about midnight. Another co-worker joined me in being stranded. On his computer, we watched videos of the fires in Odaiba, and the tsunamis, which washed away the coastal towns.

I was shaken to the core. The videos of the traffic, the cars driving away from the wall of water…it was a wall. No where to escape. The water just took with it houses and cars and trees and everything in one huge sweep. Like a vengeful hand of god. But they were good people. Why did they have to be destroyed? They weren’t the evil army. It’s all wrong. Someone is reading the script backwards. It’s a horrible mistake.

My co-worker and graciously let me have the sofa while he slept on cushions on the floor. I consider us very lucky to have food, electricity, water, HEAT, and the Internet. I felt little tremors all night, well, other than the 4 hours I managed to sleep.

We got email from management saying the weekend lessons are all cancelled. I managed to catch the trains home in the morning. My place was safe and sound. I ate so much desert that I decided to take a bike ride to Kawasaki and back. I’m gonna hit the gym…there’s no more shaking here. Koolpaw, a friend farther north, says it’s still shaking a bit near him. I’ll be careful, of course.

It was an 8.9, one of the 5? 7? biggest ever recorded in history, and the largest ever in Japan.

Everyone, be kind to your fellow humans. Love your family. You never know when you’ll be screaming into the telephone when the recorded voice is telling you that your call can’t be connected at this time….

I’ve gotten maybe a hundred comments on my facebook page and twitter messages of people wishing me well. Thank you. I’m not the one who needs your prayers right now. If not prayers, send loving energy to northern Japan.…