Alright Miss Amanda, Tokyo’s not measuring up to your ridiculous expectations? You want lots of new exciting experiences? You want stuff to write home about besides how many people couldn’t pronounce “relax” that day? You want the ultimate Japan experience? OK, I’ve got just the thing for you, something big. — The Universe
Today as I was merrily getting ready for work, I noticed the mirror on my desk began to shake. “No worries,” I thought. “These little tremors happen all the time, I’m sooo used to it by now.”
But the mirror continued to shake, causing me to smudge my eyeliner. And then the desk began to shake. And then the floor. Soon my whole room was shaking!
“Amanda! Do you feel that?!” my roommate called. How could I not?
“Open your door!” I yelled back.
I’d remembered that one of our Japanese roommates had said that any time there’s an earthquake we need to open all of the doors because the door frame can shift, and we can get trapped inside. I then ran out of my room to open the front door, and by then the place was really shaking hard.
“This is it,” I thought. All of the other times when I’d felt those little tremors my heart would freeze for just a hair of a second as I waited for the trembling to turn into something more, and this time, finally, it did. Outside I could hear the world around me rumbling like muted thunder: a very ominous noise like the ground was getting ready to explode. And I could see the houses swaying. It looked like the beginning of the apocalypse. My other roommates ran downstairs, one of whom had only been in the country for a few days, poor girl. We all dashed outside. I will never forget the feeling of the road swaying violently under my feet like the earth was trying to toss me off its surface.
I then remembered that the door frame is supposed to be the safest place during an Earthquake, so I ran back to the front entrance, and two of my roommates followed. We stood there for what felt like forever. “When will this shaking stop?” I thought. “Will the house collapse?”
It didn’t. After some time, I don’t know how long but if had to guess I would say, “too damn long”, the tremors stopped. Then it was very quiet, until instructions started blaring from loud speakers all around the neighbourhood entirely in Japanese. It was disorienting and surreal, like living in a sci-fi movie. I had work that day, so I walked down to the train station to see what the situation was. Predictably, the trains were cancelled, but there were many people waiting around in case they started up again. As we were all waiting the ground began its tell-tale tremors and what followed was a big aftershock that sent us all stampeding up the stairs for fear of getting trapped underground.
Here in central Tokyo we were very lucky. Not even a mirror was broken in my house. But in other parts of Japan people were not so fortunate.
Right now we’re still experiencing little aftershocks that are freaking me out, because that’s how the big earthquake started — it was a little tremor at first, but quickly turned into something that couldn’t be ignored. Even now as I write this I can see my coat swinging gently on my clothes rack. Getting to sleep tonight will be tough.