Friday, 7 September 2018

Hi. Here we are.
All ok.
Okaasan.
Us.
Cats.
Friends and students. Neighbors.

The city....so-so.
The whole area of Hokkaido? not so good...7 dead and 30????? missing in landslides about 80 km south of here near Tomakomai and the epicenter of the Magnitude 6 earthquake that struck at 3 am on Thursday.

Huge. Biggest I've ever felt.
And this was 24 hours after the strongest typhoon I've ever felt....so two sleepless, shocking nights.

Our home and neighborhood has no damage. Stuff fell down - mainly from the Dead Family memory drawers..the pictures of his brother/father; my parents...the old cat.....the plants...


But many areas of Sapporo city are still without power and water. Roads have been ripped up. Subway and train services..and buses are stopped for a 2nd day. The airport will open...
And beyond, in the rural area south of Sapporo a lot more damage and a whole village gone under large scale landslides.


We jumped from bed at 3 am with the shaking and rumbling. One cat ran outside. The other returned very nervy about 2 hours later.
We watched TV...and then 20 minutes later the electricity went out. Only the emergency lights in the subway tunnel next to the house were on. Fantastic stars...

Many aftershocks...

We had smartphone connection at first...and then that weakened as the phone company system got overloaded. Our work was cancelled - my NHK Culture School work was cancelled by a phonecall from NHK in Tokyo...because local staff couldn't do it.

Strange day.....we helped our 93 year old neighbor....who spent ages wondering why her TV wasn't working...and why she couldn't call her family. Luckily we could call her son on the smartphone...
Helped a friend charge her ipad from my car battery...
Cut off from information really - as the rest of Japan..and then friends abroad...started seeing TV pictures. We didn't know...

Traffic lights out. Long lines at shops which were open, but dark....standpipes for water...helicopters...ambulance and police sirens. The subway line next to the house silent (today too).

Mid-afternoon I drove to a friend's home to get give her ipad charging from the car...and we drove carefully to Okaasan's care home. I climbed the stairs to the 10th floor...lights out, but they had a pump for water for toilets and drinking.
Okaasan and her friends and staff all gathered round the living room in the gloom..no TV...but happy enough.
"The weather is bad today...so there are no lights" Okaasan told me....

I stayed about 10 mins to chat brightly to them all...and then left. The care home staff were doing all they could...

Back home Dear Son and I had an impromptu BBQ because the meat in the freezer was defrosting and our cooking system is electric. So, amid disaster we are sitting in the garden in sunshine, eating sirloin steak and warm beer....

This is what happens at times of disaster....humans do seemingly strange things...because...well...we are human and life goes on...we get on with it.
100 meters away residents of the apartment were taking cooking pans to the nearby water stand in the park to get water...we offered them our water...but the park was closer...

About 5.30 pm our power came back on and we could join the disaster-watching-on-TV with everyone else. And realise how lucky we were.

helped the elderly neighbor again...get her rice cooker going..and the TV....and contact her family by phone. (Although we were impressed - 3 lots of day service/home visiting staff came to check on her during the day!!).

The aftershocks go on and on...jolts...vibrations..rattlings...

The biggest earthquake i've experienced. Even more than the quake/tsunami/nuclear crisis a few years ago - because the epicenter of this was much closer to us.

But we are lucky.
Today, maybe I have work. A Couch Surf guest may come...if his flight can land...I have Wifi...water...some gas in the car...and all-important electricity.

Onwards!

3 comments:

  1. I have never met you, but when I heard the news I immediately thought of you and your family, including your beautiful cats. I am so relieved you are all OK. Sending positive vibes.

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  2. Thanks for the update. Was a bit worried how you all had fared. Hang in there!

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  3. Glad to know you and family are ok. Japan has certainly had its share and more of disasters this year.
    Son and family in Kagoshima have been lucky!
    Take care and stay safe.
    Laura

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