Archive for the ‘2011 Japan Quake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Crisis’ Category

Images from Tokyo, Immediately Post-quake

March 11th, 2011 3 comments

We’re still getting aftershocks every 5-10 minutes. The last one just hit now, and several are recorded as being as strong as 6 on the Richter scale. Another big one could hit, so we have to be careful. The original quake was brought back up to an 8.8.

The images on television are rather shocking; not the quake, but the tsunamis that are rolling in. Buildings along the coast submerged up to the second floor. Fires in places, including Daiba in Tokyo. Right now the death toll is at 19.

As I mentioned before, we were on the 6th floor of LCJ when it hit, and it progressed in stages. Everyone ducked for cover, getting under desks and in doorways, as papers and books and drinks spilled onto the floor. In the library, the bookshelf braces held, more or less, though books littered the floor. Thankfully, the elevator was open on the 1st floor at the time, so no one at the school was trapped nor had to experience the quake while locked in the car.

People moved out to the street, though not as quickly as they should have, perhaps. After milling around on the street for a while, we all went to the local school grounds, where we could wait for things to settle away from overhanging power lines.

Here are some images from the school; click on each for larger versions. The first is what my office looked like afterwards:


Here are a few images of the library:



On the way to the evacuation area, a local school’s sports field, we could see some structural damage from a building or two:


But a little farther north, one street was blocked because a retaining wall for earth in a local temple’s graveyard gave way:


The death toll went up to 20 while I was writing this, but seeing the films of tsunami, I would be amazed if the toll does not go into the hundreds. It’s still just four hours since the quake hit.

A Big One… Not Centered in Tokyo, But It Seemed Like It

March 11th, 2011 1 comment

I just got home. Luckily, I had driven my scooter in to work this morning, a rarity for me–and it allowed me to get home and see if Sachi was OK, and to let her know I was.

I was in the office on the 6th floor. It started small, like “Oh, do you feel that tremor?” Then it got stronger, in stages, each new level greater than the last, until we finally got to the stage where you knew this was a big one. Books flying off of desks, everyone diving for cover. It lasted long, too. Right away, you could tell it wasn’t local–the slow start, the sideways-rolling motion. But for that minute or two when we were experiencing it, there was the question of whether or not the building would collapse in some way.

Of course, it didn’t. Here in Tokyo, it felt huge, but not so terrible we couldn’t stand and walk unsteadily. Not as bad as being on the ground in Loma Prieta, I’m told. But big. Pictures to come, but our office floor was covered with papers and books.

Everyone was OK. No one around us was hurt. All the students were OK, but everyone was outside, and it was cold and windy today. I imagine they are still trying to get back home–but everyone was OK.

They are now reporting that it was an 8.4 on the Richter scale, hitting at 2:46, followed by offshore aftershocks of 7.0, 7.4, and 6.6. We certainly felt those as well.

For a quake that big in Tokyo, it was about 230 miles distant from Tokyo, about 70 miles off the northern Japan coast.

We just felt a big aftershock right now, the second big one we’ve felt since I got home.

More soon.