So as I type this post all of Japan is on edge for what might be another megaquake, sources tell us. When the first one struck, at approximately 2:44 Tokyo Time last Friday, I was sitting in a Starbucks having a sakura latte. My Macbook was uploading data and for some reason it was unusually slow.
I started noticing trimmers under my feet, but nothing too noticeable. Most Japanese, generally speaking, ignore small quakes. I looked up and scanned around the cafe for any visible signs of distress from other patrons. Nothing. Everybody was just chatting it up and giggling over whatever. I looked back down at my keyboard and started typing away again. I stopped for a moment, took a nice full sip of that delightful sakura latte, and kept typing away. Another trimmer, but this time it wouldn't stop. Then there was a big thud and I heard glass shatter across the cafe!
That trimmer went from tiny little massage trimmer to the largest megaquake in recorded history in a blink of an eye! People jumped out of their seats and ran for the door. It was utter chaos. The staff were moving frantically to hold on to glasses and equipment. The sliding door had jammed on one patron. It had to manually be pried open by one of the staff as they were both trying to escape. The track lighting above my head was shaking out control, like I was in some kind of horror movie. I stood up and moved away and placed both my hands against the wall, just over my table. When the quake died down I gathered my belongings and headed for home. From my KYMCO I could see thousands of, perhaps as far as the human could see, salaried workers walking home. I felt like I was a part of some kind of Armageddon flick. Some of them had to walk upwards to 4 hours just to get home as all lines were halted. I sped across intersection after intersection, by car after car. I should've filmed it. I started receiving texts from friends while navigating through traffic with one hand on the throttle.
We have been feeling over 150 aftershocks since last friday and they come in intervals of 20 or 30 minutes apart, lasting anywhere from a minute to 5 minutes. Something shifted big under the earth, I said to myself. We never get quakes like this in L.A., just jolts from time to time. I think North-ridge was the last big one for L.A. Japan rests on three tectonic plates and only one plate was responsible for the last Fridays big one. Two other plates are expected to shift.
I received dozens of texts and well wishes from people back home and in Japan. The Japanese people are so well mannered and behaved. Not one single incident occurred in spite of there being food shortages. Lines for gas stretch one kilometer at every single gas station. We are having schedule rolling blackouts, express trains have stopped running. All of this is an effort to save electricity. Most of the country is not in rebuild mode, more like wait mode; waiting for the next couple of quakes which may take place in the next few days.
Most of us are stocking our shelves and refrigerators with what's left in stores. So far I haven't found one single bottle of water since Sunday, just juice and milk based products. We all still have running water, gas, and electricity. I snapped up two packs of face masks for the weather. We are expecting shower tomorrow. I plan to stay in doors all day for fear of radioactive fallout that may be drifting along. Even though harmless, it's better to be safe than sorry.