Saturday, 12 March 2011


Looking at this picture gave me a shock. This is from Hachinohe in Aomori province, Japan. I lived here back in 99/00 working as an English teacher.

Earthquakes are always a possibility but the Japanese are so used to them that their buildings are designed to cope. The real fear there for coastal dwellers has always been tsunamis. I had never really heard of them before going to Japan but just before leaving I read a pretty terrifying book about them. As soon as I found out I was going to a coastal city I started trying to suss out how close I lived to the sea! Usually I like being near beaches etc. but in Japan it didn't seem like such a good idea.

There were no major earthqukes in my time there, just tremors. The really freaky thing was seeing how panic-stricken the Japanese people were while this one was happening. They are so used to earthquakes and just take them in their stride. They knew this was something different.

I really hope as today wears on we start to hear more encouraging news for the people of Japan - that the casualty list is shorter than feared, the damage less extensive, the grieving fewer in number. The whole world is thinking about them.

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