Mar 12, 2011

I'm safe and sound!

Dear family and friends, who have been worried for me, first, I must thank all of your love and concern. *HUGS* It's really in hard times like this when I truly feel all the love. And yes, I will continue to update on facebook and twitter whenever I have internet access.

Don't worry! Where I live in, Hamamatsu, we are not affected by the quake, not as in the way the TV depicted. Now news 24/7 are on the huge earthquake, and all the scary images, videos, interviews with worried survivors, are not helping. And the tweets are equally depressing, too, I know.

When the earthquake happened yesterday, I was at school. It was 2-3pm+, and the desk shook, it trembled. We felt tremors. Then I felt giddy and nauseous. Teachers started to gather at the pantry, and we switched on the TV and watched the news. Earthquake, and tsunami with height 6m predicted. A few minutes later, it became 7m. I managed to get a free shared computer terminal and started to report my safety on facebook and twitter. A few minutes later, I heard commotion from the pantry. Images of the devastation of earthquake are shown. Tsunami predicted was then 10m. It was the biggest earthquake ever, I heard my colleagues mumbled. Yup. It's true. It is the worst Japan has experienced. It measured the magnitude of 8.8. The epicentre was so far from us (near Sendai), so many miles away (Hamamatsu is more towards the southern Japan, and the epicentre was in the northern Japan), and yet we felt tremors, it was that strong. Next I knew, I heard sirens, tsunami alerts, in my area. Hamamatsu coasts are under very high tsunami alerts. I also hear helicopters hovering around as well.

A nice colleague was worried for me, so she sent me using her car nearer to my place, so I could walk home from there. Lucky for me, as I was supposed to have a sleepover at my friend's place that night, I did not spend my first earthquake night alone. Phew.

On the first day, the network was jammed, I had problems making calls, texting and emailing, hence the delays in reporting my safety to my loved ones.

But rest assured, I am ok. :) We have high tsunami alerts on the first day, it dropped one grade today. As I am not near the coasts, I should be quite safe. The only thing I worry about is the shake. Some of you may have known that my 30-year-old apartment shook once during a heavy storm. That will be pretty scary for a gal experiencing her first earthquake.

I am however, now more concerned with the nuclear plant explosion and the possible radiation pollution. Seriously, I can't imagine what the stray radiation may lead to. Definitely nothing good. And of course, I hope there will be no panic on food shortage as well.

From facebook updates from other JETs, there have been shortages of bottled water and instant ramen in supermarkets as well. Via facebook grapevine, it seemed these resources are being channeled to the much-needed disaster-hit areas. Electricity from other parts of Japan will be channeled to Tokyo too, it seems.

Gosh. I do not have an emergency food pack for earthquakes. :X I hope I can stock up something tomorrow.

And... I heard, no SJETs in my batch were injured as well, including Melissa, who is in Sedai, one of the worst hit areas. Her email was also reported in the channelnewsasia article. Some of us are hiding in shelters. I hope things will be better soon.

If you are concerned with the latest earthquake developments, besides following the news on TV or news sites, you can follow updates via the 2 twitter channels (which I am following as well): #JPquake (tweets in mainly English) and #jishin (tweets in mainly Japanese).

And for foreigners living in Japan, who are clueless about earthquakes like me (this is my first earthquake), you can visit this website, which translated some important steps to take in case of earthquakes. They are offered in 17 languages.

Ganbatte, Japan.